We’re now just a month away from the UK’s annual premier rock and metal shindig that takes place at Donington Park in Derbyshire, the one and only Download Festival. Having seen off Sonisphere to the point where their rivals at Knebworth have not staged the event for the last two years, Download has firmly re-established itself as the place to be in the UK if you want to go to a large scale festival with a good mix of rock and metal bands. As we have done in previous years, Rocksins will be offering a day-by-day preview of the event, picking out ten bands from each day that we think you should go see and why. So without further waffling, we’re kicking things off with the Friday:
Suggesting you should all go and watch Slipknot is the absolute obvious thing to do to kick off this article but just for the few who are not in the know, a tiny history lesson. Back in 2009, Slipknot gave the performance of their lives and one of the greatest performances in the history of Donington as they headlined Download for the first time on middle Saturday. It was a legendary performance which sealed Slipknot’s place in the elite tier of metal bands which few ever make it to, and there they remain to this day.
Four years on and this is Slipknot’s first return to Donington since that amazing evening (since captured as the Sicnesses DVD – so anyone who’s not seen it or who wasn’t there, check that out ASAP). Slipknot’s last UK festival appearance at Sonisphere 2011 had a very different undercurrent, and produced a very powerful, emotional performance concluding with it’s emotional tribute to Paul Grey, and emotions may run high once again here. They may struggle to live up to their phenomenal performance from last time – but it’s going to be a lot of fun watching them try to outdo themselves.
You don’t seem to be able to go more than two years without KoRn returning to the Download lineup, but then they always pack the crowds in and have a boatload of songs tailor made for festivals so it’s not really any surprise to see them return to Download. Restored to the main stage after sub-headlining Pendulum on the second stage in 2011, 2013 also sees them reunited with guitarist Brian “Head” Welch. It will be fascinating to see Head’s return to the live stage with KoRn and should give them even more impact on songs such as Freak On A Leash and the obligatory Blind. Get ready to bounce for an hour late Friday afternoon.
Rise To Remain
We all know what the awful weather did to Download 2012, none more so than Rise To Remain as the cesspool of mud that had formed in front of the main stage denied Rise To Remain their chance to open the main stage on the Friday of Download 2012.
In light of that, Andy Copping and the Download powers that be have given RTR another crack at kicking off the festival, so let’s hope they make it to the stage this time. Currently working on their second album, this is a great opportunity for Rise To Remain to prove a lot of the doubters wrong and stick two fingers up to anyone who says they don’t deserve the opportunity.
Hang The Bastard
Formed in the formidable metal and UK hardcore scene of Harrow and North West London, Hang The Bastard are the most prominent band to emerge from that pocket of UK metal in the last couple of years. With a sound that mixes and merges hardcore, doom, sludge and occasionally death metal, Hang The Bastard are unique in a good way.
Making their Download debut Friday afternoon in the Pepsi Max tent, they could be one of the up and coming bands to make a huge impact on this years’ Download. If you needed any further motivation to check out Hang The Bastard, Front magazine absolutely love them and lets’ face it, those guys have pretty good taste!
Signed to the wonderful Basick Records, The Algorithm are French tech metallers with leanings into the dance music world. Their most recent release Polymorphic Code was absolutely mesmerising and should translate into a fantastic live experience, particularly in the intimate settings of the Red Bull Studios Tent on Download’s Friday afternoon. Currently on tour with the UK’s own prog/tech maestros TesseracT, The Algorithm are a band a lot more people need introducing to. Download is your chance to discover them if you haven’t already.
Everyone’s favourite rockabilly metal band return to Download in 2013 in arguably their highest billing yet. Armed with new album Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies, the Danes are likely to go down a storm as they have in previous years at both Download and Sonisphere. With fans far and wide (they even got no less than Bloodstock headliner King Diamond on board for a guest vocal on their new album) this is another opportunity for Volbeat to showcase a sound that is distinctly their own. Make this another “must see” performance of the day.
Having had a couple of less than stellar performances at Download in the past, hopefully better things will be in store with Dragonforce this year. With a renewed energy (as well as much better live feedback) since Marc Hudson took over vocal duties and a well received album in the shape of The Power Within under their belts, Dragonforce’s current incarnation seems a nicely settled one and that is reflecting in their performances. There will be the obligatory Through The Fire and The Flames, but they have some other good power metal songs in their arsenal too.
Having released their first new material for five years in the shape of The Purple E.P (Down IV Part I) back in September 2012, Phil Anselmo, Pepper Keenan and co come to Download with the possibility of airing some new songs alongside traditional favourites like Hail The Leaf and Bury Me In Smoke. Anselmo has also recently been working on a solo album, but that will not have any bearing on Down as a live force. With their enigmatic frontman who can control a crowd like few others when he’s in the mood, Down could be (and it could be argued should be) one of the best bands of the day.
The only band who could possibly rival Slipknot for the most brutal performance of the day, Converge will be laying waste to the Pepsi Max stage for the entire duration of their set. Their most recent album All We Love We Leave Behind is regarded as one of the high points of their twenty three year career and a mix of songs from that as well as a variety of other material will surely leave fans both happy and bruised. Download debutants, who knows when they may come again! One for those who love a good moshpit.
A slightly lighter note to round off our ten recommendations for Download’s first day, US pop punk band Patent Pending have been steadily building a name for themselves on both sides of the Atlantic in the last year or so in their scene. With UK tours with Bowling For Soup and a co-headliner with BFS bassist Erik Chandler under their belt in the last few months, 2013 sees Patent Pending make their Download bow. If you enjoy good, high energy pop punk in the vein of Bowling For Soup, New Found Glory and similar artists, make sure you check out Patent Pending.
So that concludes the first part of our Download 2013 preview. Keep your eyes peeled for parts two and three which will be online soon, along with any further updates from the organisers.