Middle Saturday. The day where attendees to Download are generally still going strong (in some cases just about) as we all head into the second day of rock and metal goodness. This year’s Middle Saturday in particular has a veritable smorgasbord of bands of all genres to be enjoyed. But before diving in, please check out our preview of the first day of Download 2014 (The Friday for anyone who’s half asleep) if you missed it earlier in the week. With reminders out of the way, here’s our ten of the best for day two of the 2014 Download Festival:
Hybrid Theory is an album that helped defined the nu metal generation. So when it was announced Linkin Park would be performing their worldwide acclaimed hit album in full at Download 2014, an awful lot of people were very pleased. A few weren’t, but they are vastly outnumbered by those greatly looking forward to it. Becoming the second band to perform one of their landmark albums in the Download main stage headline slot after Metallica it will be very interesting to see how Linkin Park structure their set. Expect a few offering from their new album The Hunting Party as well, which is released the Monday after this year’s festival finishes. The Hunting Party sees them return to a heavier sound (with mixed results based on the songs released so far) but we’re sure there will be a good selection of favourites old and new to go alongside one of the crowning glories of nu metal. And if that’s not your thing, how about our next recommended band…..
What a difference a couple of years make. Now seemingly fully recovered from his harrowing ordeal with leukemia, Nergal and the rest of Polish extreme metal titans Behemoth will make their Download Festival début next week when they headline The Pepsi Max Tent on the Saturday night of Download 2014. Having headlined Bloodstock in 2012 this is their first UK festival appearance since topping the bill at Catton Park nearly two years ago. Having released what many consider the finest album of their career back in February with The Satanist (which got a perfect ten out of ten here at Rock Sins, the only album to do so this year so far), a performance from Behemoth in front of what will be a rammed Pepsi Max Tent has the potential to be the performance of the weekend. If you like both Behemoth and Linkin Park (and Sikth) you have one hell of a tough choice on your hands.
Few bands have momentum behind them like Killswitch Engage at the moment. A triumphant album return last year with Disarm The Descent and a sold out co-headlining tour with Trivium in the UK where they took their performances to consistently brilliant highs are just two of the many good things to happen in the recent life of Killswitch. With original frontman Jesse Leach very much back in the fold (you can check out our interview with Jesse from the band’s tour with Trivium in February right here) Killswitch Engage are living up to the potential so many saw in them when Alive Or Just Breathing was released over ten years ago. Let’s not forget as well that their performance on Donington soil in 2012 was one of their first great moments after reuniting with Jesse. Download did great things getting Killswitch on a European exclusive, on current form they are unmissable.
Bring Me The Horizon
Few bands could follow Killswitch Engage right now, and depending on your disposition, Bring Me The Horizon are either the perfect choice, or the chance to grab some food and maybe check out a different stage. Once a deeply divisive band, last year’s critically acclaimed album Sempiternal went some way towards winning over a portion of the Sheffield quintet’s detractors. Armed with their monster hits from that album Shadow Moses and Anti-Vist, as well as their now considerable back catalogue, Oli Sykes and the rest of Bring Me The Horizon will revel in their lofty position on the bill. Whether you like them or not, you cannot deny the impact Bring Me The Horizon have, and it would seem they’re here to stay. On the Download Festival main stage for the first time, expect carnage.
Bowling For Soup
The UK’s favourite Texan pop punkers Bowling For Soup are back! Having waved goodbye to full scale touring with a huge blow off tour across the UK last October, BFS promised they’d always return for festivals and here they are back to make their fourth appearance at Download. With a greatest hits (part one) album currently in the works via another successful Pledge Campaign and the band due to celebrate their 20th anniversary with hometown shows this weekend before heading to England for Download, the Donington masses may well find Bowling For Soup in the mood to carry on their 20th anniversary celebrations. We can’t think of anywhere better for them to do so. Seemingly incapable of putting on a bad live show, they are one of Rock Sins unmissable bands of the weekend. You can also catch Jaret and Erik in a second performance over on the acoustic stage later in the day.
Light years ahead of their time when they were at their peak in the early – mid 00’s, Sikth are one of the two bands (along with Meshuggah) response for inspiring the whole “djent” sub-genre / movement within metal. They have been sorely missed by many since their break up in 2008 so there was understandable delight in the news that Sikth would be reforming and headlining the Red Bull Stage at Download on the Saturday night. The scheduling could have been kinder, making them clash with both Behemoth and Linkin Park, presenting a dilemma for many, but we have no doubt the Red Bull tent will be packed out for the UK tech metal pioneers. Fit them into your schedule if you can.
With a frontman as charismatic as Chris Jericho and a guitarist as skilled and as entertaining as Rich Ward, Fozzy are always ones to watch. Gracing the main stage at the Download Festival for the first time and making their third appearance in all, they are not a band who will be overawed by their surroundings. Huge amounts of fun and audience participation is likely as Donington Park should hear the likes of Enemy, Sandpaper and God Pounds His Nails, as well as some new material from the band’s sixth album Do You Wanna Start A War which is due out later on this Summer. A very good reason to get up and get into the arena early on Saturday.
Doom / stoner metal bands aren’t generally in plentiful supply at Download so it’s a very welcome sight to see British veterans Orange Goblin on the bill this year in a high profile spot on the Zippo Encore stage. Having headlined a stage / venue as part of the Camden Rocks Festival in London at the end of May with friends of Rock Sins Hang The Bastard as main support, Orange Goblin are not like any other band on the line-up at Download 2014. If you like your metal with serious groove and a doomy undertone, then Orange Goblin should be on your band viewing schedule. If you’re not familiar with them then please enjoy this video of their performance at Hellfest in France a couple of years ago, it wouldn’t surprise us if this persuades a few more of you to check them out:
Bury Tomorrow are the current darlings of the UK metalcore scene. They have just scored their second Top 40 album in a row after Runes charted at Number 34 last week and are coming to Download off the back of a near sold-out UK tour and prominent slots on the three main Slam Dunk Festivals, as well as headlining the Impericon Fest in Manchester at the end of April. As a result Bury Tomorrow are heading to Download with momentum and on form. Last time out they put on what Rock Sins’ considered the second best performance of the weekend after Rammstein with a performance that kicked off a fantastic twelve months for them. This time around it’s the main stage and who would bet against a performance that pushes them on to yet greater heights? Not us.
The band that Rock Sins backed in the 2014 Red Bull Studios contest to play at Download, Hertfordshire natives Chasing Cadence’s potential is underlined by the fact they were never out of the top 3 all the way through the finals voting process. Having recently performed at the Camden Rocks festival, as well as having supported the likes of Don Broco and Taking Back Sunday Chasing Cadence have picked up the necessary experience to not be over-awed by what will be the biggest show of their careers so far. Get along to the Red Bull Tent on Saturday and show your support for one of the UK’s most promising young rock bands. We also caught up with their frontman Jack Harris during the Red Bull studios contest and you can check that out here.
Honourable mentions: The Donington debut of US pop punk superstars Fall Out Boy is definitely something to watch with interest, while over in the Pepsi Max Tent around the same time industrial / nu metal six piece American Head Charge are back on Download turf for the first time since 2006. One band who might upstage Bury Tomorrow are their compatriots While She Sleeps who are on straight after them (quite a day for metalcore on the main stage), and those who prefer things a bit more extreme can go see death metal veterans The Black Dahlia Murder. For those who want something lighter and totally different there’s the guarantee of a huge singalong with Status Quo as they headline the Zippo Encore stage, and last but not least two homegrown up and coming acts in the shape of power metallers Collibus and post-hardcore mob Zoax, both of whom can be found early on in the day on the Pepsi Max Tent stage.
Two down and one to go – stay tuned for the final part of our 2014 Download Festival preview which will be live on Monday morning. Six days to go and counting – if you haven’t yet got your tickets (for a day or for the weekend) head over to www.downloadfestival.co.uk – there’s still time to snap them up.