Welcome (at last some of you may say) to the final instalment of Rock Sins Download Festival 2014 review coverage. This is our final instalment from our own UKHC / metalcore flag waving Sam, who saw many bands on the Sunday of Download 2014 that Jamie did not cover in the first part of our Sunday review. If you want to catch up with any of our other reviews from across the three days of the festival, here’s some links to do so:
And now, over to Sam for some more reviews….
First band I caught on the Sunday was America rockers Skillet (6.5). Making only their second appearance in the UK it was clear a lot of people were anxious to see them as there was a huge crowd gathered at Zippo Encore stage. While there isn’t much to Skillet’s radio friendly rock they put on an incredibly slick performance and the likes of “Monster” sounded huge live.
Over on the opposite end of the field Australian Deathcore mob Thy Art Is Murder (8) were laying waste to the Pepsi Max stage. With song titles like “The Purest Strain Of Hate” you’d expect Thy Art Is Murder’s set to be a particularly serious affair but they manage to keep things lighthearted throughout thanks to CJ McMahon’s stage banter and him eventually booting a signed football into the crowd for them to wrestle over. As the final notes of “Reign Of Darkness” ring out CJ tells the crowd to remember their name as they are taking over the world and I don’t think many here would disagree.
Normally you’d think it would be difficult to top the chaos of Thy Art Is Murder’s set but then Feed The Rhino (9) are far from a normal band. As favourites here at Rock Sins there’s not much more that can be said about how incredibly Feed The Rhino are live. Lee Frontman is stood on the front rows before a single note has been played and then continues to spend more time off the stage than on it. New songs Give Up and Deny & Offend get a great reaction but Tides still remains the highlight of their set. By the end of their set every member of the band had made their way into the crowd at least once. There is no denying now that Feed The Rhino are one of the best live bands in the UK.
Feed The Rhino’s Lee getting up to familiar shenanigans. Photo by Andrew Whitton.
Back on the Zippo Encore stage Emmure (7) were busy playing breakdowns and lots of them. Despite all the recent controversy surrounding their disappointing 6th album Emmure still pulled a large crowd. Emmure’s music might be basic but it is the perfect soundtrack to mosh to and that is exactly what this crowd wanted. Solar Flare Homicide leads to one of the biggest pits of the day and fortunately for everyone, Emmure decided to leave most of the controversy at home today.
After this I made my way back to the Pepsi Max stage to check out Memphis May Fire (5) and while they did have a large crowd and put on a very slick show the whole thing just felt a bit flat. The entire time Memphis May Fire just looked like they were going through the motions onstage and not a single song stood out. Everything the band do has been done better by another metalcore band. A lot of people predict big things are to come from Memphis May Fire but right now they really need to find a way to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
The same cannot be said for Against Me (9) who were absolutely on fire today. Despite playing to a half empty tent they manage to make the whole thing like a tiny little club show. The atmosphere for their whole set was incredible. And then there’s the songs, the likes of “Teenage Anarchist” and “True Trans Soul Rebel” are massive punk rock anthems and the band perform them with so much passion and energy. It’s just half an hour of great tunes and while it was a shame that more people didn’t turn up to watch it didn’t really matter in the end. Against Me still played one of the best sets of the weekend.
Against Me. Photo by Derek Bremner
Suicide Silence (9) took a completely different approach to Against Me but were just as brilliant. Making their long awaited live return to the UK after Eddie Hermida took over as vocalist I doubt you will see a more triumphant return this year. From the start of opening song “Unanswered” the pit doesn’t stop moving for their entire 45 minute set with new song “Cease To Exist” gets what could have been the biggest circle pit of the whole weekend in The Pepsi Max tent. Vocally Eddie is more than a suitable successor to Mitch Lucker with his vocal performance being near enough flawless. Having gone through some incredibly hard times in the last few years it’s great to see Suicide Silence have come out on the other side stronger than ever.
Suicide Silence’s triumphant UK return at Download 2014. Photo by Derek Bremner.
Finally I had time to catch Polar (8.5) play a fantastic set on the Red Bull stage. Their latest album Shadowed By Vultures has some of the bands best material they’ve released so it’s no surprise that they choose to focus on that. “Black Days” and “Create” get plenty of fans singing while older songs “Tonight Matthew I Am The Batman” and “H.E.L.L.” see the die hard fans in the tent lose their minds. Woody spends plenty of time down on the front barrier with the fans giving the set and incredibly intimate feel and he screams every song with so much raw emotion. Polar left more than a few people tonight wondering why they aren’t bigger but based on performances like this they won’t have to think that for much longer. After this it was time to watch Aerosmith close out the festival in spectacular fashion ending Download 2014 on a massive high.
And so ends Rock Sins’ Download Festival coverage for 2014. A huge thanks to all the awesome bands we saw or caught up with over the weekend, and there will be loads of backstage interviews from Donington with the likes of Trivium, Alter Bridge, SikTh and loads more very soon! For regular festival announcements and news updates please follow Rock Sins on social media such as Twitter at @Rocksins, Instagram at RocksinsOfficial and Facebook – www.facebook.com/rocksins.