We can’t quite believe it but somehow we’re only seven days away from the gates opening at Donington once again. The 2015 Download Festival is upon us and so it’s time to start looking at the bands that we think will give you what for many people is their best weekend of the year. So without anything more, let’s launch into the ten bands that we think are the pick of the first day aka Friday at Download 2015.
Even though it will be The ‘Knot’s third time headlining Download, this is a total no brainer for most, especially for anyone who was lucky enough to witness the Prepare For Hell tour in January. Slipknot are once again fully unified and there is a new life and new ferocity to their live shows that wasn’t there a couple of years ago. The songs from The Gray Chapter have slotted seamlessly into the Slipknot live experience and some (particularly Custer) have to be seen in the flesh to be fully appreciated. Expect total carnage and expect to come out with bruises and a shit eating grin at the end of it.
Where better to look after Slipknot than the metal gods themselves? Revitalised by the six string skills of Richie Faulkner, The Priest are alive and kicking and armed with their new album Redeemer Of Souls and returning to Donington one more time for our enjoyment. Will it be the last time? Who knows. But after the way Aerosmith owned Download 2014, few would bet against another of rock and metal’s most heralded bands and elder statesmen matching their feat in 2015. The likes of Breaking The Law and Hell Patrol will echo across the fields of Donington and it will be a fantastic sight and sound.
Five Finger Death Punch
The Death Punch march towards the metal summit continues its relentless pace as FFDP occupy their most high profile Donington spot yet. Anyone who saw them at Download 2013 or on their UK headline tour last year would be hard pressed to suggest they don’t deserve it either. Their double header of The Wrong Side Of Heaven bolstered their arsenal of tunes considerably and they’re now hard at work on another album. Ivan Moody is one of the most watchable frontmen in metal. Quite simply, they’re the total package. Future headliner status may await them if they can deliver the goods again.
At The Gates
A last minute addition to the line up but a bloody welcome one – The co-founders of the Gothenburg Sound are coming to lay waste to Donington Park. Armed with brilliant new album At War With Reality, and with a live show that is being heralded as being as good as their 1990’s heyday, At The Gates will offer very stiff competition to the likes of Judas Priest and Slipknot for band of the day.
Firm favourites of ours at Rock Sins ever since the inception of this site in 2009, Sylosis have grown as the years have gone on. Their new album Mercy is a continued evolution of their modern thrash sound that has been hailed by critics and fans alike and the Maverick Tent (formerly The Pepsi Max) late on Friday could be the perfect setting for them to raise themselves up another level.
The wild card of our Friday picks for sure (even though they do tend to appear in our recommended lists whenever they appear at UK festivals), Modestep’s blend of dubstep and electro rock is tailor made for festivals. The Download crowd have proven their willingness to be open minded with the likes of Chase and Status and even Lethal Bizzle in the past and Modestep have their roots in rock far more than those two. New single Machines is almost guaranteed to ignite any crowd while the likes of Sunlight and Another Day will provide some of the best party moments of the weekend.
US groove rockers Clutch have arguably never been more popular in the UK than they are right now. Having put in a headline appearance at THE new success story of the UK festival scene of the last couple of years – Temples Festival – last year, and with a brilliant show, their success has been rewarded with a big main stage slot at Download in 2015. Expect to hear songs from the brilliant Earth Rocker as well as classics like The Mob Goes Wild. If this goes well Clutch could go on to even bigger and better things.
There is a lot of negativity surrounding the term ‘female fronted’ in the media at the moment…. but when you have a front woman as strong and talented, yet beautiful and delicate as Elin Larsson its impossible not to acknowledge the term. Embodying the soul of Hendrix, the multi-faceted appeal of Sabbath and the lungs of Joplin; the Swedish-American-French quartet capture a timeless sound that we feared was gone for good. Rising from the ashes of prog and psychedelic rock, as soon as you see Blues Pills live they will have you irreversibly hooked.
Black Stone Cherry
Those not fancying Slipknot on the main stage will be kept in good company with Kentucky’s finest Black Stone Cherry. With the Southern US rockers now elevated to arena filling status in the UK and their last album Magic Mountain being an overwhelming success, BSC are another band who can expect bumper crowds on the Zippo Encore stage. The likes of White Trash Millionaire and Mary Jane will be enormous singalong anthems from a band who can do little wrong on these shores.
Despite some taking the band less than seriously due to several short lived retirements, in the live arena Thunder remain one of the finest British rock bands of the last thirty years and where better to prove that than at Download and Donington Park. Their new album Wonder Days has been hailed as one of the best of their career and the band’s biggest chart success since 1995. Get there early to hear the likes of Love Walked In and The Devil Made Me Do It, come too late and you’ll be needing to sharpen your elbows to get close.
There are of course many other fine bands appearing on the Friday of Download 2015 but those are our top 10 picks. For those of you needing your last minute tickets to Download head over to www.downloadfestival.co.uk and snap them up – along with any other info you may require. Stay tuned for parts two and three of our Download Festival preview. You might also be interested in checking out our huge interview with Download’s head booker and all round top person Andy Copping which can be read here.