Words by Jamie Giberti & Ali Cooper.
The Zippo Encore Stage is often the place at the Download Festival where “the metulz” are found. Download 2017 is no different, with an assortment of bands from Slayer to The Cavalera Brothers serving up everything from thrash to old school heavy f***ing metal. But it’s not just metal that can be found at The Zippo Encore, with some classic pop punk and other things thrown in for good measure. Rock Sins picks out the ten bands across the weekend we think you should definitely make time for, and there’s only one band we could start with…
SLLLLLLAAAYYYYYYYAAARRGGGHHHH! Never has there been a Download Festival where you could go more than an hour wandering the campsite without hearing that familiar refrain. However by returning to Download to headline the Zippo Encore stage in 2017, this is actually Slayer’s first appearance at Download in a decade, having tied their flag to the Sonisphere and Bloodstock masts for UK festivals in recent times. Their return to help close off the festival is a very welcome one, and with word that they will not clash with Aerosmith’s last ever UK performance, fans of both should be able to enjoy classics such as Angel Of Death and South Of Heaven in their full glory before Walking This Way over to the main stage (yeah, we know, bad wasn’t it).
The Devin Townsend Project
Metal’s resident cerebral genius returns to Donington once more. Having headlined the big tent back in 2012, this time around sees Devin and his troops in a lofty spot directly under Rob Zombie on the Saturday of the Zippo Encore Stage, and a set packed with great songs and Devin’s always brilliant between song quips beckon. If Dev and co are on form with tracks like Kingdom and Hyperdrive, Rob Zombie has got a very, very tough act to follow.
From one metal genius to another, Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt could definitely be placed alongside Devin Townsend at the altar of prog metal worship. Though their sound has lightened in recent years their skills are as prevailent as they’ve ever been, as is Akerfeldt’s razor sharp dry wit. With most recent album Sorceress well established in the Opeth back catalogue now, this is a set that could turn up almost anything from their 25 year history. It’ll be a wonderful lottery watching for the many Opeth fans at Download 2017.
Coheed and Cambria
2015’s storming ‘The Color Before the Sun’ may seem a lifetime ago and their last appearance at Download was way back in 2010, but Coheed and Cambria’s second stage appearance at Donington will no doubt make up for lost time. Taking to Saturday’s lineup two slots before the headliner, Download’s inclusion of New York’s finest suggests that prog rock is as vital as ever on the festival circuit. ‘Welcome Home’ to the ‘Favor House Atlantic’, Coheed.
Making their sixth Donington appearance since 2006, Cali creeps DevilDriver return to Donington’s second stage on Sunday and not before time. Now iconic frontman Dez Fafara has returned his focus to the band after a brief hiatus, DevilDriver reemerge with a new energy befitting of sending Download 2017 out with a bang. Armed with last year’s album ‘Trust No-One’, this set will be crammed with fresh new material to frame the classics ‘I Could Care Less’ and, of course, the relatable anthem for every seasoned Download warrior – ‘Clouds Over California’. If the Internet is to be believed, there may even be a Coal Chamber song or two along the way as well!
Dig through the ditches and burn through the witches, shock rocker and part time horror director Rob Zombie is back to headline Saturday’s second stage armed with his usual energetic stage production. Clutching 2015’s psychedelic tongue-twister ‘The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser’, there’s bound to be a lot more vibrant colour injected into Saturday’s proceedings. After 2014’s main support slot suffered slight technical hitches, the ‘Superbeast’ is sure to be back on form in 2017.
Having had some very well documented issues, Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley has done a very impressive job of getting his shit together, and getting the band back together. Sum 41’s UK tour earlier this year was very well received, and whilst the new album 13 Voices didn’t see the band quite firing on all cylinders, there was enough to suggest they may find their way back to their best. In what is bound to be a hit filled set full of pop punk gold from their mid 00’s heyday mixed with some of their impressive later, heavier material, Sum 41 are set to be serious competition for System Of A Down if their set times clash.
Providing the opening part of Friday’s Zippo Encore Stage closing double act, The Madden Brothers have finally brought Good Charlotte to Donington to finally make their Download Festival debut after 15 years. Expect a range of songs from across the years, but expect the songs from their breakthrough album The Young And The Hopeless to reverberate around the fields of Donington loudest. All together now: “Girls Don’t Like Boys, Girls Like Cars And Money……..”.
Appearing for the first time since the very first Download Festival back in 2003, Al Jourgensen has brought Ministry back to Donington for a long overdue and very welcome return. With unexpected new material in the works, and an array of industrial metal classics to thrill the Donington masses, Ministry are likely to be one of the highlights of Sunday afternoon – and they’re keeping some very impressive company. Just One Fix? Download will almost certainly be asking for more.
Having overcome their very well publicised bus crash on UK shores a number of years ago, line up changes and various other challenges, Baroness are another band who will make their Download debut in 2017. Regularly hailed as one of the bands of this (or any other) generation of metal, John Baizley and co are adept at producing metal of a kind that few can hope to match. Set to be one of the most mesmerising performances of the entire weekend, Baroness will be one for the metal purists at Download 2017.
All of these bands can be seen at Download 2017 where the campsite gates open in just seven days time! If you haven’t yet taken the plunge, grab your tickets from the official festival website. You can also catch up with our other stage previews for The Dogtooth Stage and The Avalanche Stage, and we will be finishing off with our main stage preview at the start of next week so stay tuned for all things Download here at Rock Sins!