Team Rock Sins was out in force at Download 2017, so in order to make our festival coverage from this year’s Download the most enjoyable and readable it can be, we’ve decided to break things up a bit. Here’s our view of what happened on The Avalanche Stage and The Dogtooth Stage on the first day of Download 2017! For our coverage of the other stages, you can find The Zippo Encore Stage on Friday at Download 2017 right here, and our main stage review is still to come!
Rock Sins is always very keen on checking out new talent, as well as the established bands, so one band we had highlighted were UK newcomers Holding Absence (7), who had amassed a very impressive crowd in The Dogtooth Tent for a band with such an early slot. For a band who at that point had only officially released two songs, those in attendance knew an awful lot of the words as they threw frontman Lucas’ words back at him with a huge dose of enthusiasm. If this performance is anything to go by, we might well see them on a bigger stage back here in twelve months time. An excellent start to the day. JG
First up for another of our team for Download Festival 2017 was a trip to the Avalanche Stage where we have the masters of metalcore, The Devil Wears Prada (7). They blasted through a short setlist that impressively manages to span a fair bit of their back catalogue, not wasting what little time they had on stage. From the earlier “Assistant To The Regional Manager” and “Outnumbered” to the more recent “Worldwide”, the band deliver a very tight performance with frontman Mike Hranica screeching exactly as he does on record, The Devil Wears Prada were a fantastic band to kickstart the weekend with. CM
Code Orange (9.5) are riding the crest of a wave right now. On the strength of their latest album ‘Forever’ and some pretty hefty support slots with Gojira, and System of a Down, they have the world within their reach right now. When they roll into Download this weekend, they are one of the most anticipated bands on the bill. They set the stage by having WWE NXT Superstar Aleister Black come and announce them onstage. Then the nightmare begins… as I have said previously ‘Forever’ feels like a nightmarish Jacob’s Ladder type fever dream, and this is the nightmare come to life. It is Stark, brutal and unnerving. Code Orange are a band that take no prisoners whatsoever and today they are here with a point to prove and a mountain-sized chip on their collective shoulders. Seeing Code Orange live isn’t a gig, it is an experience. From the moment they step onstage to the time they leave there is not a single moment that is wasted. They provide a disorientating set full of raw youthful aggression that only gives you a moment to catch your breath during the more user-friendly ‘Bleeding in the Blur’ but even that is short lived. This is a powerful performance that goes a long way to getting their point across. Code Orange are the future and the future is bleak. SC
Venom Prison (10) are the most exciting band in the UK right now. Arriving at Download off the back of support slots with Suicide Silence & Darkest Hour, lets get one thing straight, Venom Prison are here to destroy everything in their path. There is a large crowd amassed in front of them that has absolutely no idea what they are in for, like lambs to the slaughter. Over the course of half an hour, they obliterate the place in a haze of smoke and strobes, they provide an uncomfortable environment and a set so heavy it feels like repeatedly being smashed over the head with a sledgehammer. The intimate nature of the tent and the crowd here only adds to an already uncomfortable situation. Larissa Stupar is a captivating frontwoman who demands your attention and holds it throughout, while the band provides the soundtrack to the apocalypse behind her. This is brutal uncompromising death metal played by a band who is on the edge of something special. SC
Back on the Avalanche Stage, bearded pop-punk quartet Four Year (beards?) Strong (9) take to the stage to deliver a set full of bouncy, pop-punk anthems. This is a band that really doesn’t get enough credit, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands and this is before even having the chance to whip out “It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now”, you know, the one with THAT riff that sees a pit open immediately, or the sing-a-long inducing “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)” which seemed somewhat fitting for the very un-Download weather we were having. CM
Last up for Rock Sins on Friday at The Avalanche Stage were State Champs (7) who made their Download debut this year and didn’t mess about in doing so. The energy is kept at a high level throughout the set as the band opens with “Remedy” from their debut album, delivering banger after banger. The crowd is already one of the loudest of the day and they only get louder as they play newer songs such as “All You Are Is History” and “Secrets”. State Champs have the songs to rival the biggest of bands in their genre, and they have the live performance to back them up. (And they even offer some free t-shirts for good measure) CM
Words by Jamie Giberti, Simon Crampton and Connor Morris.
Holding Absence photo by Jamie Giberti. State Champs photo by Caitlin Mogridge.