Download Festival 2017 Saturday – Zippo Encore Stage Review

Download Festival 2017 Final Line Up Zippo Stage Header

Continuing in the same vein as our Friday reviews, we had multiple members of Team Rock Sins at Donington the whole weekend of Download 2017, so following on from our Saturday Main Stage reviews, here you can find our Zippo Encore Stage reviews for Saturday. If you’ve missed any of our other coverage from the 2017 Download Festival so far then please find the links to those below:

Rock Sins Download Festival 2017 Friday Review – Main Stage
Rock Sins Download Festival 2017 Friday Review – Zippo Encore Stage
Rock Sins Download Festival 2017 Friday Review – Avalanche and Dogtooth Stages
Rock Sins Download Festival 2017 Saturday Review – Main Stage

Kicking off our Saturday action at the Zippo Encore stage were none other than Suicide Silence (8). Being a huge fan of this band’s older material, and finding their latest self-titled release to be somewhat hit and miss, this was a set I went to with a strange mix of curiosity and excitement. The band walk on stage to be met with more than a few people shouting “Teehee” before opening with “You Only Live Once”.

Regardless of the stylistic change this band have gone for, they still sound as bone crushing as ever playing songs like “No Pity For A Coward”, and even “Doris” sounds like it was something pulled straight off ‘The Cleansing’. Whilst performed very well “Run” felt somewhat shoehorned in, “Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down” sounds huge live and seems to really capture what this band have aimed to do with their new material. Overall a great performance and it’s great to see them do exactly what they want to do. CM

As there are to be highs, there must inevitably be lows. Pains me as it does, there’s nothing hugely positive that can be said about the current Cavalera offering of Max and Iggor: Return To Roots (5) – which is basically Cavalera Conspiracy. No doubt, the promise of the brothers finally back together and touring was exciting and would obviously offer some form of revisiting Sepultura; that it’s the ‘Roots’ anniversary means they’ve opted to play the album in it’s entirety. An interesting choice.

Obviously ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ is arguably Sepultura‘s most popular and well-known song. But, as ‘Enter Sandman’ is for Metallica, it’s actually one of their weakest songs. Despite this, and just as with ‘Enter Sandman’, everyone will sing along and get involved when they hear it… wherever they hear it. Mystical magic at work, there.

The problem with this Cavelera outfit is a combination of things that, unfortnately, have not worked out in their favour. Firstly, ‘Roots’ is not really a brilliant album. Sure, it’s got some great songs on but it’s not got the power of any of the earlier releases. The first half is great, the second half petters and is not captiviating enough to hold interest live and that really, really shows on this tour.

‘Roots’ is, if it were not known, the last Sepultura album that Max did before he split and formed Soulfly. In that respect, it’s very much the stepping stone between the two bands; Sepultura went on to forge a new sound and legacy with Derrick Green and Max did the same with Soulfly.

There’s no disputing the legacy the brothers hold, and had they decided to do this at a different time and go out and tour ‘Chaos A.D.’ then perhaps my feelings would be different (not least of all because it is, in my opinion, their greatest work). But the big problem with all this, frankly, is Max. He cannot play the music he once could, and whilst his bog-standard-metal vocals are instantly recognisable, he is clearly showing that his years are fast catching up with him.

What’s worse is that these are, unfortunately, not thoughts born of one ‘bad day at the office’; it was exactly the same when I saw the brothers do the same set on the same tour a few months earlier in London. This was, somehow, an improvement on that, but nevertheless, it was a very disappointing and uninspiring affair. MH

Having thoroughly enjoyed A Day To Remember over on the main stage, a quick sprint up the hill was required to enjoy the majesty of The Devin Townsend Project (9.5) in full force. Recent album Transcendence has added ever more classics to the cornucopia of Devin’s back catalogue, with songs such as Stormbending hitting you full on like a freight train. Alternating between his usual effervescent stage banter and pulling out songs such as Deadhead and March Of The Poozers, Devin had the sizeable crowd in the palm of his hand.

The Devin Townsend Project then proceed to drop the combination of Kingdom straight into Grace, which may well have been the best ten minutes of the whole of the 2017 Download Festival, with the assembled throng going absolutely ballstic, and rightly so. Concluding proceedings with a magnificent rendition of Higher, Devin and his band just underlined once again why The DTP is one of the most important bands in all of heavy music. Their leader is revered by many as a musical genius, and this is just one more example as to why. Long live Hevy Devy! JG

Rob Zombie (7) is no (Phantom) Stranger to Donington Park and is becoming somewhat of a Download Festival veteran. It’s impossible to think that there was a time where he never used to come to the U.K as we can’t seem to get rid of him these days. With that said tonight the stars are shining on him, as he headlines the second stage for the second time. Benefitting from a mass exodus from the main stage, there is barely any room to squeeze any more in. To their credit, the crowd seems more than up for it, and being the master showman he is, Rob is going to give the people what they want.

Despite being a little light on the ground in terms of production (there are no robots, corpses, explosions or any of that fun stuff) there is still enough to keep the mind racing through the hour long set. Let’s be honest everyone goes to see Rob Zombie for the songs, and the man has more bangers than a Chinese firework factory.  Tracks like ‘Living Dead Girl’, ‘Dragula’ and ‘Never Gonna Stop’ are unstoppable classics and even the new material from the latest album ‘The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser’ fit seamlessly into the set. Cuts like ‘Everybody’s fucking in a UFO’ (complete with crowd surfing aliens) or ‘In the year of the consecrated vampire we all get high’ are future classics in waiting.

There are moments where the set inevitably drags whether it be the extended guitar solos of John 5 during a headline set or the unnecessary cover of ‘School’s Out’ but these are minor gripes aside. Will this go down in history as one of the best Rob Zombie shows in history? No, I have definitely seen better performances from him. But the sight of so many people jumping and dancing in unison to the music of a bonafide legend is a Download moment that will go down in history as one to remember. SC

Words by Connor Morris, Matt Hill, Jamie Giberti and Simon Crampton.

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