Think back to June 2021. The Download Pilot festival took place in front of 10,000 lucky and willing festival going test subjects, as part of the first Government Pilot aimed at getting the UK live music scene back on its feet after the various lockdowns. Those in attendance, and thousands more at home living the action through the hundreds of social media posts going up across the weekend will have had their attention drawn to various performances, and subsequently what those bands have done since that fantastic weekend last year. The likes of While She Sleeps, Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes and Enter Shikari, who all turned in amazing performances at the Download Pilot, have continued on their respective successes as they may have been expected to do.
But elsewhere around the festival, we had bands who have gone on to have a spectacular twelve months (OK, eleven) since then who were not as high profile as those bands already mentioned, but have done a great job in closing the gap since. As we gear up for the return of the full Download Festival in a couple of weeks, here are five of the bands who have fully made the most of the platform given to them by the Download Pilot.
Perhaps the most obvious choice based on their performance at the Download Pilot alone, metal fans across the UK and beyond will have seen those videos of the Malevolence circle pits emanating from Donington last Summer. Since then, they’ve lain waste to the mainstage at Bloodstock Open Air Festival and given other festivals including Slam Dunk and Ieper Winter Edition a taste of the UK’s finest metallic hardcore.
Malevolence should have been opening for the mighty Trivium before COVID put pay to that tour (but will still be doing so in January 2023) but that hasn’t killed their momentum at all. They have still mixed in some headline shows, A Kerrang K! Pit and most recently, made their arena debut opening for Architects to thunderous reactions. They’ve also dropped three new singles including the brilliant On Broken Glass from their excellent new album, Malicious Intent, which landed last Friday (May 20th), which is set to bring them yet more deserved attention. A thunderous reaction awaits them on Middle Saturday of Download 2022 on the Second Stage.
Bleed From Within
Flying the flag for Scottish metal as they have been doing for over a decade, Bleed From Within wow’ed the masses at the Download Pilot with a display full of riffs, pyro and more riffs. A band who have felt like they’ve been on the cusp of greatness for awhile with most recent albums Fracture and Era, the Download Pilot showed the full capabilities of Scott Kennedy, Ali Richardson and friends to a huge audience at an ideal time.
Like Malevolence, their appearance at Donington also led to a blistering set at last years’ Bloodstock, and also an opening slot on Bullet For My Valentine’s big Autumn 2021 UK tour, where by all accounts they managed to upstage both Bullet and TesseracT on several occasions with their level of performance. New album Shrine lands in early June, just in time for Download 2022, and it is going to be one of the metal albums of the year. The Dogtooth Tent is likely to be overflowing for their set on Middle Saturday.
Almost certainly the band who have racked up the most miles since the Download Pilot are Holding Absence. They came into the Download Pilot having released their wonderful second album, The Greatest Mistake Of My Life, a couple of months prior, and since then, the sky has been the limit for Lucas Woodland and friends. Appearances at Reading and Leeds and Slam Dunk followed the Download Pilot, while they also were one of the first bands to manage a full (COVID dodging) UK tour alongside Yours Truly and As Everything Unfolds (more on them in a minute below) last October. Unfortunately their main support slot on the December Creeper tour was brought to a halt by COVID (as indeed, that entire tour was a couple of shows later).
COVID beaten, 2022 has carried on for Holding Absence where 2021 left off. A main support slot on the long awaited Funeral For A Friend tour introduced them to a generation of older emo’s and more beyond. More recently, Holding Absence have hit the USA for the first time, as support for Dayseeker, and are currently in Australia for the first time. When they return home they have a spot on the You Me At Six Slam Dunk pre-shows, before finally returning to Download on the Avalanche Stage on Middle Saturday deep breath. There is a reason they are in such high demand all over the world. Their blend of alt-rock, emo and post hardcore, their enormous likeability as people, and Lucas Woodland’s crazy vocal ability all add up to one hell of a package. Miss them at your peril.
As Everything Unfolds
Like their recent tour mates Holding Absence, As Everything Unfolds came into the Download Pilot off the back of a barnstorming recently released album, Within Each Lies The Other. Off the strength of singles like Hiding From Myself and On The Inside, As Everything Unfolds have amassed millions of streams of the album, alongside some fantastic live performances. The aforementioned Holding Absence tour was a huge success, as were a series of shows with Death Blooms.
February saw AEU head to London for a sold out show at the Camden Assembly, playing Within Each Lies The Other in full for the first (and maybe last?) time, leading to a thoroughly joyful evening with Heriot in tow supporting. More shows on their recent UK headline tour followed, and they are warming up for Download on a series of shows supporting Trash Boat and Enter Shikari. The first of our featured bands to hit the stage at Download 2022, find As Everything Unfolds on the Avalanche Stage on Friday afternoon. Do not be late.
Blending elements of hardcore, screamo and post-hardcore, Leeds natives Static Dress are on a wild ride of their own. Having dropped their debut full length album Rouge Carpet Disaster last week, it’s the latest step in a journey that was given a massive bounce by their appearance at the Download Pilot twelve months ago.
Since the Download Pilot, Static Dress have been mixing a drip feed of singles (Sober Exits, Such a Shame) with as much touring as they could. They were also part of the aborted Creeper December tour alongside Holding Absence, while a complete successful run of shows with Terror and Knocked Loose put the band in front of a huge new audience for the first time. Most recently, Olli Appleyard and co have completeed their first UK headline tour and been featured in publications big and small, even getting the attention of Rolling Stone UK for a feature. Static Dress kick off the Avalanche Stage first thing on Sunday morning. For those complaining that this will mean an early start, all we can say is: sleep is for the weak!
All of the above bands are part of the huge line up for the 2022 Download Festival, happening from the 10th – 12th June 2022 at Donington Park (Campsite open 8th – 13th, Boardie Takeover on the evening of the 8th), the spiritual home of rock and metal in the UK.
As well as the above bands, attendees can enjoy dozens of great acts. This years’ festival is headlined by KISS, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro. Get your final weekend and day tickets for Download 2022 now on this link.