Download Festival 2017: Friday Review

So…Download happened. The historic weekend hit it’s 15th birthday this year, with a truly stacked bill of younger talent as well as displaying a genuinely diverse breadth of genres across all the four stages. Before we fully dive into the review, someone needs to give thanks to whatever black magic occurred over the weekend to make sure no rain fell, as the sun made the weekend infinitely more enjoyable without the fear of trench foot and soggy clothing. So with those initial thanks out of the way, let us begin…

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Holding Absence premier new single Penance

There is a new single from Holding Absence!

The new song Penance follows their stunning Download last week and sees the band continue their development as one of the most exciting new post-hardcore bands, despite only having two other songs to their name.

Listen to the new song here. Penance is released via Sharp Tone Records.

If you enjoy Penance, then it really is only 5 more minutes of your time to listen to Holding Absence‘s other tunes, Dream Of Me and Permanent, you really won’t regret it.

The 2017 Download Festival Preview

Download has come back round once again. It is indeed that time of year again, when the people begin to pray for sunshine and salivate over the once again stacked line up for the Donnington weekend. If you are struggling to find all the bands you should be seeing, that’s understandable, the line up has something for everyone and even some hidden gems as well, that’s why we’re here to help! We’ve got a list of all the bands we are gonna be seeing over the weekend with a few words to help sway your decision. These are in no particular order cause there are quite a lot of bands we wanna go see…

Main Stage 

A Day To Remember 

In the middle of a world tour it’s surprising that A Day To Remember have found time to perform at Download this year. The festival regulars should find a great crowd responding to their strong setlist, if the rest of their tour is anything to go by. A Day To Remember represent the heavier side of pop-punk in a very mixed line up for 2017, and performing on the headline stage should be fantastic exposure for their latest album, which peaked at no.6 in the UK album charts back in September. Supporting them on tour were Moose Blood, who are also performing on Sunday on the Avalanche Stage.

Sabaton

The Swedish power metallers are making a pit stop in the UK for Download, before continuing on to France for Hellfest. Also performing on the headline stage on Friday alongside the likes of Mastodon and System of a Down, it’s great to see such an underrated band do so well in the UK. The group are currently coming off their USA/Canada leg of their world tour, which will end in August with the Sabaton Open Air festival.

 

Northlane

Having silently dropped an absolute belter of an album in Mesmer, Northlane swiftly reminded everyone why they are such an exciting band. Bringing their sound to the main stage this year, it’ll be the perfect litmus test to find out just how capable they are to take that next step towards the bigger stages. Expect huge choruses, oddly timed riffs and a lot of energy.

 

Orange Goblin

Riffs, beers and a lot of smoke is just a few of the key ingredients that make Orange Goblin such a formidable yet hugely enjoyable band. Their stoner metal roots mean that there is always a strong groove present but the pace that Goblin put into their music means its just a cut above the rest. If you like having fun and headbanging till your can’t look up any more then be sure to see Orange Goblin.

Mastodon

Mastodon are a tricky band to pin down. Across their lengthy career the group have been many things; heavy, progressive, intricate, and always impassioned. From the cryptic notes of Crack The Skye through the rock-driven power of Once More Around The Sun to the impressive new album Emperor of Sand, they have more than enough material to drive a whirlwind set. The band are no strangers to Donington Park, and they will be returning to the main stage to deliver their craft to the masses. Those who have seen the band play live before will know there is something for everyone in their performances, from the most dedicated fan to newcomers who will revel in the power of these experienced musicians. Don’t skip on Mastodon.

 

Creeper

The last year or so has seen Creeper move from shock-rock wannabe’s to a sensational crowning jewel of British alternative music. With their self-identified cult following, the band have developed a spellbinding, ephemeral live performance which cannot fail to draw in the listener. Their recent debut album Eternity, In Your Arms saw the Creeper play their largest shows to date and make each stage their home, and Download’s Main Stage promises to be no different. With a powerful concept weaving through their discography, catch Creeper on Saturday to watch a story come to life in an awe-inspiringly powerful way.

Zippo Encore Stage

Baroness

Being one of the most consistent brilliant bands on the circuit today, Baroness bring a beauty to their often monolithically heavy sound, and with their most recent album Purple they were able to prove once again why they’re just utterly fantastic. Expect their set to be deafeningly loud but still not to be missed as the band display their incredible tightness as a band and also their stellar back catalogue.

 

Suicidal Tendencies

The hardcore punk rock legends released their 13th album World Gone Mad last year and are still very much in the swing of touring it. With their trademark energy and attitude coupled with classic tracks like Institutionalized and War Inside My Head it’s likely to go off like stale milk, so don’t miss out.

Kvelertak

Hailing from Norway, Kvelertak fuse together the party attitude of old school rock and roll and fuse with the seething anger and intensity of black metal for a frighteningly potent mixture. Sure to be bringing all the riffs they can muster along with a few owls for good measure, check them out for something a little bit different in your weekend.

 

Suicide Silence

Maybe a controversial one, but despite their huge flop of an album that resulted in massive backlash back in February but you cannot forget that this band is still a ironclad behemoth of the metal world. With a back catalogue as fierce as any of their stable mates, their added fuel from the controversy seen earlier this year could result in an incendiary performance.

 

Clutch

Now it is fair to suggest that ‘bad song’ or ‘poor performance’ are phrases that Clutch are completely unfamiliar with. With their infectious bluesy groove and bloody marvellous song writing, Clutch will inevitably tear the house down and deliver a set of the weekend.

Opeth

Having a history of writing flawlessly brilliant death metal before open their wings and proving to be brimming with melody and intelligent proggy goodness, Opeth are a band that will always be counted on to deliver stunning music. If you are unfamiliar with the Swedish legends, find yourself a copy of Blackwater Park and listen to the perfect marriage of brutality and gentle calm.

 

Anathema

Almost Britain’s answer to Opeth, Anathema went from being a punishingly heavy doom band to opening up to more gorgeous soundscapes that have resulted in a varied and epic back catalogue. If, by the Sunday of the weekend, you are tired and require something soothing, beautiful and played with surgical precision, go listen to anathema and rest your weary eyes.

 

Avalanche Stage

Four Year Strong

Four Year Strong have been touting their easycore style for years now, which means they’ve become damn good at it. The band recently embarked on an extensive tour to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their timeless record Rise or Die Trying. It is quite possibly impossible to avoid having fun with Four Year Strong on the stage. They’re buoyant, energetic and entertaining with some crushing breakdowns. The band’s most recently self-titled album dropped in 2015 boasting huge songs like We All Float Down Here and Go Down In History and the band are just as comfortable with them as they are with the tracks they’ve been playing since they started. Whether you’re familiar or not, rock up to see Four Year Strong blow the crowd away.

Every Time I Die

There isn’t an argument that exists as to why you shouldn’t go watch one of the best hardcore bands on the planet tear the stage a new asshole. Seriously, the moment the Buffalo boys walk on stage that whole tent is erupt into glorious, glorious chaos.

 

Dinosaur Pile-Up

Dinosaur Pile-Up a band that created from the ashes of frontman Matthew Bigland’s former band Mother Vulpine, their named taken from a scene in the 2005 adaptation of King Kong. They have an incredible post-grunge sound with influences such as Smashing Pumpkins, Slayer and The Beach Boys which makes their sound one of a kind. Their third album Eleven Eleven was released in 2015, the title track is filled with heavy riffs and heart felt lyrics. The band are currently on tour in the US supporting  on the first half of their tour before heading back to finish it off in July.

 

Grove Street Families

The Grand Theft Auto-based hardcore act are looking to bring the streets to the big stage! With their main discography being based around strong EP presence, the band have built a strong UK following through the hardcore scene with their boisterous live crowds and with them able to switch up their structure of flows in between songs, whether it be the heavier beatdown style section of Street By Street or the anthemic choruses in Big Smoke And Mirrors, it will showcase something fun and, most importantly, enjoyable about your last day at Download.

Code Orange

Releasing a brutal yet strangely easy to get into album with Forever, the Code Orange kids will be bringing their branded of anxiety inducing hardcore to download. Code Orange are a dominating outfit and their live shows are pretty counter intuitive to dental welfare so watch yourself in the pit.

 

Normandie

Not three months on from supporting Yellowcard on their Final Tour, Normandie are currently still touring through Europe. Dropping in on Download before heading back to the Netherlands, Normandie deserve their slot on the Avalanche Stage on Saturday. The heavy alternative group are hugely talented and hopefully performing at Download will give them the exposure they deserve.

 

The King Blues

The King Blues are an interesting group, a true punk vibe mixed in with the political hatred makes them a popular choice for shows and festivals. With their latest album The Gospel Truth covering subjects like mental health, Brexit and politics – it’s easy to see why they’re doing so well for themselves and why their shows always sell out so quickly. If you fancy getting out some anger or having a sing-a-long then go and check them.

 

Astroid Boys

Astroid Boys bring nothing but a giant party. The Cardiff based grime/hardcore collective mix dirty beats and heavy instrumentals layered with a duo of vocalists. With just finishing a headline tour and heading back out again in the autumn with Enter Shikari, it shows that they bring something for everyone. With a new album bound to be announced soon, you’ll most likely get the chance to see a couple of new songs played!

 

Knuckle Puck

Arguably the best pop-punk band on the planet at the moment, Knuckle Puck write impassioned and clever music for a genre that has been stagnating in creativity for the past few years. Their Copacetic record represented a band that possessed the talent to take the genre to the next level it has been looking for, so be sure to check out the very possible future leaders of an entire genre.

The Dogtooth Stage

Venom prison

If you fancy some death metal fronted by a female, you have to check out Venom Prison. Moving on from the hardcore Wolf Down, Larissa brings her absolute best brutality with Venom Prison and her vocals are second to none. Having just supported Suicide Silence and Deez Nuts on their UK tour, they’ve gained fans all around the country and it’s not hard to see why when you see the energy and passion put into their live shows.

 

IDLES

Punk quintet IDLES will be showing their one of the best punk acts around at Download festival. With their passionately angry lyrics and ferocious guitar riffs these guys are bringing punk back. You thought these guys were angry already, depending on the election results on 8th June these guys may be 1000 times angrier. Their most popular track Well Done encapsulates the distain at the apparent class divide in England at the moment. The video for Well Done seems plain but captures the simplicity of the lyrics perfectly.

Fizzy Blood

On the back of a sold out tour with While She Sleeps, Fizzy Blood will be bringing their Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll to Donnington Park. Fizzy Blood aren’t strangers to festival appearances after performing at an array of England based festivals such as Sound City, Live At Leeds and Tramlines, as well as international renowned festivals such as SXSW and Korea’s Zandari Festa. Fizzy Blood’s latest single Pawn is jam packed full of everything great about this band, catchy lyrics along with head banging guitar riffs. With an incredible 80’s style music video filmed entirely on VHS this is a perfect contrast to this track. Be sure to catch Fizzy Blood at a number of festival’s this summer, including Camden Rocks, 2000 Trees and Tramlines.

 

Holding Absence

One of the fastest rising post hardcore acts of the last decade are starting to make waves in the festival circuit and with the hype already being around two songs released, the Welsh contingent are definitely turning some heads early before the release of any more material. Permanent and Dream Of Me showcases so far everything you need to know about the band and when you finally see them, you will want to know so much more about this five piece.

 

I The Mighty

Giving you some more post hardcore for your second day at the festival, this californian quartet are looking to make more of a presence with a new album on the way as well. Their latest album Connector shows off their musical prowess and technical capabilities with their older material as well emphasising what they’re about. The band are able to change from their elegant melodies within tracks such as The Lying Eyes Of Miss Erray that only helps elevate their songs that give more of a punch with aggression. If you have no other band on your schedule, this is a group that deserve your undivided attention.

 

Blood Youth release show beyond repair

LIVE: Blood Youth – Boston Music Room, London 10/04/17

Opening up Blood Youth‘s London Beyond Repair release show came Holding Absence, a band making serious waves in the rock world currently.  The band came out with one of the unreleased songs but quickly broke into Permanent, which featured on their picture disc release for Record Store Day this year. The stunning voice work of frontman Lucas Woodland sets Holding Absence out from the crowd, and the soaring chorus of Dream of Me allows for him to show off – a chance he rarely passes up in the moment and tonight was no different. With only two songs released though, the set inevitably didn’t live up to the quality of the performance atmosphere-wise. That being said, a stunning live band who are definitely set for precedental shows as soon as their new material comes. [8/10]

Holding Absence Blood Youth

Next up came the consistently-heaviest band on the lineup in the shape of Liverpool’s Loathe. Frontman Kadeem France made his way through the crowd wearing a Slipknot-esque mask and jumped up onto the stage before breaking straight into their barrage of noise. Playing through songs from last year’s Prepare Consume Proceed EP as well as the upcoming full-length The Cold Sun, which was being sold for the first and only time four days before release date on their merch table. Just to finish it all off, Loathe finished up with The Cold Sun single It’s Yours which featured a guest appearance from Lucas again who provided added even more depth to the 3 vocalist setup of the band alone. The atmosphere turned from awe of Holding Absence to mild hysteria with hardcore dancing all over the place, warming up perfectly for the headliners while playing a fantastic set in their own right.  [8/10]

Loathe Blood Youth

The last week has been big for Blood Youth – the trio have released their debut album, played their first acoustic shows ahead of their release shows and had their first major crowd injury (read more about the latter in our interview with Kaya here). None of these seemed to slow them down in the slightest though; opening track Making Waves was a hard-hitter when they played it on September’s Closure UK tour but it had an extra gusto when the mob watching on knew and screamed the words back.

Older favourites 24/7Mood Swing and Dead Space all made outings for fantastic crowd interaction as the lyrics were thrown back in the band’s faces, and newer tracks Savanna and I Remember allowed for a lot of mindless mosh. Heaviest track Parasite (somewhat surprisingly) resulted in no injuries unlike the performance the night before in Leeds, but gave a refresher to the tiring audience. Closure provided an emotional end to the main body of the set for a quick breather for everyone in the ever-warmer room under the lights before Blood Youth returned for the traditional scrum-style brawl around the mic for Failure. As ever, it proved the cathartic moment of the show as “I am nothing to no-one and I’ve been running for one day too long” was belted out by everyone around into the one mic – a magical moment that never fails to bring some to tears.

Unlike on the September tour, there remained one song after Failure – Beyond Repair‘s lead single Reason To Stay. The combination of melodic chorus and increadibly heavy verses and breakdowns sum up what Blood Youth are all about, and the addition to the setlist made the closing moments all the more powerful. A night to remember by a band you just can’t afford to sleep on. [9/10]

Blood Youth release show

HOLDING ABSENCE announced as support on We Are The Ocean’s final UK Tour

Holding Absence have announced they will be supporting We Are The Ocean on their Farewell tour.

 

Check out the dates below

 

22nd March – Glasgow – Cathouse 

23rd March – Manchester – Sound Control 

24th March – London – Tufnell Park Dome – Sold Out

 

Frontman Lucas Woodland comments:
“We’re absolutely honoured to be heading out with WATO next month and sharing the stage with them for their final ever UK shows. We Are The Ocean are a band we all respected growing up, from their great tunes to their work ethic and later in their careers when they were pushing the musical boundaries and experimenting with their sounds… They’re a glimmering example of a great UK band, and it’s bittersweet to be able to say goodbye to them onstage every night, but we’re going to love every minute of it! Thanks for having us WATO, and thanks for the memories!”

Full tour dates below:

9th March – Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham *Holding Absence Headline*
22nd March – Cathouse, Glasgow w/ We Are The Ocean
23rd March- SoundControl, Manchester w/ We Are The Ocean
24th March- The Dome, London w/ We Are The Ocean
9th April- The Key Club, Leeds w/ Blood Youth & Loathe
10th April – Boston Music Rooms, London w/ Blood Youth & Loathe
3rd June- Bloc Bar @ Camden Rocks, London
9th June – Download Festival, Donnington 
22nd July – Amplified Festival, Gloucestershire

Pre-Order Holding Absence‘s limited edition disk here

Holding Absence – Big Cartel

Check out “Dream of me” here

Holding Absence links

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Blood Youth release new song ‘Reason To Stay’, announce new album

Bringing more thrash and a modern take on hardcore/metalcore, Blood Youth are proving to be one of the freshest bands coming up and this year should be no different. They have announced a new album titled ‘Beyond Repair‘ and are looking to make many more waves.

Check out the new single ‘Reason To Stay‘ below.

They have also announced a few release shows with supports Loathe and Holding Absence. You can check out the dates below!

LIVE REVIEW: Holding Absence, Bristol Exchange, 23/10/16

From a pop punk gig to the territory of melodic hardcore outfit Holding Absence, the gig at Bristol’s Exchange on Sunday evening went through numerous line-up changes as the date got closer. Initially a headline gig for Manchester pop punks Best Years, the boys unfortunately couldn’t make it due to transport issues out of their hands. Holding Absence, who had only recently been added to the gig themselves, stepped up to the mark.

First up were Better Than Never a pop punk band from Oxford. Fairly new on the scene, it was hard to escape an unpolished feeling through their set, but the energy that these lads put in was admirable nonetheless. Bringing an A Day To Remember style infusion of pop punk and hardcore, the meaty growls emitting from lead vocalist James Harris were consistent aside from one vocal slip owing to a fumbled microphone. This heavy vocal style was especially prominent Forty Eight, which they introduced as their heaviest track to date. For a band playing to a largely unfamiliar crowd, Better Than Never provided an energetic opening set. [6/10]

Pushing Daisies are of Bristol stock, and have played the Exchange venue before, so in some senses it’s common ground for this quartet. The band recently re-released their EP Stay Sad through Homebird Records, and they paid full homage to this EP as well as older material in their set. Pushing an intense emo-grunge style, vocalist Roberto Martinez-Cowles’ forceful vocals are laid over the top of impressive instrumentation. It’s clear that Pushing Daisies are becoming increasingly adept at playing their songs live, as there was barely a slip to be heard. The band put a solid effort into getting the crowd moving, and were rewarded with a stage dive and beer being knocked flying by an enthusiastic mosher. The passion this band put into their shows is impressive. [7/10]

Another Bristol band played third up on the bill, Highlives! There were quite a few Highlives t-shirts dotted around the room, and it was great too see people getting out to see local bands. The band have a range of musical style within the loose brackets of pop punk, throwing out some heavier tracks, their ‘cheesiest’ (their own words) song Through Vacant Eyes and a slightly slower one in the form of Twenty Two. This led to a set with a good amount of scope, and the band put a stunning amount of effort into their act, with vocalist Liam Edwards virtually gasping for breath between songs. The highlight of their set was the lead single from their last EP Misguided Youth, the song Better Days provoking the best response from the crowd, a number of whom knew every word. Even if they’d had nothing else going for them, the energy on show here is exemplary, and Highlives have the songs to back it up for a great gig. [7.5/10]

Impromptu headliners Holding Absence hail from Cardiff, but they made Bristol their own. The intensity with which the band perform is virtually unparalleled by bands of any level, smashing around the stage in a reverie of motion. The band have recently changed vocalists, and Lucas Woodland’s clean vocals are as full of melody as his raw screams are of grit. The dichotomy between the two styles works excellently for the quintet, controlling the pace fluidly through their songs.

They opened with their recent single Permanent and were rewarded with some of the fans throwing back every word. A lot of their set-list, however, was unreleased material and served to tease what’s to come from Holding Absence. Despite the unfamiliarity of the songs, the audience had the visceral passion of the band to enjoy, and the way the members move and perform makes it almost as much a visual performance as musical. It’s not hard to imagine Holding Absence playing larger venues with visual elements backing them on-screen.  With magnificently written songs, technical instrumentation and the skill to pull it off in supreme style, this is a band that deserve to go far. [9/10]