It’s that time of year again. It’s a metalhead’s christmas as the hallowed Download Festival returns for another year of riffs and chaos and mud. lots of mud. Because of how many amazing bands there are this year, we’re taking each day and giving you our choice picks for each day, so these lot should keep your Friday nice and busy!
Alien Ant Farm
Alien Ant Farm are back in the UK following their 2015 tour playing 2001 album ANThology in full to play the Lemmy stage on Friday. The band, debatably most famous for the classic Smooth Criminal cover and wacky video style, have gained very little attention outside the cover and Movies from the same record (ANThology), causing an unofficial break-up in 2007 due to releasing their least successful album to the then present. Their show in 2016 however promises to be a fun-filled nostalgia session as the crowd indulges in the tracks of Alien Ant Farm past, but should be an interesting watch to see how exactly the future will treat the band. Pay them a visit for a pop punk set of the highest order!
They have created quite the frenzy since their inception back in 2014, but as they climb higher and higher towards the metal throne, you cannot deny how welcome and loved Babymetal have become. Those who were skeptical at first now look on with admiration and enjoy what they see, even Download’s head poncho Andy Copping himself. They take to the main stage on Friday, and it will certainly be a set not to miss.
Having helped pioneer metalcore back in the late 90’s early 00’s, Killswitch Engage have become one of the most well respected and consistent bands of our time. Now on their 7th album Incarnate, Killswitch’s set will be filled with even more anthems, with Hate By Design and Strength Of The Mind, slotting in besides the likes of My Last Serenade, Rose Of Sharyn, End Of Heartache and In Due Time to name a few. If you’re a fan of vocalists being able to sing live like they can on an album, then Jesse Leach will definitely blow you away, with his intense screams and super melodic vocals.
You don’t need to ask around Donnington who Korn are, the Nu-Metal 5 piece have become one of the most established bands to grace the fields of Download. Since the return of original guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, Korn have come on leaps and bounds, the energy they first had all those years ago has returned and it has allowed them to flourish. With a new album expected within the next 12 months, Korn’s live performance and stage production will be a spectacle to witness, you’d be a fool to miss them
All Time Low
After having a listen one might be confused about why these guys are on the Download bill, but looking back at their recent studio work and tours, this band is definitely on the rise. Having recently played an arena tour with Good Charlotte supporting, ATL have proved once more that they are in it to win it. Whether you like pop punk or not, you’re sure to recognize some of the tracks they’ll be playing. If you want something perky to bounce along to, this is the band you are looking for.
Believe it or not, but this is the first year Glassjaw have played Donnington. Though the band have been together since 1993, their sudden hiatus in 2004 halted their chances to play Download. With a big step towards releasing new music, this is a band whose return has been awaited for a while. Even if the set lacks new material, their two previous albums are highly regarded as classics and will serve Glassjaw in good stead for their debut.
Christian rockers Skillet are back in the UK, this time marking the release of 9th studio album Unleashed on 5th August later this year. The band are well known for having spiritual lyrics and powerful riffs that blow almost every other band in their scene clean out of the water, and their live shows match that. Husband and wife team John and Korey Cooper have a chemistry onstage that is second to none which really brings out the best of the band to transfer the recorded material to stage immaculately as so few other bands can in the modern day. Catch the 4-piece on Friday on Zippo Encore for a massive show packed with the new delights as well as some of the classics, definitely not to be missed!
A lot has happened for Twin Atlantic since they lasted played Download in 2009. Most recently last year the band were nominated by the Association of Independent Music for the Best Live Act award after playing their biggest show to date at the Glasgow SSE. Their last album Great Divide headed straight to the top of the UK rock chart making it their second album in the top 5. The set is sure to see old favourite such as Crash Land, Hold On and Make a Beast of Myself with the possibility of a sneak peek at some new music after posting picture suggesting they have been in the studio.
As Lions are a metal band that manage to have crowds in the palm of their hand within a couple of songs. Although they only have a handful of fairly well known songs, the band have already played Download in their previous incarnation as Rise To Remain. Having opened for the likes of Trivium, As Lions have already learned a lot and are currently in the process of perfecting their craft on stage. They have recently released new song; White Flags which sounds just like hard rock taken down to its harmonious roots. These guys are definitely ones to check out for fans of melodic metal with down to earth passion.
Heck have again already played Download albeit under the moniker Baby Godzilla. Their sets have become legend with fans citing the band running amuck outside the tent, rather playing on bins than an actual stage. With an infection progressive hardcore sound harking back to old Dillinger Escape Plan, this is band that needs to be seen to be believed.
Fresh off the tour bus and goodbyes from Funeral For A Friend’s last tour and with a new self-titled album under their belts, Zoax are very much at the start of something big. After performing Download 2013 before releasing any music and then again in 2014, they took a break from Donnington for a year to finish up their debut full-length and it’s come with a vicious demand for attention. They have previously supported all manners of punk bands – Gallows and Cancer Bats to name just two – so it’s clear to see they mean business and will tear up the Maverick stage like never before.
Kadavar make their download debut this year with their style of psychedelic and stoner rock. This is a group for fans of bands such as Led Zeppelin and also Black Sabbath. There is something contemporary within the sounds of their records Abra Kadavar and Berlin, all suggesting that their set at this year’s event will undoubtedly be one you can absolutely lose yourself to.
Legendary sludge metal and hardcore crossover Raging Speedhorn make their return to Download for the first time in over a decade. The band recently reformed in 2014 and have back with new material to boot an a number of UK tours under their belt. Be prepared for a lot of intensity as these noise mongers headline the 4th stage.
Havok make their debut appearance at the festival this year but their set will undoubtedly be a memorable one. Taking influence from thrash acts like Testament and Overkill, this is a band born to play Download. If the line up lacks any real punch for your liking, get yourself down to Havok and see the chaos.
London-based Counting Days create a fusion of hardcore and death metal that would be almost unfair to deathcore bands to use the same genre label. Their blend of huge, super heavy riffs and crushing vocals have led to support slots with some huge bands including Coldrain at their May UK headline tour and Architects at their release show for new album All Our Gods… which can only prove their royalty among the community. The lads are looking to be dropping more music soon, so watch this space and watch them at Download.