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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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.

 

Sabaton – Manchester 02 Apollo – Friday 13th January

Putting a band on from doors opening, the venue had too much of an early start for fans to get settled for Twilight Force [5]. In the case of this band, that’s what was needed. Walking into the group wearing, what can only be described as a full on Lord Of The Ring’s costumed -with elf ears, cape and all- band playing a form of Folk Metal. As a live act the band felt a bit too pantomime and would have fitted much more so at a show such as Ensiferum or Sonata Arctica with a more fantastical message to their music. That’s not to say that the band were bad though as they wove intricate solo’s from guitarists Lynd and Aerendir and most impressively of all from keyboardist Blackwater as they played songs from both Heroes Of Mighty Magic and Tales Of Ancient Prophecies. The show would have worked in it’s unique context, or possibly if it was staged out a bit better, but for a sober crowd entering their venue, the band just felt like a silly gimmick, in comparison with the next two acts.

Accept [7] played a decent show. In a vein such as how  Motorhead used to play live, it was simply a case of plug in and play from the group. In a room full of metal fans their tracks seemed as classic as a band could be, and with songs such as Metal Heart, Stampede and London Leatherboys spread throughout their set, the group played at a pace which a majority of classic bands simply can’t keep up with. It’s criminal that Accept aren’t considered as big as a group like Slayer or Mastodon as it felt criminal to see that a classic band in this vein was only in the main support position of the bill. This was only made more obvious when the group ended their set with crowd pleasers Teutonic Terror and Balls To The Wall with the whole room bouncing and singing every lyric. Accept might not be a household name to most metal fans but if you wish to find the inspirations to the majority of modern metal, this is a group to certainly check out live.

With Sabaton [8] only just playing the city 10 months ago fans could have been forgiven for going into the gig with a sense of unsurprised familiarity, but in all honesty, the band managed to topple their 2016 show by some considerable length. First of all an upgrade to the stage setup with a big screen displaying lyrics and visuals to some of their songs seemed a welcome addition, and added a certain level of interactivity. Next the crowd getting into it a lot more felt astounding, it’s rare a band of Sabaton’s size could have a room singing every lyric to every song but the band created the atmosphere and connectivity to the audience, through relentless touring and consistently great albums, including new release The Last Stand. 

With moments from the set such as “letting the new guitarist Tommy Johannson choose the upcoming song” and having the crowd sing the chorus to Swedish Pagans gave what was meant to be a throwaway moment, something of great spectacle. The fact the group gave a rendition for a couple bars of Jump by Van Halen to tease the audience, and finally to have the audience enjoy an acoustic rendition of The Final Solution made from what could seem as an average Sabaton show to feel something entirely new, special and a reason enough to see them again. Most bands keep an air of sameness to them, within the fact of you’ve seen one show you’ve seen them all, in Sabaton’s case however, the new level of interactivity and the fact their stage show is ever updating, means that even if you’ve seen them once, it’s definitely worth watching them again.

SABATON Show First Taste Of New LP

Swedish metal legends SABATON announced details of their eighth instalment to their catalogue entitled The Last Stand last week which is due out on Nuclear Blast on August 19th worldwide (various preorders are available here and here).

In addition, they’ve just released the symphonic first single from the record, titled The Lost Batallion which you can hear below:

 

The band are touring extensively over the coming months, so here’s their full set of dates announced so far (more to come soon!):

SABATON live:
11.06.  S          Sölvesborg – Sweden Rock Festival
12.06.  F          Paris – Download Festival
29.06.  FIN       Hämeenlinna – Kantola Event Park (w/ IRON MAIDEN)
30.06.  E          Bilbao – Bilbao Arena Miribilla (w/ SCORPIONS)
02.07.  E          Córdoba – Plaza De Toros (w/ SCORPIONS)
03.07.  E          Madrid – Barclaycard Center (w/ SCORPIONS)
06.07.  SK        Zilina – Zilina Airport (w/ IRON MAIDEN)
08.07.  FIN       Kuusisaari – Jalometalli
10.07.  TR        Istanbul – Rock Off
24.07.  I           Rome – Sonisphere Italy (w/ IRON MAIDEN)
26.07.  AL        Mariehamn – Rockoff
03.08.  DK       Skandeborg – Smukfest
06.08.  CDN     Montreal – Heavy Montréal
18.08.  D         Dinkelsbühl – Summer Breeze
19.08.  D         Hamburg – Elb-Riot
20.08.  S          Falun – Sabaton Open Air
28.08.  PL        Straszecin – Czad Festival
29.08.  PL        Wroclaw – Rock For Freedom
31.08.  IL         Tel Aviv – Reading 3 (w/ DESERT)
25.09.  USA     San Bernardino, CA – Knotfest
02.10.  USA     Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life Festival
The Last Tour – Europe 2017
w/ ACCEPT
07.01.  D         Oberhausen – König Pilsener Arena
08.01.  B          Antwerp – Lotto Arena
10.01.  IRL       Dublin – Vicar Street
11.01.  UK       Glasgow – o2 Academy
13.01.  UK       Manchester – o2 Apollo
14.01.  UK       London – o2 Brixton Academy
27.01.  A          Vienna – Gasometer NEW!
28.01.  D         Ludwigsburg – MHP Arena
29.01.  NL        Amsterdam – Heineken Music Hall
31.01.  D         Frankfurt – Jahrhunderthalle
01.02.  D         Saarbrücken – Saarlandhalle
03.02.  CH       Basel – St. Jakobshalle NEW!
04.02.  D         Bamberg – Brose Arena
05.02.  D         München – Zenith
04.03.  CZ        Prague – Tip Sport Arena NEW!
05.03.  H         Budapest – Barba Negra NEW!
15.03.  D         Berlin – Columbiahalle