WORDS: BECTON SIMPSON

DAY ONE

After several days of rain and hundreds of 5 day festival goers stomping over the ground Wednesday and Thursday, it’s already an absolute mudfest by the time Friday arrives and several hundred more people arrive. Wellies are an essential and selling all round the Village for £20+ to captive consumers. THE WEATHER (3) is frankly pretty bad for most of the remainder of the weekend, light to heavy showers causing more mud and not much in the way of sun.

Over on the Main Stage, however, no one is letting it dampen their spirits as they watch WHITESNAKE (7), who got everyone up and bopping to some classic rock in a lively, fun party atmosphere, one of their guitarists looking like he hadn’t left the 80s yet (it’s not a phase mom).

TWELVE FOOT NINJA (6) were twenty minutes late to their slot at the Dogtooth through no fault of their own. Blaming “fucking technology” they told the crowd they could sadly only play a 3 song set but both band and audience made the most of it with the tent bouncing to their genre bending sound and chants of “one more song” when the inevitable end came.

AT THE GATES (8) provided an alternate headliner option at the Dogtooth Stage, with a heavier sound to a more hardcore audience. Still relative newcomers compared to the likes of Leppard, their set was slick and energetic and they more than proved their worth as a Dogtooth headliner.

DAY TWO

POWER TRIP (7) played a lunchtime slot over on the Main Stage and got everyone up and jumping for their tight and lively set of metalesque hardcore. Just insane. These guys are on the up and up, consistently proving they’ve got what it takes to be in the game for the longhaul.

PALISADES (7) had the Avalanche stage bumping, a jubilant atmosphere in the crowd as they smashed out their post-hardcore anthems with ease and professionalism. Someone in the crowd remarked “these guys are the future of punk”. Possibly, my friend, possibly.

NOTHING,NOWHERE (9) was a surprise highlight of the day. Like some kind of long lost son of Mike Shinoda, he delivered an impressive set of unique music blending rap, emo, electro and metal proving that he fitted perfectly to a Download line-up with circle pits and crowd surfers aplenty. Another one with a long career ahead.

Meanwhile, DIE ANTWOORD (2) proved how much they didn’t fit a Download line up, sounding shit from the tent and even shittier up close. “I just hate them” someone said as we walked past. Same bro.

DAY THREE

It’s 2:45am on Sunday morning, and the Doghouse tent is heaving with bodies for the FACE DOWN VS KEY CLUB (8) club night. Suddenly a G note is heard, and before long the entire place is singing along to Welcome To The Black Parade. A wild mosh pit breaks out in the middle of the club. Someone on the Discovered editorial team loses their phone (hint: it was me). It was a beautiful moment. Apart from the LOST PHONE (1)

A few hours sleep and a few too many beers later, it’s time to catch some LAMB OF GOD (7), who continued on their quest to start the biggest circle pit ever, causing absolute mayhem, chaos and delight at the Main Stage. For many, Sunday is the hardest day after three (or five) full days of bands and partying, so getting that level of audience participation was pretty impressive.

There was an absolutely insane amount of people trying to cram into the Avalanche tent for FEVER 333 (9), a band who proved they were definitely too big for that stage now. People literally couldn’t get in. It was rammed. Main Stage next time for these guys, please. It was another strong set from the California three piece though, tight, punchy and hair-raising, with chants of “333…333” going right back up the hill.

SLAYER (8) was another band with a large crowd but that was to be expected, since it’s their last ever UK show and therefore a pretty legendary moment. The Slayheads were out in full force as the band smashed out all their hits. The set attracted people of all ages, even a young kid on his dad’s shoulders in a full on metalhead patch vest, everyone eager to catch a glimpse of this historical performance.

WORDS: JO COSGROVE

DAY ONE

The very beginning of Friday, the first official day of Download, was brought in by many attendees spending their nighttime hours in the Doghouse, rocking out in the loudest and messiest way one has ever seen. The VOODOO LONDON (8) club night was a freeing and mind-numbing experience for all in attendance at the Doghouse Tent in ‘The Village’ – and judging by the state of most people after the DJ decided to spin Slipknot’s ‘Duality’, it was a night to remember.

Bringing in a classic sound isn’t always the easiest task with a newer, younger audience – but there is a formula used by VEGA (7.5) that makes it sound exciting and interesting all over again. After ten long years together, they managed to prove that they had what it took to take over a stage and capture an audience’s attention from start to finish.

Proof that the past should never remain in the past, the main stage brought on ageless axe wielder SLASH alongside MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS (8), and there is nothing new that can truly be said about the act. Just one legend in music giving the crowd exactly what they wanted: ear-bleeding guitar solos and a larger-than-life stage presence.

Coming to close Friday night in the right way, DEF LEPPARD (9) brought together the entire crowd and strengthened bonds between everyone in attendance. Whether it was a dad taking his kid to see a piece of pure history, or a group of old fans rocking out how they had once upon a time, or even some young friends making brand new memories, it was clear to see everyone was brought together for just a moment and it was a unity everyone is sure to remember.

DAY TWO

Showing that love and emotion plays one of the biggest part of a death metal band’s journey, BEHEMOTH (8) took their opportunity to bring their famously apocalyptic aesthetic to the main stage. Breaking their set of hit after hit with declarations of love and support towards the crowd, they win with heavy hypnotic beats and riffs but obliterate the competition with bringing out their genuine characters from behind the face paint and pyrotechnics.

Commanding the main stage how it should be, TRIVIUM (7) went on to show they are worth their weight in captivating riffs, and work it well with the simplicity of their stage presence. Fans were cheering, people stopped to watch and listen and take it all in – at that moment, everyone was a fan.

Making their festival debut this year, SIMPLE CREATURES (8) brought the music, brought the laughs, and brought an all-round sense of ease and happiness. From a surprise cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’, to partying with a group of unicorn-headed gentlemen during the performance of a brand new song, there were good times throughout – and genuine as hell.

The moment everyone had been waiting for: Download legends SLIPKNOT (10) stormed the stage and as one would expect, they did not disappoint one single bit. Playing fan favourites and hits including ‘Duality’, ‘Before I Forget’ and ‘The Devil In I’, every moment was intense, suspenseful, and somehow also emotional and touching. Long live Slipknot.

DAY THREE

Sunday fun day, as they usually say, and for the people in attendance on behalf of their respective publications, this could not have been more true than when four strong, overly masculine vikings in peculiar outfits stormed into the Press Tent, banging their instruments, chanting and howling, demanding attention. These weren’t some partygoers randomly breaking into the press tent; this was instead the beginning of the ever so entertaining AMON AMARTH PRESS CONFERENCE (7) where the band (the vikings in question) were having a laugh, the journalists were giggling along, and the announcement of the band’s next UK tour was exactly what everyone needed to prepare for a tough and tiring Sunday.

Controversial, unconventional, yet everyone’s new favourite band PALAYE ROYALE (8) took over the Avalanche stage in a manner so weird yet so entertaining. Head-banging, moshing, parkour, and so much more goes into a Palaye Royale set; and it seems everyone is here for it.

Warming the crowd up at the main stage before the headline act is important, and was done in quite unique style by SMASHING PUMPKINS (8). Giving a mix of the mad, the magical, and the outstandingly weird, it’s always the snuck-in emotion that will bring in the numbers to prepare for what’s to follow.

Third time’s the charm, and this became the reality when the main stage was preparing to close Sunday night – and Download altogether – with the heavily audible yet aesthetically pleasing visual stylings of the one-of-a-kind outfit TOOL (7). Known for their visual accompaniments just as much as their musical catalogue over the years, they managed to give a fun trip of the mind in the background as they played song after song, hit after hit, and it gave a new artistic perspective for the crowd to take in and think through as the festival winds down and everyone has to go back to face reality.

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