As the dust is kicked up around us, a very loud ‘Oi Oi’ is yelled from a passing van. The grunge outfit, better known as AllUsOnDrugs are beaming from ear to ear as they step out onto the legendary Donnington Race course. But it’s not the classic sports cars that’s been bringing us back to this holy rock n roll grail each year. No, it’s the world’s greatest metal festival!
Miles away from their homeland Canadian soil, COUNTERPARTS (4) make sure that they can be heard from across the festival site. Their brash sense of hardcore has us stomping the ground beneath our feet, an almost standard wake up call for the mass gathering of metalheads crammed into this tent. KROKODIL (5) however take it to a whole new level. Violently thrashing away the crowd in front of them, it’s not long until the first real pit of the weekend starts, swallowing the rows of the people trying to escape it. FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (6) really are going in for the kill today. Playing not just on the one, but two stages this weekend, no challenge seems to be too daunting for the blood thirsty boys. Whilst we seem to be lacking a big stage production,
the theatrical sounds of Lawrence Beveridge and co on today’s second stage seems to be just as colourful, lively, and even at times hilarious. The piano meets scuzzy guitars of new track, ‘Brain Dead’, really does bring the band to life, and we’re half tempted to watch them again later today had our schedule not been so hectic. BEARTOOTH (9) are a band that have been climbing (literally) through the ranks of the metalcore scene, and as Caleb Shomo ignites a tidal wave of energetic outbursts during ‘Beaten In Lips’, it really is a moment where everyone’s fists seems to be in the air. During an almost euphoric moment of rock unity, guitarist Kamron Bradbury stands on top of the crowd, a representation between the strength and bond between fans and band. As the masses of sweaty, blonde and more than soaked hair and purple velvet jackets dance across the smaller stage , a site that can only be described as being in an early 90’s Soundgarden music video. ALLUSONDRUGS (6) are one of the most unique bands of the weekend, and it’s not just the Kurt Cobain-esque fashion sense that has us completely dazed like we were shooting up with Courtney Love. ‘Am I Weird’ boasts of colourful yet grungey outbursts, and despite throwing up on himself mid performance, vocalist Jason Moules is transformed into more than just another vocalist. Yes this band is weird. Very VERY weird. It’s that time of year where again where the hardened and huge rock anthems need to be
poured back into Donnington, and FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH (8) are here to do just that. Not only do we found ourselves air guitaring and pulling off some gnarly impressions during the likes of the powerful, ‘Bad Company’. Although we’re being hit with hit after hit, what happens next really takes FFDP’s set to the next level. Ivan
Moody is still up there when it comes to being a humble, yet bloody awesome and rebellious front man, and as he invites the audience to bring their kids, or as he calls it, ‘the next generation of heavy metal’ onto the stage, under the game of ‘Ivan Says’, these young metal heads are throwing the horns and banging their heads like their young lives depend on it. And who said metal wasn’t family friendly? It’s already been an interesting year for the Surrey lads, but THE ONE HUNDRED (3) seemed to have prepared for the almighty Download one festival appearance at a time. As the annual rain decides to turn up and force even more people into the overcrowded tent, the almost Kanye West level of confidence that is spewing out of front man Jacob Field shows that he well and truly has it under control, well at least the first three rows of people. A band who have seen their fan base grow by staggering numbers over the last year, it seems like their relentless touring and show playing has done them more than good. Whilst it is only the less grime inspired tracks such as ‘Downfall’ and ‘Kings men’, that show off the band’s ability to bring something new to the table, their peculiar mixture of genres does have the best of the metal heads confused. The band however by the end of their short but sweet set really do
demonstrate that these guys may only be small, but their stage presence really is something else. Dench. It’s been a very overdue appearance from the lads in YOUNG GUNS (4) who decided to
take their sweet time to appear at any UK festivals again. But now as their back in their homeland, and with the latest release of Ones & Zeroes only being a few weeks old, today’s set is
proof that you don’t realise what you have until it’s gone…for both band and fans alike. Whilst it’s the eerie ‘Bones’ that really has our spines tingling, newer tracks such as ‘Rising Up’, that gives this band an incredible amount of substance backed by an electric back bone.
It’s finally time to go from the 555 bands to the almighty kings of the 666. As the rain turns into a crushing storm above us, it seems like a suitable return as the king’s of metal return to their dark throne. As SLIPKNOT (8) declare war on Download with a heavy artillery of pyro, an over sized ram’s skull, and a ton of pit opening, and terrifying barrage of riffs, it’s safe to say there is nowhere to hide. The crowd surges forward as percussionist Shawn Craham and Chris Fehn are thrust over the stage in rotating metallic kits, a combined force with the god like presence of Corey Taylor during the Heretic Anthem has the maggots pulsing in the palm of their hands. Whilst tonight’s show barely ventures far from their recent arena tour, newer material ‘Devil In I’ reaches a horrific level of intense, in fact it’s so intense that the guy next to us rips his shirt off in a demonic manner. Calm down mate. Their even heavier rendition of ‘Spit It Out’ brings Download to it’s knees, and as we throw ourselves through the mud and rain as if we’re being possessed by the red smoke rolling off the main stage. the encore of ‘People = Shit’ deserves to be rewritten as ‘Slipknot = The Masters Of Download’, and as we’re left shaking right through to the bone, we’re not sure whether it’s the rain that is now in full on flood mode, or the traumatic yet awesome nightmare that has just enfolded in front of us. Let’s hope Muse can match this tomorrow night.