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Download Festival 2013: Day 3 Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 25th June 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

The brow of a Viking longboat protruded ominously from the Zippo Encore Stage as Amon Amarth summoned their otherworldly brand of Norse-themed metal to that sullied pasture on day 3 of Download Festival 2013. Drummer Nico Mehra held fort underneath the ship’s sail (with cymbals spilling over port and starboard), whilst his fellow barbarians lined up along the front in headbanging unison. The opening track – ‘War of the Gods’, from their 2011 album ‘Surtur Rising’ – was a merciless display of melodic death metal with .50 calibre double bass line and a soaring solo. Save vocalist Johan Hegg’s guttural growl, ‘The Pursuit of Vikings’ had a pace and riff focus similar to that of some Megadeth tracks, whilst ‘Deceiver of the Gods’ was one continuous crescendo from the Swedish quintet. The relentless ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’ turned out to be their final track, with the set cut short as a result of technical difficulties earlier in the day, sealing the gate to a portal the crowd were willingly throwing themselves into.

Metalcore five-piece Vision of Disorder shun the traditional trappings of spikes and leather as they take to the Pepsi Max Stage and, not for the first time, it’s sound system delivers a level above that of the Main or Zippo Encore stages. Unlike their studio recordings, loud seems to be the sole dynamic, but this only serves to feed the sense of release as the pit claims more victims. The chorus to the hook laden ‘Set to Fail’ was returned with fervour by the crowd, followed up by the likes of ‘What You Are’ and the pummelling marching beat of ‘Blood Red Sun’.

Red Fang might just snatch the award for the most underrated band of the festival, in terms of their spot in the line up at least. Frequently given as a second or third answer as a band fellow Downloaders wanted to see, the Oregonian four piece’s own brand of stoner metal had already received an unexpected recommendation from Motörhead’s own Lemmy Kilmister the day before. It took a while for most of the crowd to realise the people on stage were not, in fact, roadies, but they eventually slammed into their massive opener ‘Malverde’, which had echoes of Tool’s 2006 album ‘10,000 Days’ in its staccato verses. ‘Wires’ has a relentless, almost Queens of the Stone Age edge, with a killer key change on the chorus and mesmeric finale. It was followed up by ‘Into the Eye’, from their latest album ‘Murder the Mountains’, and ‘Sharks’ from their debut Sargent House EPs. Their final track, ‘Prehistoric Dog’, is arguably the biggest to date, and fans got involved the only way they know how; by smashing into each other in homemade beer can armour.

It’s safe to say that with Airbourne – musically at least – you know what you’re going to get. At Sonisphere 2011 lead vocalist and guitarist Joel O’Keeffe scaled the scaffolding of the second stage (20 metres or more), kicking their set to new heights, literally. They seem to keep a keener eye on the talent at Download, unfortunately, but the pace of the Aussies AC/DC-esque hard rock was just what the doctor ordered for a weary crowd. They rattled through staples ‘Ready to Rock, ‘Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women’, ‘Black Dog Barking’ and ‘Wave the Flag’ before ‘Live it Up’ had the fists pumping and the crowd warming their vocal chords. And, just in time. Next up was the infectious ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’, the most successful track off their 2007 album ‘Runnin’ Wild’. The eponymous single from this album capped off the set, sliding neatly into a rendition of the riff from Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’.

So many questions need to be asked about the involvement of 30 Seconds to Mars on the Main Stage at this point in the festival. Surely, this was Limp Bizkit’s slot; another band that had success in the early Noughties, and would have drawn the same crowd. Instead two almighty waves of people had to navigate through the detritus and up the hill to escape Jared Leto’s turgid peacocking. Having secretly camped among us plebs at the festival last year, you can tell he’s picked up some tips from Metallica and Slipknot (probably from 2 nights previous) on how to put on a decent stage show. Unfortunately, the personal spin he put on it resulted in nothing more than a flood of brightly coloured yoga balls being dropped onto a heavily spiked crowd, and a nonplussed reaction to attempts to get everyone down on their knees. They played the usual fluff, including: ‘Birth’, ‘This is War’, ‘Conquistador’ and ‘Vox Populi’, before the MTV2 Award-winning ‘The Kill (Bury Me)’. Leto doubled the precipitation count for the weekend by inviting a group of blubbing fans on stage for their final track ‘Up in the Air’, so someone appreciated them at least.

Limp Bizkit had the Zippo Encore Stage full to bursting as fans clamoured to catch a glimpse of singer Fred Durst and his new Gandalf look. And, with a set comprised largely of tracks from their 2000 breakout album ‘Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water’ – named ‘Worst Album of the Year’ by Entertainment Weekly whilst simultaneously becoming the fastest selling rock album ever – they could almost let the crowd tackle this one alone. Opening with live favourite ‘Thieves’, by second track ‘Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)’ it was evident that these nu metal forerunners had matured, combining gut-shuddering bass with a willingness to experiment. Of course, “all the people in the house” did “put their hands in the air”, and by their third offering, ‘Nookie’, everything from bottles to bog rolls was being lobbed skyward.

A huge swathe of the crowd broke away like a tectonic plate at this stage as headliners Rammstein (pictured at top) were set to take to the Main Stage. The rest of Limp Bizkit’s set was peppered with classics, from ‘My Generation’, ‘Livin’ it Up’ and ‘Full Nelson’, to ‘Take a Look Around’, ‘My Way’ and ‘Break Stuff’. There was even time to squeeze in a couple of covers; the predictable spin on George Michae;’s ‘Faith’ and a rapturous version of Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’.

Somehow Rammstein managed to remain something of an unknown quantity until taking to the stage as the curtain closers of Download 2013. Their live antics are so legendary that it’s tough to separate the fact from the fiction. What transpired was an avante-garde opera; a jaw-dropping amalgam of industrial machinery, art school sexuality, Dante’s ‘Inferno’ and ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. Vocalist Till Lindemann descended from the rafters on a spark sprinkling platform to their opening track ‘Ich tu dir weh’ (‘I Hunt You’), clad in a fluffy pink coat over his grimy overalls and folding himself into a ‘Silence of the Lambs’ stlye mangina (not the first that’s been witnessed this weekend). Next, ‘Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?’ had 90,000 pumping their fists in marching rhythm to chants of ‘Rammstein’, and allowed them their first opportunity to indulge their passion for pyrotechnics. ‘Keine Lust’ saw sparks flying from the lead singers hands before the sinisterly vulnerable cries of “mir ist kalt” at the song’s climax. After, Lindemann and guitarists Richard Z. Kruspe and Paul H. Lambers all donned flame spitting masks and lit things up for the bombastic ‘Feuer frei!’.

Keyboardist Christian ‘Flake’ Lorenz took his first beating of the night as he was wheeled out in an oversized cooking pot for ‘Mein Teil’, before being roasted with blasts from increasingly larger flamethrowers. The sadomasochistic Lindemann bathed unprotected under a shower of sparks for ‘Ohne Dich’, before chasing a (fake) rogue crowd member across stage with a flamethrower during ‘Benzin’, like some sort of cabaret golem. The set proper finished with a potent run of ‘Links 2-3-4’, ‘Du Hast’ and the rousing ‘Ich Will’. After a solo off with guitar mounted flamethrowers, their infamous live track ‘Bück dich’ saw Lorenz in a gimp outfit and chaps being buggered by Lindemann on a 20-foot riser, with the latter foaming everyone on the front rows with his prosthetic appendage. After the crowd had cooled off, they returned for an encore with a heartfelt piano-only rendition of the epic ‘Mein Herz brennt’ and the melodic ‘Sonne’, but Lindemann couldn’t resist pulling out an even bigger foaming appendage to violate the crowd during their final track ‘Pussy’. Even so, this audience had not been screwed.

So, as the piano rang out on an instrumental rendition of ‘Ohne Dich’, the writhing masses were left to reflect on a festival that promised so much, but delivered even more. No UK festival can match the passion and honest release witnessed every year on Donington’s hallowed fields. And, despite all the hype over next year’s potential headliners, for many, next June can’t come soon enough.

 

Download Festival 2013: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 24th June 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Nekrogoblikon almost felt like light relief after Slipknot the night before during day 1 of Download Festival 2013. Not that they were mellow, far from it; the ‘folk’ aspect of their ‘folk metal’ tag manifested itself only through an untamed baroque synth line and the orc-like vocals of the one-and-only John Goblikon. A hideous green mask perched between hunched shoulders and mangled hands; he shuffled from wing to wing in gothic splendour, warming the souls of the drenched masses lining the perimeter of the Pepsi Max Stage.

Back on the Main Stage, Mastodon unleashed their gargantuan sound on the waiting masses. A stalwart of the metal festival scene, Mastodon have become a new beast since the release of their latest album, ‘The Hunter’, in 2011. Launching into the primeval ‘Black Tongue’, it became apparent that this was a set more for appreciation than involvement. Lashings of rain compounded the situation, beating down through the likes of ‘Oblivion’, ‘Stargasm’ and ‘Blasteroid’. A menacing chorus of “just close your eyes, and pretend that everything’s fine” rose from the crowd during ‘All the Heavy Lifting’, before the band exploded into ‘Curl of the Burl’ and the classic ‘Blood and Thunder’, from their 2004 album ‘Leviathan’.

Alice in Chains silenced a core of naysayers when they took to the stage at Download 2006, just a year after reforming with William DuVall stepping up to take the mic from the late Layne Staley. Now, in 2013, the Seattle grungers seem more at ease with themselves, with a catalogue of new material from their 2009 release ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’, and this year’s ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’. But, where else could they start, other than the bombastic ‘Them Bones’? As the last chords rang out, making way for the angst driven ‘Damn That River’, the arena was back in 1992 at the release of their seminal album ‘Dirt’. Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney’s metronomic rhythm section rolled on through ‘Hollow’, ‘Check My Brain’ and ‘Again’, before lulling into the melancholy majesty of ‘Down in a Hole’. A final foray into old favourites ‘Man in the Box’ and ‘Rooster’ gave a nod to the old faithful, and Alice In Chains left all comers happy, but the set was just too short to include the likes of tracks from their ‘MTV Unplugged’ album – a tactic that Chris Cornell pulled off so effortlessly with Soundgarden at Download 2012.

Surely Motörhead have planning permission pending on some kind of treehouse tavern in the woods behind Main Stage? How else could they be relied upon with such regularity to turn a sodden Leicestershire afternoon into a homage to early three-chord speed metal (and potentially an advert for the health benefits of Jack Daniel’s)? No discerning Downloader would be surprised to hear that the set list included the usual mainstays: ‘Metropolis’, ‘Over the Top’, ‘Rock It’, as well as the slurred verses of ‘Killed by Death’. ‘Ace of Spades’ could do no worse than bronze in most Best Metal Songs of All Time lists, and sent the crowd into a 2-minute frenzy. But, the most poignant and memorable part of the set was the introduction of founding member and ex-drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, who has given his body for the Motörhead slogan: “Everything louder than everything else”.

Josh Homme has something of the Midas touch when it comes to assembling musical ensembles, and the most recent incarnation of Queens of the Stone Age (pictured at top) has proved a satisfyingly complex prospect, despite mixed reactions to their latest album ‘… Like Clockwork’. With all five members framed by a screen that filled a little over half the stage, their set felt more compact – even intimate – than anything that had come before. ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’, a lyrical list of narcotics set to a pugnacious bassline, worked as an opener because it summed up in seven words the ethos behind the old QOTSA, and most likely matched the requirements given to the runner as soon as Homme’s tour bus arrived – such was his amusement at a man-sized Super Mario in the crowd. ‘You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire’ was the first link in a chain of tracks from the 2002 album ‘Songs for the Deaf’ that tied their set together. ‘First it Giveth’, ‘No One Knows’, ‘Hangin’ Tree’, ‘Go With the Flow’ and ‘A Song for the Dead’ were all delivered clinically with Homme’s trademark sneer, but without Nick Oliveri swinging a bass round his head in his birthday suit, it lacked an element of the danger of old. The band’s new visuals added a distinctive dimension that is likely to become a stock feature of future shows, enabling them to enact their visceral sound through hypnotic patterns and bloodied avatars.

Almost all Iron Maiden fans born after 1978 harbour an unspoken desire to re-live the epic journey that was their ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’ world tour, and what better time than on the 25th anniversary of their Monsters of Rock stop off? Vocalist Bruce Dickinson’s passion for the aeronautical was indulged before a chord had even been sounded, when a Hawker Hurricane roared over Main Stage, leaving fans to gawp in awe as the plane made its second and third flypast. Maiden kicked off with the debut from their acclaimed 1988 album, ‘Moonchild’, to a rapturous response, before ‘Can I Play with Madness’, ‘Two Minutes to Midnight’ and ‘Afraid to Shoot Strangers’ kept the set on its rocketing trajectory. Dickinson played the conductor in a heavy metal orchestra, emerging for ‘The Trooper’ in Redcoat garb and waving a massive Union Jack.

A Pan-like devil emerged for ‘The Number of the Beast’, and ‘Phantom of the Opera’ lived up to its theatrical roots. ‘Run to the Hills’, ‘Wasted Years’ and the ominous ‘Fear of the Dark’ tested the crowd’s vocal chords to the extreme, before their eponymous track sounded time for an encore. Continuing the military theme, Winston Churchill’s famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech gave way to ‘Aces High’, and on to a tempestuous rendition of ‘The Evil That Men Do’. Maiden had the crowd from the flypast, potentially even from the credit card confirmation on Ticketmaster, and as they dissipated to the tune of Eric Idle’s ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’, it was clear that the gods of metal have gifted Maiden with immortality.

 

Download Festival 2013: Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Friday, 21st June 2013 at 2:15 pm
 

Download Festival 2013 has already been hailed as a behemoth of the recent festival age. In Iron Maiden, Andy Copping chose a headliner to both win the hearts of the Monsters of Rock festival faithful, and show the next generation the damage a well placed gallop rhythm can do. In Slipknot and Rammstein, he found two bands on the cusp of welding themselves into metal folklore; cocking the Download line-up like a double-barrelled shotgun. Beyond the headliners, Download promised everything from Viking metal to gypsy punk, with a gilded seem of truck rock to drive 90,000 people through what threatened to be the wettest of summer weekends.

And, that’s how it took off on Day 1. At the Zippo Encore Stage Monster Truck were relentless; vocalist Jon Harvey beat on his bass like a hydraulic jackhammer, and the Hammond organ of Brandon Bliss ground out a vintage climax in all the right places. Afterwards, Dir En Grey offered a scene of atonal Asian horror that was perhaps a little too gothic for the good time vibes of the first morning.

Uriah Heep and Europe were Friday’s elderly statesmen, the living embodiment of proto-metal and glam rock, respectively. The Heep, as they were being affectionately alluded to around the crowd, took the Zippo Encore Stage through soaring crescendos and thundering hooves, to their own stately pleasure dome of progressive head-banging metal. Classics ‘Overload’, ‘Stealin’’, ‘Gypsy’ and, of course, ‘Easy Livin’’ sounded just as crisp as they would have done at MOR 1982. Later on in the afternoon, Europe joyfully rattled off ‘Scream of Anger’ and ‘Rock the Night’ before the inevitable ‘Final Countdown’. Singer Joey Tempest proudly proclaimed, “we made it! Just five ordinary guys from the outskirts of Stockholm”, and the crowd lapped up the last track like a £4.50 beer. However, Europe still appear blighted by the possession of a keyboard riff more famous than they are.

A somewhat wild-card entry, The Sword took a glazed-eyed Pepsi Max Stage crowd on a sojourn into ‘60s psychedelia via ‘90s groove metal. The drawl of lead vocalist John D. Cronise was fattened by a bass level that sounded like the HMS Subwoofer leaving port, leaving onlookers clutching their reverberating ribcages to try and stop their internal organs turning to mulch. ‘How Heavy the Axe’ – the bands biggest single to date – took on an entirely new dimension in a live setting, whilst the reaction to tracks off their latest album, ‘Apocryphon’, suggests this desert rock four-piece will remain a cult favourite for the foreseeable.

As if to make up for the dour Dir En Grey, self-proclaimed gypsy punks Gogol Bordello lifted the mood back at the Zippo Encore Stage, providing an island of carnival spirit in the sea of mosh. But, just because a metalhead is suddenly confronted by syncopation, it doesn’t mean he knows how to dance. Half the entertainment in this hour came from watching the uncoordinated masses (of which I undoubtedly count myself one) pull out their best Cossack manoeuvres, occasionally switching to a do-si-do with their beer-free arm. Politicised numbers, such as ‘Ultimate’, ‘Break the Spell’ and the frantic ‘Not a Crime’, melded seamlessly with the likes of an extended ‘Start Wearing Purple’; a more eccentric number which, although infectious, missed some of the theatrics of their performance at Leeds Festival 2007.

For Download’s majority demographic, the 18 to 30s, nu-metallers Korn and Slipknot would arguably be the most relevant acts to play on Friday. Korn – with their low-fi dynamics, metal scatting and wandering slap-bass – have a somewhat chequered history with this festival. In 2006, just a day before they were set to take on the Main Stage, an announcement came over the Download tannoy that singer Jonathan Davis had been hospitalised with a serious blood ailment. The crowd were stunned, but the remainder of Korn played on, with other vocalists, such as Corey Taylor, Benji Webbe and Dez Fafara, all pitching in. Despite a successful performance in 2011, this still felt like unfinished business for many.

Fieldy’s bass wove a subsonic tapestry through old favourites ‘Blind’, ‘Falling Away From Me’ and ‘Got the Life’, but the baying masses seemed split over some of their recent dubstep-flavour offerings, such as ‘Get Up’, and ‘Narcissistic Cannibal’. The bombastic ‘Here to Stay’ provided total unification; the crowd left fissured and spiralling from the pressure of such a nu-metal standard. By the time they smashed into final track ‘Freak on a Leash’, the arena was eating from their hands.

Slipknot (pictured at top), a band that have matured into metal statesmen over the past 5 years, left the 90,000 jiving to Billie Joe Spears’ classic ‘Get Behind Me Satan and Push’ before exploding in a wall of pyro into opening track ‘Disasterpiece’, from their debut album ‘Iowa’. By the third track, ‘Wait and Bleed’, the Slipknot loyalists had begun dismantling the arena, and each other, piece by piece. ‘Before I Forget’ had to be postponed whilst Corey Taylor pleaded for calm as security repaired the barriers, but this only served to stoke the fires at this sadistic circus. Five tracks later ‘Left Behind’ had to be halted after another testosterone release, and Taylor again took to the mic to ask everyone to take a step back. Needless to say, he’s one of the few in the live music industry who commands such absolute obedience.

One subject that, understandably, is never far from the collective Slipknot consciousness is the pain caused by the tragic death of former bassist Paul Gray. This year the band struck a different tone to that of Sonisphere 2011, with Taylor promising a future for the band and declaring, “we have kept going for us. We have kept going for him. We have kept going for you”. “I push my fingers into my…” was all the crowd needed to hear to raise a toast to Paul with ‘Duality’. ‘Psychosocial’, a mainstay of site sound systems all weekend, was massive, as was the sight of the entire Main Stage crowd down on their knees to ‘Spit it Out’. Their performance – bursting with passion, energy, sex and anger – was topped off by the epic ‘People = Shit’, and percussive ‘Surfacing’.

So, with blistered feet and bleary eyes the crowd shuffled away from the arena in fervent anticipation of Day 2.

 

Album Review: Life in Film – Needles and Pins EP

 
By on Tuesday, 28th August 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Last week saw the release of Life in Film‘s ‘Needles and Pins’ EP. My first real introduction to the band was ‘The Idiot’, with its promo video coming out in spring 2011, which led to this Bands to Watch written about them that autumn. At first, I thought it was pretty strange that ‘The Idiot’ was included on this debut. Perhaps, as seems to be the case with most thoughtful musicians, they want to distance themselves from an earlier, less accomplished (live performance or not) version of themselves?

Closer examination of the tracklisting for this EP reveals that my hypothesis is full of holes. Second track ‘Suitcase’ was previously made available for free from the band, and third track ‘Carla’ was recorded in a Watch Listen Tell session in 2009. This seems to suggest both of these songs have been played live in front of fans, both old and possibly new ones, for quite a while now. Maybe the most important point is the fact that Stephen Street, most famous for producing Blur and the Smiths back in the day, presided over the recording of this EP, which I think is equivalent to saying that recording-wise, it doesn’t get much better than this.

But for the sake of this review, let’s say you haven’t heard any of these songs, except perhaps the lead track ‘Needles and Pins’, because I posted the promo video for it last week when it was hot off the band’s Twitter. When you are a music reviewer, you’re often asked to compare a new band to a existing one, either for feel, general sound and the like. While ‘The Idiot’ made me think of the Smiths, ‘Needles and Pins’ makes me think of Sheffield’s Crookes. It certainly makes me feel as good as ‘Backstreet Lovers’, the most famous Crookes single.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glDZ0bVkokc[/youtube]

Technically, I think the case can be made easily for the comparison between the two songs: both possess an infectious lyric, incredibly melodic guitar line and upbeat drums (being played by a chap in a plaid shirt who looks like he’s having the time of his life in the video below). Lyrically, I’m a big fan of ‘Needles and Pins’ too: immense regret is on show in the chorus, but with a memorable melody framed by memorable lyrics (“I had a dream about another storyline fading away / although I know you’ve gone, I hope I will still see you one day / ’cause it’s hard enough to take all of the things that break people in two / I remember goodbye, it’s not something I thought about saying to you”).

The guitar mastery continues into ‘Suitcase’ and ‘Until It’s Over’. You may be wondering to yourself, is this Britpop redux? We presume singer Samuel Fry bears no relation to the famous Stephen, what one thing we can be sure of is this Fry’s voice having a beauty that I expected to happen to Chris Martin‘s, it it had the chance to ripen over the years (but which never happened). See ‘Carla’, which slows things down slightly with a violin and notes of a xylophone but the beautiful guitars are still there (thankfully). It’s quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs released this year. It’s clear Burberry are fans as well, filming the performance version of ‘Carla’ below that stars the band dressed in their designer togs; other past band models include TGTF favourites Patrick Wolf and Dog is Dead, so they’re in good company.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf74b9scHDQ[/youtube]

The EP closer ‘Lose Control’ is another tearjearker. It sounds simple yet it’s probably been years in the making. Which pretty much sums up this EP: even though they’re young, both in age and in relative band experience, Life in Film sounds far, far wiser than their years.

8/10

Life in Film’s debut EP ‘Needles and Pins’ is out now. You can listen to it below, and for a limited time, the title track is available for free download as well.

 

16 Things You Learn at Download Festival

 
By on Wednesday, 20th June 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Last weekend was the all-out metal mudfest known as Download Festival. A hundred thousand rock and rollers invaded the hallowed ground of Donington Park for 3 days of the best hard rock and metal bands in the world. TGTF was there in full waterproof regalia to throw horns and throw down with the masses, but what did we actually learn from this experience?

Mud sucks
On Wednesday it rained. On Thursday it rained even more. This meant come Friday afternoon when the gates for the arena were due to be open tens of thousands of cold and pissed off metallers were left queuing for hours because areas of the arena simply weren’t safe. This led to the cancellation of Rise to Remain and Cancer Bats from main stage.

Billy Talent are gents
In a true act of bromanship, Billy Talent helped out fellow Canadians Cancer Bats by letting them play ‘Hail Destroyer’ to a crowd who were still annoyed at the cancellation of the noisemongers. Luckily in the evening Cancer Bats were given a slot in one of the tents which apparently kicked major arse.

Machine Head rule the circle pits
Not only are Machine Head one of the best metal bands touring today, they managed to start a total of 29 circle pits at one point – which is a record for Download Festival.

The Prodigy are metal
Not in their sound, obviously, but the pits were still opening and the crowd going berserk for the almost 2-hour set. And what’s more metal than flares and smoke bombs going off in a mosh pit surrounded by 70,000 people?

A Game of Thrones is cool
As is the same every year, you can text in messages to the big screen for everyone to see. One of the most popular this year was “Winter is coming”, which (for those who don’t know) is the motto of the Stark family in A Game Of Thrones.

Skyrim is cool
Another favourite for the big screen was ‘I used to [insert random task here], until I took an arrow to the knee’. A parody of one of the stock lines used in conversation in Skyrim.

People still love 300
It’s a chant that’s been following festivals around for years. Someone shouts “Spartans! What is your profession?” and everyone in a 10 metre radius responds with “Aaaooh! Aaaooh! Aaaooh!” Clever, right?

People love wrestling
WWE, not actual Olympic-style wrestling. Chants of “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!…” were rife throughout camp sites and the arena in relation of WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan. Similarly the odd chants of “Let’s go Cena!” and “Cena sucks!” could be heard.

Saxon still rule
This is just a fact. It doesn’t matter how old they are or how long it’s been since they had any notable success, Saxon have been tearing it up for years and still drew a massive crowd at midday. Middle-aged men with long hair dressed in denim and leather is what Download is all about.

Everyone loves boobs
Another trait synonymous with Download is the ‘boobcam’. Whenever a girl climbs onto someone’s shoulders the crowd camera will pan to them and more often than not the girl will bear her breasts to the cheering of all men present. During Steel Panther the boob-o-meter was off the scale. Constant unveiling of chests throughout the entire 50-minute set until all the teenage boys were left dazed and confused. A lot of bands were formed that night because kids want to grow up to be Steel Panther.

Bands love balls
A tactic that both Metallica and Black Label Society adopted was to drop balls on the crowd emblazoned with the band name. Not the most metal thing over the weekend, but it did look cool.

Backwards is the new forwards
Metallica played their legendary Black Album in it’s entirety to close the Saturday of Download. But decided to play it backwards instead of the correct order, meaning fairweather fans had to endure the whole record before finally getting to ‘Enter Sandman’.

It’s not just metal fans
During the rock karaoke on Wednesday night there was a version of a Florence and the Machine song. Then that night a group of acoustic guitar-loving guys were singing Kings Of Leon. Not cool.

MegaDave is bigger than post-hardcore
One of the most exciting reunions in the past year has been the return of post-hardcore pioneers Refused. Unfortunately, despite the buzz around the reunion and their legions of fans, the clash with Megadeth meant they didn’t receive the crowd they deserved. Catch them on tour!

Some things never change
Along with the aforementioned ‘Spartans!’ chant, it’s ‘Buttscratcher!’ that is still the festival favourite. Heard shouted at random over the entire weekend, as well as being texted to the big screen, it’s outlasted previous spontaneous exclamations such as ‘Timmy!’ and ‘Loud noises!’ Hopefully there’ll be something new next year.

Black Sabbath are the best metal band ever
That’s all you need to know. They destroyed Donington on the final day to what could have been the biggest crowd of the weekend. Ozzy, Tony and Geezer still have it. A very metal and very emotional performance.

 

Preview: Download Festival 2012

 
By on Thursday, 1st March 2012 at 9:30 am
 

Now in its tenth year, Download Festival graces the hallowed soil of Donington Park for a three day extravaganza of the best in alternative music. From Friday the 8th to Sunday the 10th June 2012, more than 100 bands will play over three stages to thousands of metalheads, punks and rockers.

Headlining the Main Stage this summer are the dance-rock pioneers the Prodigy (pictured above), the thrash titans Metallica (performing The Black Album in its entirety), and the originators of heavy metal Black Sabbath. Download is the only show that Black Sabbath will be playing this year since it was revealed that guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with early stage lymphoma.

Supporting these living legends across the Main Stage are drum and bass enthusiasts Chase and Status, stadium rockers Biffy Clyro and grunge maestros Soundgarden. But it’s not just the headliners and support to come for, some of the biggest and hottest names in alternative music are heading to Donington for this amazing showcase. The likes of Machine Head, Tenacious D, Megadeth, Slash, NOFX, Billy Talent, Steel Panther, Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage, Black Label Society and more!

Weekend tickets with camping are priced at £200 for 5 nights, £190 for 3 nights and just £165 without camping. Day tickets and RIP packages can also be purchased from the official Web site. TGTF will be there this year so come and throw the horns with us as ‘War Pigs’ rings out on Sunday night to 80,000 screaming metallers. Bring it on.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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