Here GRTR!’s Dillon Grant casts his expert eyes and ears over seven of the ‘must see’ bands at this year’s Download Festival. You can read the full article here including some who just missed the cut.
Named after a character from Michael Ende’s “The Neverending Story”, California’s metalcore outfit last appeared at Download in 2010. They reformed on the 1st of July 2014 after a three year hiatus and released their latest album “Long Live” on the 18th of September 2015 which peaked at 26 on the Billboard 200.
The band will no doubt play new material from their new album at Download with the hits including “Do You Know Who you are?” and “Start to Break” along with their older and proven hits “Ex’s and Oh’s” and “Blow”, onstage on the Saturday.
Recommended song: Ex’s and Oh’s https://youtu.be/Q-lGmSVexdw
Sweden’s Ghost may surprise you if you haven’t already seen them, last appearing at the festival in 2013. Their ‘heavy metal’ tagline is more reminiscent of older school metal with hints of influence from Black Sabbath, who also appear at the festival headlining Sunday.
Ghost also take to the stage on Sunday and will no doubt leave an impression on the crowd. With their look it would be hard to forget them, Papa Emeritus III, the bands vocalist and leader dressed as an Anti-Pope like figure accompanied by five ‘Nameless Ghouls’ who are dressed in black robes with a silver mask covering their faces.
This band is completely involved in the anonymity of its members. Although it was revealed the Foo Fighter’s front man Dave Grohl once took to the drum kit for a gig with the band. Ghost are another band who are returning to Download with a new album, “Meliora” in August 2015.
Recommended song: From The Pinnacle To The Pit https://youtu.be/7V7gcmVMPIw
Another band making the journey from the USA is Colorado’s Havok who will be making their first appearance at the festival since their formation in 2004. Recently announced to be opening for Megadeth, also appearing on Saturday, on their USA portion of the “Dystopia” tour. A band that exudes the qualities of an old school thrash band can be rare these days but Havok blend both the old school riffs with a heavier strain of older thrash vocals blending both old school thrash with newer strains of metal.
A band which sadly in the past have endured harder times with the passing of their founding guitarist Shawn Chavez (Left 2010) died in May 2015 and had struggled to fully breakthrough into the global metal scene.
However their booking for Download may signal a break for the band who recently announced that a new album would be ready for release in early 2016. So that means more new material for Download, this time from a band brand new to Download. A band I cannot recommend highly enough that you do not miss on the Friday.
Recommended song: From The Cradle To The Grave https://youtu.be/YdGSrhu8yEs
4. Neck Deep
A lot has been said in the last few years about Welsh band Neck Deep, forming in 2013 they have gained a large following quickly. Admittedly influenced by A Day To Remember, the pop punk band have been an instant success with many people, winning Kerrang!’s Best British Newcomer (2014). This will also be the bands first appearance at the festival having played Reading & Leeds in 2015.
Being a widely popular band and having it be their first performance at Download I feel not many people will miss Neck Deep, with good reason of course! This band have a very personal connection with their audience, something attributed to the nature of their songs. They take to the stage on Saturday the 11th of June.
Recommended song: Crushing Grief https://youtu.be/eWimDmEmVmg
Taking their name from the original Japanese pronunciation of Godzilla, Gojira have risen from almost total obscurity to global recognition and through releases such as “L’Enfant Sauvage” and “The Way of All Flesh” it is clear to see why, the step up the band have taken with each new album has been massive and it is paying off for them. 2016 gives the band a chance to take a further step with their first appearance at Donington.
The French band bring to Download a blend of progressive metal and heavy metal with lyrics typically focused around environmental concepts. It should be interesting to see how highly the band are placed on Sunday’s line up.
However early it is to speculate you have to think how nice it would be having them headline a tent, something that would inspire complete chaos. Along with providing a cover from the rain (because every year without fail, it will rain. Just look at Download 2015)
Recommended song: Toxic Garbage Island https://www.youtube.comwatch?v=nwRCqU_Gkj0
2. The Amity Affliction
Returning to Download is Queensland, Australians – The Amity Affliction last appeared at the festival in 2014 playing the Pepsi Max stage (third). After two years the band have grew massively in size, headlining the 2015 Impericon Never Say Die! Tour. The metalcore band are known for their lyrical content of help for those suffering from depression and thoughts of suicide also like other bands mentioned hold a strong connection to their fans.
The band recently issued their new song “Shine On” for release without any build up. This surprise release could likely spell new material, possibly a new album in time for DL 16′. This band, I cannot recommend highly enough and would’ve taken the number one spot had it not been for an absolute miracle! The video in the recommended song will give you an insight into just how good this band can be and why you cannot miss them
Recommended song: Death’s Hand https://youtu.be/t5MhwqwYpVA
1. Breaking Benjamin
Who knows how he did it but Andy Copping pulled through and delivered us Breaking Benjamin. Not one person had guessed that they would make it because of the same issue. Benjamin Burney, lead vocalist’s severe fear of flying. This has limited their number of abroad appearances since their formation. This is what makes it such an occasion, this does not happen often and may be the last chance you get to see this band.
Almost guaranteed to play their classics such as “The Diary of Jane” and “Breath” the band are also likely to include such songs as “Breaking The Silence” and “Failure” from their newly released album “Dark Before Dawn”. This band is top of the must see list due to their catchy hard rock style, crunchy guitar and all round amazing crowd atmosphere.
Recommended song: The Diary of Jane
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
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