From Ghost to Halestorm, and from Architects to Bullet For My Valentine, we present you with the ten acts that are ready to headline Download Festival.
The organisers of Europe’s biggest rock and metal festival, Download, have earned a reputation for booking seemingly impossible bands in the past. After bringing Guns n Roses back from the dead, getting the ominous and elusive Tool to headline on two separate occasions and catching Dillinger Escape Plan on their farewell tour, Download has built a solid reputation in its near 20 year lifespan. But, the organisers are finding themselves under mounting pressure with every passing year due to a seeming rinse and repeat attitude towards the main headliners.
Download Festival - Photo credit, Myung Jung Kim, PA Images.
Download Festival is now a global franchise which has extended its influence to France, Spain, Australia and several other nations, but the sacred ground of Donnington remains its spiritual home. Given the setting and size of this event, Download should have the power to attract almost any rock band in the world. Yet, they repeatedly fall back on the same old bands such as Kiss, System of a Down, Slipknot, Rammstein, Def Leppard, Ozzy Osborne and Iron maiden to fill their headliner slots, while simultaneously blocking newer acts from proving to the world that rock isn’t dead.
Continue reading: Download Festival: 10 Bands That Are Ready To Headline
By now, three albums in, everybody has seen Ghost. They've stuck impressively steadfastly to their ghoulish iconography, never once breaking character. But of the people who have seen Ghost, how many could say they've heard them, or could name a song? As with all bands with a penchant for dressing up (see Kiss, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Alice Cooper), there are always questions as to whether there is any substance behind the gimmick, and so it is with Ghost.
As well as being notably well disguised, Ghost are also mighty clever. 'Meliora' is Latin, and it translates to 'the search for something better'. On this LP, Ghost set themselves apart from anyone else who has come before and demonstrate that they do in fact have the tunes to go with the image. The album kicks off with a creepy theremin and mellotron introduction to 'Spirit', which gives way to a big, tense grinding rock opener. Finally, the song takes off with clean, soaring vocals, not unlike those of Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt. The instrumentation is fantastic as well, with layers of choral backing vocals sitting on top of a bedrock which is more influenced by Deep Purple than Black Sabbath. The instrumental section features some really interesting interplay between guitars and theremins.
Next up is the swampy, groovy 'From the Pinnacle to the Pit', which is a magnificent highpoint of the LP. The intro is a thick, distorted and dirty bass line which underpins a song that sounds a little like 'Sweet Emotion' by Aerosmith, but rewritten for goths. It is almost danceable, and about as direct and to the point as Ghost ever get. After this, the album takes in a number of flavours, like the folk tinged 'He Is', the thrash metal inspired (and brilliantly titled) 'Mummy Dust', and the pounding 'Majesty'.
Continue reading: Ghost - Meliora Album Review