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
Australian metalcore giants, Parkway Drive, have been quite the phenomenon the last decade or so. Since their inception in 2003 Parkway Drive have gone from strength to strength delivering milestones such as 2007's 'Horizons', 2010's 'Deep Blue' and most recently 2015's 'Ire'. Across these records Parkway Drive's sound has been defined by riffs that can be just as burley and ferocious as they can be melodic and slick, as well as hyper rhythms and beastly screeching vocals, which gives something almost any kind of metal fan can get into. They hit Leeds to play a sold out O2 Academy tonight, where they nearly ruin the place.
Stick To Your Guns kick off tonight with their straight-up, swinging hardcore. The speedy riffs and guttural vocals get people moshing from the very start, and along with Jesse Barnett's inspiring speeches about bettering the world in these scary times, they leave quite the impact and feel like more than just another hardcore band.
Next up is Asking Alexandria who are about as dividing as bands get. There are plenty of people who think this band are a joke for their processed, unimaginative breakdown after breakdown, with some hair-metal leanings, approach; but then there are many who are more than happy just to put their brain aside and have fun with their meathead sound. As for how they are tonight, they won't win over any naysayers, but they'll keep their own fans satisfied. There are pits from the off and as for them onstage, whilst they're not exactly pouring blood, sweat and tears into the show; there's nothing offensively bad about them, aside from some horrendous, awkward stage banter.
Continue reading: Parkway Drive - Leeds O2 Academy 10.04.2017 Live Review
David Straw picks out his top albums of 2015
10. Counterparts - Tragedy Will Find Us
Staunch defenders of their metalcore tag, Counterparts might have a bit of trouble keeping it, given that Tragedy Will Find Us is at its best when it feels like a pure hardcore record. Stillborn & Thread start the album with style, while the lilting guitar intro Burn bridges the gap between the single and Stranger perfectly.
Collapse is Tragedy.'s finest moment, though. Emotionally charged, it's the most 'metal' track on the album that builds to a fitting crescendo.
They sound excellent live, too. Joining Stick To Your Guns and Stray From The Path (we'll get to them later) for a UK tour in February, it'd be a sin to miss Counterparts, if this record is anything to go by.
9. Vision of Disorder - Razed to the Ground
Over the past couple of years, there's been a definite sense that metalcore is beginning to have run its course. Fortunately, all it needed was for one of the bands who crafted it in the first place to release an album to remind everyone just how good it can be.
That band is Vision of Disorder, and that album is Razed to the Ground.
Heart of Darkness and Red on the Walls are vintage VoD, white hot and delivered hard, while Electric Sky could be VoD covering Pantera covering Black Sabbath. Yeah, really.
Tim Williams' vocals are as strong as ever, and it's his lashings of Layne Staley-esque lines that lift the album even more.
Razed to the Ground is an album that'll pass so many by, while paler imitations shine brighter in the mainstream conscious, and for a record as good as this, that's a crying shame.
Continue reading: David Straw's Top 10 Albums Of 2015
A band can make a lot of changing style for a new record. It seems to be the hallmark of modern metal bands, to move in a different direction, and gamble on breaking into wider consciousness and pushing themselves to the next level.
Some of the 21st century's biggest heavy names - Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, even Bring Me The Horizon, have all compromised their sound somewhat in a bid to reach the top tier, with mixed results.
With 'Ire', Parkway Drive have made a similar gamble, rewriting the blueprints of modern metalcore, lacing it with traditional metal influences and taking a step into the unknown. It takes maybe 90 seconds of album opener 'Destroyer' to realise that this is a very different antipodean beast to the one we've become accustomed to on Parkway Drive's ascent to the top, and 90 seconds more for the penny to drop. This is as good as anything they've ever released.
Continue reading: Parkway Drive - Ire Album Review
One of Europe's best rock and metal festivals returned to its home at Donnington Park last weekend and it's safe to say, once again, that Download smashed it. With a range of bands from Kiss, Motley Crue, Billy Idol, Rise Against, Parkway Drive, We Are Harlot and more all booked to play, there was something for everyone at the festival, and that was one of the most noticeable highlights.
Despite the torrential rain pouring down during Slipknot's set, they pulled off one of the best shows to date on Friday and set an extremely high standard for the rest of the headliners. Playing hits like 'Psychosocial', 'Devil In I', 'Spit It Out' and 'Custer', and attempting to break the Download record for the most amount of people all jumping up at the same time they certainly went all out.
Muse were considered to be a controversial band to have booked, but all concerns were quickly dashed as soon as they hit the stage on Saturday. Matt Bellamy's vocal abilities were on top form as the band belted out tracks from their newly released album 'Drones' as well as well-known hits like 'Supermassive Black Hole' and 'Plug In Baby'. Even those who were indifferent or somewhat disliked Muse couldn't deny that they put on the show of a lifetime complete with dancing lights, pyrotechnics, confetti and inflatable balls.
Continue reading: Download Festival - 2015 Live Review
Here's a preview of what to expect from Download 2015.
Download Festival sponsored by Zippo is now approaching its twelfth year and it keeps on going from strength to strength, and this year is looking to be the biggest and best to date. The festival will return to Donnington Park (its home since 2003) between 12th and 14th June with a line-up that covers everything on the rock, punk and metal spectrum.
Rock royalty are headlining this year's festival, with Slipknot and Judas Priest rocking the Friday, Muse and Faith No More on the Saturday and Kiss and Motley Crue on the Sunday; it's looking to be a jam packed weekend.
Continue reading: Slipknot Set To Raise The Proverbial Roof At Download Festival 2015