The weather is warmer; the days are longer and the good times are mere moments away. That can only mean one thing; it’s only a matter of time before festivals start. Download Festival 2017, which takes place in just under 3 weeks at Donington Park in Derbyshire, is right around the corner, and we’re wrapping our third of three previews of the fest now.
Friday and Saturday may have had a complete abundance of acts worth watching that mean we’re going to be struggling for choice, but Sunday might just be even more ripe for the pickings. Even with more acts still to be announced, it’s fair to say that already, Sunday might just be the most versatile day of them all – personifying exactly what Download is all about, in terms of genre adaptability and atmosphere.
SUNDAY 11TH JUNE 2017
Headlining the Sunday as festival closers are none other than the “Bad Boys from Boston” – the hard rock magicians themselves, Aerosmith. It’s absolutely no secret that the band’s notoriety in the rock history books is nothing short of spectacular, with hit songs that even the most oblivious music fan can name, and such a storied history being multi-platinum winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. Steven Tyler’s incredulous voice and the band’s fascinating live show continue the classic rock Sunday tradition that Download offers, and what better band to close off a weekend of intense partying and great vibes? We don’t want to miss a thing…at all.
Emotion, power and heaviness are all ingredients of sub-headliners Alter Bridge, whose biggest Download appearance to date is another perfect recipe for the Download festivities right before Aerosmith. The former ¾ of Creed (but with exceptionally thunderous soaring vocals courtesy of Myles Kennedy) are capable of wowing the Download audience in copious amounts with their heavy metal-hard rock, with epic solos, crushing riffs and anthemic choruses. Right before them, Steel Panther grace the stage and will be assured to continue their time-honoured tradition of providing classic Mötley Crüe-inspired glam rock with innuendos and banter aplenty. There’s about 100 reasons why the Sunday evening main stage is a can’t-miss.
As a prelude to that, Aussie rock comes at the hands of Airbourne, whose eclectic guitar bravado firmly rooted in the ‘80s still continues to excite, and is perfectly fitting of the theme of the weekend. Swedish melodic death metal pioneers In Flames play just beforehand, whose sound continues to be the topic of debate amongst metalheads worldwide. However, speaking from experience, they still pull out all the stops live, playing material both old and new, and believe me, those harmonized guitar riffs, growls and rhythms are always great.
The Cadillac Three, a Southern rock trio from Nashville, bolster the ranks with another set firmly rooted in rock and roll mixed with country influences. Completing (thus far) the main stage are London heavy metallers Orange Goblin, whose riffs, punishingly heavy and intricate, cement them as deserving of the main stage slot. Openers Fozzy have become anything but a novelty in the rock scene today, and with their Metallica-infused riffwork and unrelenting energy are perfect to kick our hangovers instantly.
Whilst some may grimace at the thought of a main stage dedicated mostly to classic-inspired hard rock, fear not – the Zippo Encore Stage has plenty to offer throughout the Sunday. Headlining are thrash legends Slayer, and in their first headline appearance at Donington Park, will undoubtedly have a sinister, visceral set on hand that will incite chaos and brutality in the pits. Not least that Opeth, the progressive metal icons, will have completely whet fans’ appetites. With a completely polar opposite sound to Slayer, the Swedes still unveil their complex, vibrant and meticulous riffs and storytelling through engaging blissful sonances, with calming quaint melodies that feel like warm fire on cold skin. American funk-stoner rockers Clutch are no strangers to anyone here, whose diverse licks and hooks have earned them a completely fresh and exciting musical gift that never feels out of place, especially on a festival like Download. Mixing things up a bit are industrial metal icons Ministry, another band whose storied history still has fans returning at all corners of the globe, and who have not lost a step. Following the release of From Beer to Eternity, Ministry’s future studio work remains a bit faint on the details, but their live show always sends shockwaves through the crowd and Download fans should get excited.
Liverpool gothic-prog-rock outfit Anathema will release their upcoming album The Optimist on the Friday of Download, and if the concept and musical eccentricity is anything to go by, their set on Sunday will be nothing short of enthralling. The same can be said for DevilDriver, whose groove-laden heavy vitriol will be felt in full swing as per, having carved a dense and far-from-ordinary path in the rough metal terrain of today. Their complex rhythms and ferocious blastbeats have excited Download-goers for years, having earned some vast circle pits at various points.
Complimenting an already diverse range of genres, stoner rock will be unleashed in full swing courtesy of Red Fang, whose composite sweeps and multi-layered influences will undoubtedly be on everyone’s mind as (hopefully) the sun blazes on and as the dank riffs start coming out. No, pun definitely not intended. Absolutely not.
Also appearing on the second stage are Sydney rockers The Dead Daisies, whose current lineup comprises of guitarist David Lowy along with former members of Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and Mötley Crüe, alongside blues rockers Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown.
It does seem as though the Sunday has plenty to offer, but believe it or not, there are STILL other choices. The Avalanche Stage hosts headliners The Dillinger Escape Plan, who have never been a band to shy away from controversy both in message and in execution. With the finest math metal style a band can have, coupled with chaotic arrangements and primitive technical proficiency are not nearly descriptive enough for what this New Jersey quintet is capable of. As a headliner, this is simply put, carnage waiting to happen. Perfectly fitting for the band who have decided to call it a day professionally, so this is 100% a must-see.
Unadulterated rock-fusion-pop punk courtesy of Basement, who have nothing to lose following a tremendous album in Promise Everything last year and a new label backing in Fueled by Ramen are adding to the diverse complexity of the Avalanche Stage. Meanwhile, post-hardcore mob Touché Amoré have proven absolute masters of amalgamating raw heartfelt emotion with captivating melodic ambience over unrelenting heavy rhythms. Latest album Stage Four is both touching and reminiscent of an improved melodic hardcore approach, which is even deeper live as frontman Jeremy Bolm’s voice indicates time and time again.
Dinosaur Pile-Up, fresh off a run supporting Deaf Havana in the UK, boost the post-grunge numbers and are worth the visit to the Avalanche Stage. But if that’s not what you’re after, maybe some French synthwave in the form of Perturbator is more your cup of tea (or more appropriately, hit of ecstasy), over on the Dogtooth Stage. Adding another layer of depth to the Download ranks, the project of James Kent has a futuristic approach to electronic, which will definitely be ideal for a certain percentage of us there on Sunday evening when we start to get emotional at the thought of Download finishing for another year.
New Zealand rockers Like A Storm also continue to stride forward in leaps, having supported Alter Bridge and Steel Panther in Europe before, and look to make a tidal wave of new fans at Download. Dutch groove metal troupe The Charm The Fury, known for their intrinsic and unique valour onstage are a welcome addition after opening trio Stone Broken, Brutai and Fallen State.
As we’ve mentioned many times, the Download lineup is impossible to please every single person in every stage at every time. But you cannot deny the sheer variety and interesting offerings that we have on display this year. And mentioning this again, even if nothing is of your interest, and you have a vague interest in old-fashioned professional wrestling with modern day production and stylistic quality, then check out the tent that will be hosting WWE NXT live all weekend long. The appearance of this man will simply be…GLORIOUS.
Metal Recusants will of course bring you all any updates on Download as soon as they happen – there are more acts to be announced and stage times are still to be confirmed. Stay tuned!
Download takes place at Donington Park from 9th June-11th June 2017. Weekend tickets and day tickets, including RIP Packages are still available.