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Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 38

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Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 31

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The latest issue of the Full Pelt Magazine is here, and you can download your copy for free below!

Volume 31 features our cover stars Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators as they infiltrate the masses at Wembley Arena. It’s also a bumper week for new releases as we review Feeder, Bob Vylan, The K’s, The Black Keys, Dead Pony and ANIIMALIA.

Our News Report has all the latest music news including live announcements from Noisy, The Dandy Warhols, The Black Angels, White Reaper, Militarie Gun, Tom Morello, Gun, Mothica, Glass Animals and The Commoners!

Plus all the best new releases including Bob Vylan, Dead Pony, The K’s, Boston Manor, Paul Weller, Oakman, Marisa and the Moths, Between You & Me, Raven Numan, Within Temptation, Thomas Nicholas Band, Tom Jenkins, Susan Santos, The Zutons, BLACKGOLD, Millie Manders and the Shutup, TORA DAA, Dayseeker, Mimi Barks, Alien Ant Farm, Better Lovers, BIG SPECIAL and Glass Animals!

Finally, we round up the latest additions to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist including HRTLSS, BEX and QUEEN LAYA!

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Album Reviews

Bob Vylan

Humble As The Sun

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BOB VYLAN – HUMBLE AS THE SUN – ALBUM REVIEW

It’s been difficult to ignore the emergence of Bob Vylan whilst the duo have been winning over audiences with their outstanding live shows. Higher festival billings and bigger sold out shows have typified their past few years, all backed by a steady flow of punk-infused rhymes which provide a commentary of a plethora of the world’s problems.

Unfortunately, the world only seems to be becoming unfairer, harsher, more hostile and divided. Bob Vylan meanwhile have never been ones to sit around singing ‘kum ba yah’, and have certainly never been afraid to call a spade a spade. It may not be a surprise then that on their new album, ‘Humble As The Sun’, the band are as frank and forceful as ever.

The manner in which they deliver their message of empowerment however has evolved as the duo look to stretch their musical legs. Punk rock may still provide the backbone of the sonic ambience of the record, but the extent of their ambition feels far greater. A line in statement song ‘Reign’ quips that the band were robbed of the prestigious Mercury Prize, and the care and attention put into this record makes you feel that the duo are trying to prove a point.

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR REIGN’
Bob Vylan – ‘Reign’

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Critics and naysayers are increasingly going to be unable to ignore the noise coming from the Bobs. Artistically this album marks a significant declaration of self-belief and natural talent. Thematically the album typically wears its heart on its sleeve and continues to address the world’s wrongs with a thunderous rage.

As you’d expect the lyricism is clever and there are countless memorable witticisms and easter eggs over the course of the ten tracks. Long term fans will feel at home with this record, but perhaps vitally these tracks are more than capable of reaching a wider audience.

‘Humble As The Sun’ has to legitimately be recognised as Vylan’s best and most diverse album to date, and more so the record opens up a new sense of intrigue as to where the duo can go in the future.

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Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 26

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The latest issue of the Full Pelt Magazine is here, and you can download your copy for free below!

Volume 26 features our cover stars Lake Malice as they prepare for their debut headline tour! We also review new albums from Yard Act, Bruce Dickinson, Kaiser Chiefs, Noah and the Loners and Liam Gallagher & John Squire!

Our News Report has all the latest music news including live announcements from Paul Weller, Electric Six, Blood Red Shoes, Black Water County, SOiL, Journey, Blackout Problems, Gen and the Degenerates, Latitude Festival, British Summer Time, Bearded Theory, Tramlines, Cro Cro Land and Attitude Festival!

Plus all the best new releases including Bob Vylan, Twenty One Pilots, Hell Is For Heroes, Oakman, Another Sky, Kid Kapichi, Unpeople, LostAlone, VENUES, One Step Closer, Accept, Chris Shiflett, Kelly Jones, Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties, Black Country Communion, halflives, The Zutons, Troy Redfern, Fangclub, James, The K’s, Ho99o9, PJ Harvey and CLT DRP!

Finally, we round up the latest additions to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist including Hunter Oliveri, ANIIMALIA and Gamblers!

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Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 19

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The latest issue of the Full Pelt Magazine is here, and you can download your copy for free below!

Volume 19 features cover stars Korn as they announce their biggest ever UK headline show! We also have album reviews for Hannah Wicklund and Casey.

Our News Report has all the latest music news including live announcements from Teenage Cancer Trust, Call of the Wild and PVRIS!

Plus all the best new releases including Bob Vylan, The Black Keys, Thomas Nicholas Band, Robert Jon & The Wreck, Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties, LØLØ, Gun, iDKHOW, Dayseeker, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Gen and the Degenerates, Courting, Dead Poet Society, Florence Black, Marisa and the Moths, Issues, Exit Eden, Disturbed, K.Flay, New Model Army, Fit For A King and Being As An Ocean!

Finally, we round up the latest additions to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist with Katie PruittCyan Kicks and Air Drawn Dagger!

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Features

2023 Full Pelt Awards

Have your say!

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The 2023 Full Pelt Awards are here and you can have your say from our shortlists below!

Votes here will be tallied with those on Social Media, plus weighted votes from our Full Pelt staff with the winners all revealed in a special Magazine on New Year’s Day!

2023 Full Pelt Awards
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2023 Full Pelt Awards

Our 2023 Album of the Year will be revealed on our Social Media on Christmas Day! Let us know your favourite album of the year in the comments and be sure to follow us across social media to be the first to see who wins our award!

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Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 11

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The latest issue of the Full Pelt Magazine is here, and you can download your copy for free below!

Volume 11 features cover stars Massive Wagons as they kicked off their UK Tour this week. We also review live shows from Millie Manders and the Shutup, Bob Vylan and Lonely The Brave.

We have our News Report rounding up new releases from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Neck Deep, Heriot, The Dollyrots, Guise, Defects, BIG SPECIAL, BLACKGOLD, Gen and the Degenerates and Greywind!

Plus new live announcements from Joanne Shaw Taylor, The Zutons, Tool, Lightning Seeds, The Nightmares, Dirty Honey and Peter Hook & The Light!

Finally, we round up the latest additions to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist with Hunter OliveriThe Cain Pit and Creature Cult!

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Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 9

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Our weekly music News Report has evolved into the Full Pelt Magazine, and you can download the ninth issue now for free!

Volume nine includes an update from cover stars The Hunna and exclusive interview with The Pale White. Plus we review Fall Out Boy live in London and album reviews from The Cadillac Three, The Struts, WARGASM and Black Water County!

We have our News Report rounding up new releases from Green Day, Chelsea Wolfe, Beans On Toast, Dead Poet Society, Casey, Mother Mother, The Beatles, New Model Army, Pet Needs, Pendulum, Therapy?, Normandie, Bob Vylan, Amongst Liars, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard and Kid Kapichi!

Plus new live announcements from 2000trees, Isle of Wight Festival, Takedown Festival, Radar Festival, Bearded Theory, Bruce Springsteen, Hayseed Dixie, Feeder, Delain, Saint Agnes, Chris Shiflett, Black Honey, The K’s, Lake Malice, Kaiser Chiefs, King Nun and Blossoms!

Finally, we round up the latest additions to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist with Tropic GoldInterlaker and Jock!

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Live Reviews

2000trees

Upcote Farm, Cheltenham

5th to 8th July 2023

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2000trees festival review

Festival season is in full swing and rock fans once again descend on Upcote Farm in Cheltenham for 2000trees! A true music fans festival, this year there is an absolute smorgasbord of the best new and established acts to savour across three full days of relentless entertainment.

However, before the event proper begins though those with early entry have an additional evening of music on tap in the beautiful forest area. The ‘Forest Stage’ has always been a unique and special feature of this festival which is now on its fifteenth iteration.

Wednesday

The privilege of opening the festivities this year goes to Snayx who, despite playing whilst many are still pitching their tents, still attract an eager and excited crowd. The band are able to seize upon this excitement to whip the crowd up even further with their brand of punk rock. A benchmark is set for the weekend early here and thankfully the organisers have a bill curated to ensure that the quality never drops!

The other stage in operation today is the small ‘The Word’ stage which over the weekend will host various activities such as further bands, live podcasts, comedians and more. Over the next few hours we are able to catch delighted spots from B-Sydes, Masca, Polyanna and Gaz Brookfield.

Over on the ‘Forest Stage’ though, the handful of selected bands combine to deliver a highly memorable evening. Delaire the Liar are up next and are able to continue to build their growing reputation with another assured performance.

A real special moment follows as one of the most talented yet underappreciated bands of the last decade Press To MECO play their final show. Such a moment really deserved a bigger stage and longer setlist but those present are able to bathe in those glorious riffs one more time with an emotional ‘A Test of Our Resolve’ a highlight of the whole festival.

https://twitter.com/PresstoMECO/status/1678107191750844418

Next are a band just getting started. Saint Agnes are tipped as the future of rock music by some, and again on the evidence of their set tonight those people are very much correct! Debut album ‘Bloodsuckers’ can’t arrive soon enough; thankfully we only need to wait on July 21st!

The latest Tigercub album is already out and next up the band bring ‘The Perfume of Decay’ to life with a solid showing as the forest area begins to fill up in anticipation of the nights two headline acts.

Both Holding Absence and Bob Vylan will play two sets over the weekend but before gracing the main stage, they both thrill those packed into the woods! Holding Absence are first and they captivate the crowd with a cleverly selected mix of rarities and fan favourites. This band continues to grow and evolve and it’s scary how good they could be.

Bob Vylan also continue to elevate the game with their headline set tonight they bring carnage to the forest! A spectacular off the cuff collection of on point punk rock more than whets the appetite for their main stage appearance, even showing that they aren’t too far away from being able to headline the biggest stage next time they play the festival.

THURSDAY

Each night the now infamous silent disco takes over the site as the party continues into the early hours, but come Thursday morning the arrival of the rest of the attendees ensure even the first act of the day, Blush Puppy on the ‘Forest Stage’ get a good turnout. The duo perform a delightful run-through of adapted favourites which starts the first full day off perfectly.

With the outdoor stage, three tented stages and the ‘Forest Stage’ all rotating throughout each day an avid music fan can fill their boots with live music and literally catch non-stop music for nigh on sixteen hours a day if they wanted to. We don’t quite have that stamina but we give it a good go and are rewarded by great sets from Kite Thief, Beach Riot and Gaffa Tape Sandy.

Following that run we then head to first catch recent ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast guests CARSICK over on the ‘NEU Stage’. The group proceed to smash through their set to the delight of those present with the likes of ‘Anaconda Frank’ showing real bite.

Another act to impress early in the weekend are Lake Malice in ‘The Cave’. The group have been winning over all who see them this summer and their future appears to be very bright indeed.

Lambrini Girls, Graphic Nature and the official debut of new group Unpeople who have formed from the ashes of Press To MECO all follow and continue to hot run of great sets. Unpeople in particular are able to really tease what is to come and make a fantastic first impression.

The main stage soon literally takes centre stage as first Kid Kapichi and then Bob Vylan deliver two of the sets of the weekend. Kid Kapichi are effortless in their delivery of impassioned punk rock which sees an endless sea of crowd surfers on an inflatable burger! Bob Vylan then reinforce the message that their headline set sent last night, that the duo are as advertised – the most important band in the world!

We then head back to the two larger tented stages, firstly for Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun who preview their upcoming new album ‘Colour’. The record will arrive on July 28th and the band really do a good job of convincing those in attendance that despite the decade plus wait for a new album, the wait will be worth it. All the new material this evening sounds absolutely massive. Then in ‘The Axiom’, The Joy Formidable deliver a delightful little set that evidences the eclectic mix of rock music presented at 2000trees.

Soon enough it’s time for the final run of bands that will close out day one. Skindred are well established as a great live act and tonight they have the crowd at their whim. The Newport Helicopter needs no introduction either as the crowd make the most of the groups big finale.

Back in the big tent next for Eagles of Death Metal who give a festival friendly, crowd pleasing set including the likes of ‘I Only Want You’, ‘Complexity’, ‘Cherry Cola’ and ‘I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News)’.

Finally it’s over to the returning Soft Play (the artists formerly known as Slaves) to close out the day. The duo pick up where they left off and play as if they’ve never been away. It’s great to have the band back and fans revel in the likes of ‘Cheer Up London’, ‘Feed the Mantaray’ and ‘The Hunter’.

FRIDAY

Friday begins with an early run of Beauty School, RXPTRS, The St. Pierre Snake Invasion, BLACKGOLD and New Pagans all of whom play their rules well and make the most of their short sets.

After an overcast first couple of days, today is a scorcher and the heat is intense as LostAlone arrive on the stage. The band don’t let that phase them though as they pull out all the stops to get the crowd engaged. It’s mission accomplished by the time they deliver the double header of ‘The Final Call For Forever’ and ‘The Last Drop Of Forever’.

2000trees do very well to bring together the best new music from home and abroad and the next run of Militarie Gun, Zulu, Microwave and Kublai Khan TX shows the keen eye for upcoming talent that the organisers have.

It’s this mix of new with the established acts that perfectly balances out the line-up and Hell Is For Heroes are a great nostalgic party next on the main stage. The quality overall is again on show when you can then head immediately to the ‘NEU Stage’ for an excellently run set from As Everything Unfolds, before returning to the main stage for a very enjoyable Dinosaur Pile-Up show and then jumping straight to the always intense Cancer Bats in ‘The Cave’!

Bullet For My Valentine are the act who close out the night with a huge headline performance. Attracting one of, if not the biggest crowd of the weekend, the band are in confident mood as they showcase their headlining credentials. Older tracks such as ‘Scream Aim Fire’ and ‘Hearts Burst Into Flames’ naturally receive big reactions, but it’s telling newer tracks also are well received.

A surprise AxeWound reunion with Liam Cormier is another festival highlight before ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ and ‘Waking the Demon’ ensure that come the next morning everyone is talking about how great Bullet were tonight!

The festival has been a whirlwind as per usual for 2000trees and it’s a testament to the quality of line-up that to this point there hasn’t been a bad performance. Of course some ultimately standout more than others such as that headline set last night or Bob Vylan destroying the forest but the chilled out atmosphere amongst attendees is reflected by the respect the bands pay the crowd. The reciprocal ambience creates a synergy that elevates every aspect of this event.

SATURDAY

Come Saturday the crowd may be sapped from the previous days heat but over on the ‘Forest Stage’ Xtra Mile Recordings acts (and previous ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast guests) Hannah Rose Platt and Guise are serenading the early crowd with their beautiful music. They are both well received despite the heat being supplemented today by a lot of the wet stuff!

Xtra Mile Recordings has a great relationship and past with 2000trees and new Xtra Mile favourites (and double Full Pelt Podcast guests!) PET NEEDS attract a big crowd to ‘The Axiom’ next. This is no doubt due to some guerrilla advertising from their fans, but everyone that ventures into the tent leave hailing the band as one of the bands of the weekend.

One of the elements that makes the ‘Forest Stage’ so special are the sets from acts playing on the biggest stages which are often acoustic and unique. Next, Electric Six frontman Dick Valentine does a great job of distracting the audience from the deteriorating weather with a highly fun acoustic set.

After catching Dead Poet Society and Enola Gay strutting their stuff we are then able to catch Electric Six themselves who attract another big crowd to the main stage. The crowd lap up the likes of ‘Gay Bar’ and ‘Danger! High Voltage’ as you’d expect, and the band do their job with aplomb.

One Step Closer then cement their hype in ‘The Cave’ before Black Honey demonstrate why they are one of the best newer live acts in the country. Tracks from new album, ‘A Fistful of Peaches’ sound massive as the band achieve another of those more memorable sets of the weekend.

The reshuffled Dream State then show that they still have a big future ahead of them in ‘The Cave’ before Deaf Havana battle through a torrential downpour which decimates their crowd at the main stage. We brave the rain until the end before heading into the forest for a short but very fun set from Lynks.

Talking to people across the site, the opinion is unanimous that this has been a spectacular weekend. You feel as the weekend comes to a close that it can’t get any better, but then Hundred Reasons deliver perhaps the best set of the weekend. The band get the audience onboard from opening number ‘I’ll Find You’ and never lose them despite more heavy rain. One of the moments of the weekend comes when Enter Shikari man Rou Reynolds joins the band for a superb ‘Silver’.

Jamie Lenman then plays his latest masterpiece ‘The Atheist’ in full over in the forest before Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes come out of hibernation to finish the festival with a welcome career-spanning set.

Whilst the band may lack a certain volatility of their early days they don’t lack in swagger or controlled ferocity when required. The final run of ‘My Town’, ‘Devil Inside Me’, ‘Juggernaut’, ‘Lullaby’ and ‘I Hate You’ is the perfect way to bring an incredible weekend of music to a close.

2000trees has established itself at the heart of the summer as a trusted and respected event. From their humble beginnings to now fifteen events later, the festival lays on the infrastructure but the audience makes the event the special weekend that it is!

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Read our review of Download Festival 2023

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Live Reviews

Download Festival

Donington Park, Castle Donington

Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th June 2023

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DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL 2023 REVIEW

This weekend is a celebration of twenty years of Download Festival. Stepping into the void left by Monsters of Rock not just at the hyped spiritual home of rock Donington Park but to the whole UK rock/metal scene, Download has become its own monster.

This year is truly monstrous as the event is fully sold out with record breaking numbers of attendees coming to partake in the celebration. Those celebrations get off to a rough start though with unprecedented traffic problems souring the event for many before it even properly begins.

📸 Live Nation UK PR

Once the music starts though a lot if not all of those problems subside. There is a stacked bill for the anniversary party including two nights of Metallica, a closing set from Download icons Slipknot but most vitally a new headline act Bring Me The Horizon.

The gap between Monsters of Rock and Download caused a vacuum in ability for bands to hit headline status with many acts from that era missing out on that status, Korn being one such act often thought of as passed over. Think about it, if they’d headlined at Donington Park in the late nineties, they’d no doubt still be that rank higher than they are now.

In the early years of Download, a number of bands had an opportunity to cement themselves at the top level, think Audioslave, Linkin Park, System of a Down and My Chemical Romance.

Playing alongside stalwarts like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath and Kiss gives bands credibility and elevates their stock. 2009’s Slipknot set is still heralded as the best example of the ‘bump’!

The problem is since then only Avenged Sevenfold in 2014 have really been given that opportunity and Download has become a bit of a clichéd round robin of the likes of Def Leppard, Rammstein, Aerosmith and other favourites already mentioned.

Perhaps then the most important booking in a celebration of the past is the look to the future with Bring Me The Horizon finally getting the top spot. Whilst Download probably should’ve got in before Reading and Leeds, it’s hopefully a sign of a subtle change of tact from the festival.

That’s because the line-up is also graced this year by the likes of Hot Milk, Nova Twins and Bob Vylan in prominent slots. Mixing this with the likes of classic Download bands Disturbed, Alter Bridge, Halestorm and Skindred gives the line-up a fresh but familiar feel.

Sadly beyond the bookings of Metallica and Slipknot plus the additional day there isn’t much done to make this year feel special for those who have made Download Festival part of their lives.

Whilst the organisers could have done more both in terms of that something special and in certain ways just the very basics, they have provided a top tier line-up, so let’s take a look at the highlights!

THURSDAY

Cancer Bats get the ball rolling on day one for us over at the second stage (now dubbed the Opus stage). The band get those that have made it into the arena pumped up with a early set packed full of ragers that ultimately ends prematurely when the sound is cut during ‘Hail Destroyer’!

Soon thereafter, Mammoth WVH get proceedings underway on the main stage (or Apex as it’s now called!). In some ways it’s fitting having the Van Halen name on this stage, in others it’s very ironic as the legendary band are often referred to by lead booker Andy Copping as one that got away.

Wolfgang and co show that with or without the last name, they have the talent needed to conquer stages like these. From start to finish it’s an excellent showing that places the band on the potential list for future festival stars.

Next up on the Opus stage are Hundred Reasons who are riding the wave of their stunning return album, ‘Glorious Sunset’. The band open with the title-track before running through a series of classic tracks much to the delight of those gathered. Hopefully this isn’t a victory lap for the band as creatively and onstage they are as good as they’ve ever been!

As we focus on the future of the festival, two names often linked to future headline status are Halestorm and Alter Bridge. It’s fine booking then to see the bands back to back next on the Apex stage.

Halestorm deliver another flawless set that seems to finish before it begins given their short allocated slot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though given the old saying of leave the fans wanting more. Halestorm certainly do that and with a headline date pencilled in at Wembley Arena this December, the next time the band grace Donington you’d hope to see them in the sub-headline spot.

That’s the spot filled by Alter Bridge who have played in this position multiple times before; a sense perhaps then of always the bridesmaid and never the bride! Today though the band give it their all to show what they have to offer.

Watching the crowd, the set seems to be really well received which is a good sign. The band after all are always technically superb, so if enhancing that audience connection is the missing piece to progression then today’s set will have gone a long way to creating that link!

All that’s left on this special Thursday then is the first of two headline performances from the biggest metal band on the planet, Metallica. The two sets will be completely unique, giving fans the chance to see far more than a standard Metallica set list.

Night one has a good mix of hits like ‘Creeping Death’, ‘Fade To Black’, ‘Nothing Else Matters’, ‘Sad but True’ and ‘Master of Puppets’, deep cuts such as ‘Leper Messiah’, ‘King Nothing’ and ‘Orion’ plus new material from ’72 Seasons’.

FRIDAY

Friday is a huge day for the future of heavy music with a number of hotly tipped bands performing on the main stage including headliners Bring Me The Horizon.

We start on the Opus stage though with a debut UK festival appearance from Mexicans The Warning. The sister trio deliver an assured performance which belies their position on the bill. The set is another case of leaving the audience wanting more and you have to imagine that they’ll be back very soon.

Nova Twins take to the Apex stage soon after and absolutely own the stage. The duo are able to show just why they have so much hype with a performance that should be talked about as one of the best of the weekend.

Hot Milk have the unenviable task of following the pure energy that was Nova Twins, and thankfully for the band and the crowd they are up to the task. With a debut album on the way the band are on the cusp of something special and this set will again not doubt be one of those “I was there” moments.

The effortless cool of Demob Happy delights the Avalanche stage next as they showcase their stunning new album, ‘Divine Machines’.

Back on the Apex stage with the run of younger bands, next up for us are Neck Deep who are perennial contenders for bigger things. Today they have tens of thousands of people singing back the likes of ‘December’ and you have to consider Neck Deep’s set another victory for the new breed of Download band.

It’s a short and sharp blast from the past next as we pop to the Avalanche stage for the return of The Blackout. The band perform like they’ve not been away and receive a hero’s return from the audience. With the tease of more live dates to follow, it looks like The Blackout are back and back with a bang today!

It’s a quick bolt over to the Opus stage next for Within Temptation who are clearly playing a slot below their stature. The performance the band give is headline worthy not just of this stage but of the main stage. The band has a wealth of experience and use all their tricks to deliver a masterful set full of their best crowd pleasing hits.

By the time Evanescence grace the stage, the mass of humanity in attendance is a clear indication that the band should have been on the main stage. Viewing points are few and far between but wherever you are stood the band sonically deliver. A mixture of old and new is greeted well regardless but it’s mega hit ‘Bring Me to Life’ that has the entire place singing their hearts out.

It’s then time for that set. Bring Me The Horizon take over the main stage and prove any remaining doubters wrong. Making Metallica appear average, the band give their all both aesthetically and musically and produce possibly the greatest headline performance in the twenty years of the festival.

As we said earlier, the band should have been given this slot years ago, but if they had then this moment wouldn’t have existed. Their show tonight is the proof needed that the next wave are ready now and the gatekeepers need to move aside.

This set is historic not just for the theme of the weekend or for the stature of Bring Me The Horizon, it’s historic as a watershed moment for this festival. New headliners of the future should personally thank Bring Me The Horizon for breaking through that proverbial ceiling!

SATURDAY

On to Saturday now and nobody mention the weather! A celebration of twenty years of Download would have fittingly seem some rain and mud, and from this point on the festival is so hot that many would probably have willing traded the sun for some rain.

After last night it almost feels an anti-climax for the festival to continue, but another Metallica set should never be scoffed at. Thankfully there are still some fresh new bands breaking through lower down the bill today, and first up we catch Static Dress who seemingly channel the energy of Bring Me The Horizon with the fantastic opening Opus stage set.

One of the best bits of a festival for a publication passionate about new music is stumbling across a surprise gem on one of the side stages. This year that is ANTISAINT who simply storm the small Dogtooth stage with a ferocious set and definitely leave with more fans than they had going in.

The new look FEVER 333 then take to the main stage and deliver another memorable moment with Jason Aalon Butler scaling one of the massive towers erected in the main arena. That moment though shouldn’t take away from the already phenomenal set the band had delivered.

Lake Malice are next for us back in the Avalanche stage who are able to continue the run of top tier performances we’ve caught thus far. Whilst some of the organisational elements of the festival have been lacking, the music has been of the highest calibre and Lake Malice are another band you suspect will be back in a bigger spot sooner rather than later.

Next on the Apex stage are Ice Nine Kills, whose theatrics create a spectacle on the main stage, but musically they feel a little flat, perhaps being the first underwhelming set of the weekend.

Clutch who follow then also suffer both through technical difficulties and the energy sapping heat which probably negatively impacted Ice Nine Kills as well. The lack of enthusiasm from the crowd doesn’t help and it’s probably a good thing we are headed to a tent next.

We are set now for another one-two punch, this time in the Avalanche tent with Kid Kapichi and Bob Vylan on tap. It’s Kid Kapichi up first and they instantly raise the intensity levels with opener ‘Sardines’. Each song that follows is just as rewarding and by the time the band finish with ‘Smash the Gaff’ they’ve done just that!

One of the most exiting acts on the bill this weekend are Bob Vylan. The mention of ceilings earlier is relevant because this duo haven’t just smashed ceilings they’ve proceeded to stamp the shards into dust. Their performance to a packed crowd today is further evidence that new acts can make Download their home. That’s exactly what Bob Vylan do here as to repeat another cliché they completely own the stage.

It was always going to be hard to follow that suckerpunch and next on the main stage with the intense heat still sapping all energy, Disturbed deliver a plodding set. The set list is fine, the performance is far from phoned-in but with the audience struggling and the band following the ferocity of Bob Vylan, Disturbed feel distinctly average today.

We then head to the Opus stage expecting Placebo to also struggle to engage the tired and weary crowd. After all this is the third day which would traditionally be the home straight, and Placebo are not known for their crowd pleasing set list choices.

Pleasantly though those making the effort are surprisingly rewarded not just with an energised performance from the band but also a excellent set of songs including a very rare outing for the superb ‘Nancy Boy’. On their day Placebo can be an incredible live act and today they are at the peak of their powers which re-energises the previously zombified crowd.

It’s then time for night two of Metallica’s no repeat weekend. There are some great choice cuts in the set tonight such as a tour debut for ‘Whiplash’ plus ‘Until It Sleeps’, ‘Wherever I May Roam’ and Thin Lizzy cover ‘Whiskey in the Jar’! The finale of ‘One’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ ensures that the hits are accounted for as well as Metallica deliver another slick and graceful set.

SUNDAY

The final day feels like a step too far, most definitely compounded by the unrelenting heat, but once again when lost in the music all those issues somehow disappear – the power of music!

Bloodywood start the day off with an engaging performance on the Apex stage, before our recent Podcast guests Blind Channel deliver on their promise to bring the energy to Download. The sight of many metalheads singing along to a rendition of Anastacia’s ‘Left Outside Alone’ is a real sight to behold and set closer ‘Dark Side’ has everybody with their middle finger in the air.

Lorna Shore then suffer again from a lack of enthusiasm from the crowd and their sound getting swallowed up by the enormous space. Joey Valence & Brae though have neither issue in the Avalanche tent with a rambunctious and fun-filled slot.

As the heat and the excesses of the weekend catch up on the crowd it’s telling that for this afternoon outdoor sets like The Amity Affliction and Avatar whilst technically great feel like a struggle. Whereas tented sets from Joey Valence and Brae and the brilliant The Meffs are able to revive the crowd and thrive on their rejuvenation.

Thankfully things start to cool as clouds begin to take over the sky as we get ready for Dinosaur Pile-Up on the Opus stage. Sadly technical difficulties shorten their set to just five songs, but those five songs sound fantastic!

I Prevail have a huge slot on the main stage and make a good impression although you do again feel something is just lacking today. Not to flog a dead horse any further but it may be the low energy levels today or the enormity of the stage swallowing the heavier sound but it’s hard to truly get into their set today.

Thankfully the smaller outdoor Opus stage seems to have a lot of energy and Bad Religion are able to take advantage of that next with a typically slick run of punk rock anthems. Opening with ‘American Jesus’ the band able to hold your attention throughout before finishing with a rousing rendition of ’21st Century (Digital Boy)’.

Next up on this stage are Ghost who really should be headlining the main stage at this point. Musically and theatrically they are on another level and you have a sense of the Bring Me The Horizons about then. Hopefully Download Festival will strike while the iron is hot because everything about their performance today is perfect.

Ghost are so good that you also feel it unnecessary to watch Slipknot, but as soon as the band hit the stage you are glad that you stayed. The history between the band and festival is huge and it’s great that they are one of the few acts that seem to properly acknowledge that this weekend.

A standard (which is great) Slipknot set follows with some sentimental set choices and an enthralling stage show. It’s really fitting for Slipknot to close out what has been an intense weekend of celebration.

Download Festival
📸 Live Nation UK PR

The busiest and longest ever Download Festival will last long in the memory for reasons both good and bad. As we said at the start, this festival is a true monster now and has enough dedicated customers to ensure that it will never go down as its predecessor did. It has however become rather soulless and corporate and it feels like the identity it created over the first decade or so could be lost.

Hopefully the event will use this success to both maintain its heritage but also to now really push for the future headliners and top acts to come through. So, congratulations Download on twenty phenomenal years, and here’s to many many more to come!

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