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Sun and Floods, Mud and Metal: Worship Metal Does Download 2016


Source // Disturbed Download 2016

Source // Disturbed Download 2016

Last day and feeling good, despite broken sleep at the hands of two girls having a raging argument among our neighbouring tents and then being woken up by a couple of stewards loudly discussing the awesomeness of my Brother’s car. The latter was a recurring theme during the weekend. Maybe we’ll just bring the Kia Piccanto next year!

Amon Amarth

I am a relative newcomer to Amon Amarth and having read that they pull out all the stops when they play live, hopes were high.

These five hairy-ass Swedish dudes obviously hadn’t been told that noon on the Sunday is about the shittiest slot you can get at a festival. Either that or they simply didn’t give a fuck. Horn in hand (stop sniggering at the back!) these boyos were riding for Valhalla. Meanwhile, we had fallen from our horses, got our boots stuck in the stirrup and were being dragged behind them, with our heads rebounding off passing rocks. Still, what a way to go!

Their short, but devastatingly awesome set, borrowed heavily from current album Jomsviking and featured such utter metalness as cask-aged Melodeath riffs played from atop a giant, fire breathing dragon and compulsory head-banging for all ages and levels of fatigue.

Top moments included rousing renditions of “Raise Your Horns” and the brilliantly theatrical “First Kill”. I know of precious few bands who could have topped these bold Norsemen on such a grey Sunday morning.


By the time I returned to the Zippo Encore stage, it was a sea of deep mud and my desire to steam through any upwelling pits was jostling uncomfortably with my desire to remain dry and comfortable. However, in this life, compromises can be made. After all, who can stay still while listening to Periphery, a band who perfectly strike a balance between Djent complexity and groove-orientated accessibility?

Misha Mansoor and his triple guitar assault seem to be improving as time passes. From a rather intimidatingly complex listen on Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal, to some high profile tour supports, and the majesty of their current double album, they are in a state of evolution and it’s exciting.

Taking the stage with “Make Total Destroy”, they looked confident and at ease with Spencer Sotelo stalking the stage while Mansoor himself hung back with a wry smile, as though surveying his creation with pride. They pummelled through “The Scourge” and “Icarus Lives!’” sounding more than merely an exercise in showy fret-wankery, but it was only when they unleashed “The Bad Thing” that entry to the nearest mosh pit became unavoidable.

First dude I bump into, one of the guys from the Havok pit. Awesome! That’s the brotherhood of metal alive and well right there. Second thing that happens, Worship Metal gets a huge, muddy, inflatable crocodile right in the face!

Metal as fuck!

However, it was bye-bye for now to Periphery and back across the arena, via another major downpour. Thanks then, to the charming young lady who gently painted two dainty mud stripes on my cheeks and then handed me a hip flask containing a decidedly odd cocktail that I suspect was heavily propped up by Malibu, describing it as, “Definitely not beautiful.”

Beauty though, is in the eye of the beholder.


Some bands managed to boss the weather over the weekend, others didn’t. While the headcount at Donnington had decidedly thinned by 17:00 on Sunday, David Draiman and his boys had the situation well under control, harking back to the tight, machine-like riffs thrown down by Korn and Rammstein on the Friday night. Yeah, you know they bossed it. “Ten Thousand Fists” in the air alone saw to that.

Disturbed were also the first band of the weekend (that I saw) who brought on a few guest vocalists in the form of Lizzy Hale and Blaze Bayley. That led on to the only dip in the set, their cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name”. Sorry, but for me there is something disturbingly (sic) ironic about thousands of people standing in a field obediently chanting in unison, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”

Not for me, I’m afraid.

It was soon back to business though. “Download, it has become apparent that you have become infected with a sickness,” Draiman informed us shortly afterwards. Hell yes! That’s more like it!

Of course, the mighty Iron Maiden fear no band who takes the stage before them, but if they ever did, it would probably be a band like Disturbed. And yes, they even played “Sound of Silence”….rather well, since you ask.

Iron Maiden

Saxon looked to be doing a great job on the Maverick stage but by the time the light started to fail, all thoughts were on Iron Maiden and the anticipation was palpable.

Maiden are rightly proud of The Book of Souls, after all it represents everything that they are famed for – eloquent lyrics, grandiose themes, galloping rhythms and harmony guitars – all wrapped up in a modern package. That said, when a band of their stature are so determined to allow new material equal billing to the classic, they take a risk. But Maiden are one of the biggest bands in the world, so what do they care for risk?

Not much, it seems, as tonight they deploy no fewer than five songs from The Book Of Souls, kicking off with the brilliant “If Eternity Should Fail”, then straight into “Speed Of Light”. Only an airing of “Children Of The Damned” reminds us of their past before two more of their ‘newer’ songs are unfurled.

However, Maiden have always been the people’s champions and they act accordingly, treating us to classics like “The Trooper”, “Powerslave” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name” with Bruce Dickinson keeping the crowd constantly engaged while jumping around like a 20 year old and undergoing more costume changes than Liz Taylor in the 70’s!

The set flashes by in an instant, culminating with a sobering rendition of “Blood Brothers” with Dickinson referencing the recent shooting spree in Florida. When Maiden floor it one last time with “Wasted Years”, it is accompanied by a massive, bobbing effigy of Eddie’s head to the rear of the stage.

The show and indeed Download 2016 come to a rather moist close on that note. One more mud-surf back to the campsite and then the realisation that tomorrow, it’s back to reality with a bump. Still, it was suitably epic, and wet, while it lasted….roll on next year!

About Stuart Bell (55 Articles)
I was born in 1975 with a pile of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple vinyl next to my cot. I ate off a sheet of ply-board propped up between two Marshall cabs and shortly after I learned to read and write I learned the E minor chord and the pentatonic scale. One day my Dad bought me Iron Maiden's first album. Metallica's Ride the Lightning followed. Then, things got serious. I have held almost every rank in the Army of Heavy Metal: Fan, drunk fan, roadie, guitarist, producer and label scout. My Wife knows what Mastodon's Crack The Skye is about and my child can play Breaking the Law on piano. Go figure.

2 Comments on Sun and Floods, Mud and Metal: Worship Metal Does Download 2016

  1. Awesome review on BABYMETAL. Glad you guys liked it.
    Just a little note, when the girls leave the stage the extended intro of the band is for “Catch Me If You Can” not for “Megitsune”.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Un nuevo review esta vez perteneciente al magazine musical `Worshipmetal´ sobre BABYMETAL en el Download Festival UK – Babymetal en Español

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