Festival Season is well and truly upon us. And the crowning jewel of rock festivals, Download, is quickly approaching.
With just a few days to go until Donnington Park opens its gates, here is Will Stevensons festival preview!
All That Remains are set to be the very first band to step foot on the main stage this year, opening up on the Friday. Their particular brand of anthemic, metalcore hijinks is sure to wake the crowd up and get them pumped for the rest of the weekend. The latest All That Remains album, The Order of Things, features some of the bands most melodic work to date and it should feel perfectly at home on the main stage.
Next up is HellYeah offering Southern rock influenced metal that, once again, will be right at home on the main stage, particularly if the sun is blasting. Big choruses, chunky riffs and a smooth rhythm section commanded by ex-Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul are in store here.
At The Gates are a late addition to this years festival, replacing controversial American band King 810 at the last minute. The melodic death metal outfit are the heaviest band to play the main stage this year and are certain to destroy the slot and earn some new fans.
Lacuna Coil are set to bring a change in tone to the main stage, offering up some female fronted gothic metal that will be quite a contrast to the other bands on this stage today.
After that, Clutch bring back the hard rock tone to the stage. The American band are due to release their eleventh studio album, Psychic Warfare in September this year and will be glad of a break from the studio setting to loosen their live muscles.
Five Finger Death Punch asserted their dominance of modern metal at Download in 2013, but have since been through a turbulent on stage fall out. Rumours about the band flew wildly; they were going to pull out of download, they were going to split. Luckily, neither of these came to fruition and hopefully the band can put on a performance as good as two years ago, where they were one of the bands of the whole festival.
Judas Priest supposedly retired from doing festivals in 2011 at High Voltage. Clearly, this has since been proven untrue. The Metal Gods are set to put on a spectacle, as this sub headlining position is one of the most prominent slots the band have received at a major UK festival in years.
Slipknot have become a stalwart of the UK metal festival scene; this is their fourth headline slot at either Download or Sonisphere in six years. Nevertheless, that won't stop them for putting on a show and this is the first time the band will be able to perform material from their well received latest album, The Gray Chapter.
Heart Of A Coward will be relishing this opportunity to deliver their particular brand of storming, aggressive hardcore to a wider audience.
Funeral For A Friend have slid down the bill on these lineups in recent years; despite this, the bands latest album, Chapter and Verse was fairly well received and thanks to touring with the cream of the upcoming hardcore scene, FFAF have found a new audience.
Mallory Knox are on the brink of exploding. Last years Asymmetry has some of the bands best songs to date on it and a good performance in front of the large main stage crowd could be just what Mallory Knox need to knock them into the stratosphere.
Rap Rock posterboys, Hollywood Undead are an undeniably fun band suited for this mid day main stage slot. With a well chosen setlist based around the bands party songs this could be the set of the weekend.
Parkway Drive are going to smash the main stage to pieces. They're an unreal live band and manage to dominate venues of all sizes and have a greatest hits set that's packed head to toe with metalcore classics.
Rise Against are in a similar position. They're well established legends of the punk scene by now, on their seventh album and not looking like slowing down now. With anthems like Hero Of War and Saviour, they're undoubtedly going to kill this slot.
A Day To Remember are one of those bands toted for greatness; they've been tipped as one of the bands due to succeed the likes of Slipknot and Muse as headliners of festivals like this. This performance could be the gig that transcends them to that status, if they pull it off. They're known as a notoriously good live show, so odds are it'll be fantastic.
Faith No More are back again at Download, six years after their previous, headlining performance. With a new album that has received critical praise and classic songs from their pre break up albums, Faith No More are an incredible band with a brilliant live reputation.
Muse are an interesting choice of headliner for Download. Despite rumours that this years Drones will be a return to a heavier sound, they've been a very pop band for a while now and their announcement brought a fairly lukewarm response. Despite that though, Muse are well known as great live band and are used to stages this big so, depending on the material they pick, this could be a great set.
Despite having the silliest name of the festival, Pop Evil do the honours of opening up the stage on Sunday. Despite the silly name, they do have their fair share of good songs which are undeniably catchy.
Metalcore act 36 Crazyfists are next up. This band are the most modern sounding on the stage today, with a sound including tuned down guitars, clean choruses and harsh verses, but their well written song structure should help win over any sceptical day ticket holders.
Ex-Sepultura brothers Max and Igor form Cavalera Conspiracy. Their latest band is essentially Sepultura V2, and they play classics like Refuse/Resist and Roots Bloody Roots live, so what's not to love?
Tremonti is the solo efforts of Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti, so will feel confident on the main stage already. Whilst Alter Bridge have a classic rock feel to them, Tremonti is a heavier project, with elements of thrash.
Blackberry Smoke are bringing the rock and roll stylings of today's lineup to a new generation. Formed in 2000 and have continued ever since to produce consistent, fun rock and roll.
Continuing this classic rock style is one of the best that ever did it, Billy Idol. Turning 60 this year, William Michael Broad, known by his stage name of Billy Idol, is still going and continues to delight audiences with classic songs such as “White Wedding” and “Rebel Yell.”
Slash is the perfect person for a Sunday evening outdoor rock show. With a huge arsenal of songs ranging from Guns n Roses classics to his latest, Slash featuring Miles Kennedy and the Conspirators releases, the guitar legend is sure to have Donnington park singing along throughout his set.
This is the last chance to see hair metal legends Motley Crue. The band are on their final tour sprint and with Download being their fairwell to the UK festival crowd, it's a show you'd be silly to miss. The Crue are sure to bring their A game to this set, with a set full of classics like Dr Feelgood, Kickstart My Heart and Girls Girls Girls, this will be a set to remember.
KISS headline what may as well be branded as the classic rock day of Download. KISS are one of the old guard of the classic rock scene and they're keeping theatricality alive within rock music with a stage show including costumes, pyro and tonnes of tunes they're sure to cap Download off in style.
Pick of the Second Stage
Fearless Vampire Killers: For those looking for some melodrama. With song titles like “Could We Burn, Darling?” and a penchant for theatricality, FVK will be a lot of fun.
Modestep: For those looking for a change of pace. Modestep offer up a blend of electronic dance music styles, created live.
Corrosion Of Conformity: For those looking for some good old fashioned metal. This will be a heavy set blending sludge and grooves into a ferocious sound.
Black Stone Cherry: For those looking for something other than Slipknot's raw aggresion. Black Stone Cherry will offer up some chunky, southern influenced hard rock.
Apocalyptica: For those looking for something 'out there.' Apocalyptica will perform their usual set of metal influenced orchestral music, perhaps with some Metallica covers thrown in for good measure.
Testament: For those looking for some good old fashioned thrash. They are an amazing live band and are sure to have a loyal crowd out in force.
Carcass: For those looking for something heavy. The death metal band are on top form recently with their most recent album, Surgical Steel, being a fan favourite.
Motionless In White: For those looking for metalcore with a difference. Motionless In White combine the heaviness of a Parkway Drive with the theatricality of a KISS or Motley Crue.
Black Veil Brides: For those who want to make their own minds up. Black Veil Brides clash with one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend in the form of Faith No More, so they'll have everything to prove to those who do turn up to watch them.
Marilyn Manson: For those who fancy a bit of nostalgia. Manson has been on and off live for a few years now but at this point he's certainly worth checking out, particularlly due to his latest album, The Pale Emperor being a return to form. Perhaps with this headline performance he will manage to bring his A game?
The Lounge Kittens: For those who want something absolutely ridiculous to start their day. The Lounge Kittens reproduce rock songs such as Limp Bizkit's “Rollin'” Rammstein's “Du Haste” and more into lounge music sung by a triplet of women. It's fantastic.
We Are Harlot: For those who want to see Danny Worsnop (ex-Asking Alexandria) front a hard rock band. We Are Harlot are a good, fun classic rock style band, though the main draw is undoubtedly seeing Worsnop in a different environment.
In Flames: For those who want something a bit heavier. The originators of the Gothenburg Sound are sure to pull a big crowd of fans who prefer their metal heavy but melodic.
Lamb Of God: For those who love groove. Lamb Of God will bring it to this show, for sure. Going on eight full length albums now, Lamb Of God are arguably the biggest “extreme” band on the planet.
Enter Shikari: For those who want some fun to end the weekend with, but don't like KISS. Shikari are well renowned for putting on incredible live shows, and they'll suit the climactic event style of the closing show of the weekend perfectly.