The Über-Rockin’ Guide to Download Festival 2017 – Day One (Friday 9 June) Print E-mail
Written by Rich Hobson   
Friday, 12 May 2017 04:45

There’s no denying that in the world of rock and metal, no festival (in the UK at least) holds such reverence as Download Festival. Hosted at Castle Donington (itself the home of some of the most iconic rock gigs for the past three-plus decades), Download has only grown since its inaugural event in 2003. Now one of the biggest and hottest events in the UK rock and metal calendar, Download Festival covers pretty much every area of the mainstream, a festival as suited to Kerrang! readers as it is to Metal Hammer or even your Über Rockin’ self.


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So, without further ado, Über Rock presents our own guide to the mother of all UK rock festivals, with the first part of our pick of the bands you really don’t want to miss this June…


Baroness (Zippo Encore Stage)


Metal doesn’t come much bigger nor more grounded than in the sludgy powerhouse of Baroness. This is a band that exists among the greats of our genre, boasting no less ambition in their sound as they pump out some of the most powerful anthems in the metal canon. There could be no better place than Donnington for the band to return to UK shores to deliver up the monolithic metal that they do so well, easily matching the power of the arena-filling anthems of metal’s heyday. Bring your singing voice and prepare to be blown away.



FFO: Mastodon, Clutch.


Summary: Huge riffs meet even bigger choruses and stoner rock gets the prog treatment across Baroness’s sludge-driven brand of pure rock fury.


Code Orange (The Avalanche Stage)


With an album hotly-tipped to feature prominently on critic’s lists for the end of the year and a tour with Gojira under their belts, it’s fair to say that Code Orange are making 2017 their bitch. Positioned slightly oddly on the decidedly pop-punk oriented Avalanche Stage, CO are nevertheless likely to turn the tent into a seething, heaving mass of bodies as they bludgeon the audience with their hardcore/metalcore/alternative mash-ups. Expect one hell of a sore neck by the time this lot are through and thank every deity you can find that our world can still produce such exciting acts.



FFO: Oathbreaker, Nails, Hatebreed.


Summary: Metal doesn’t come much more bruising than this furious cacophony. Code Orange are a force of nature that have to be seen to be believed.


God Damn (Dogtooth Stage)


It’s no secret that I have a serious, serious love affair going on with God Damn. Two fantastic albums, three spectacular EPs – this band never put a foot wrong. Bursting at the seams with great tunes which chuck indie, metal and punk into a blender, God Damn have shown plenty of aptitude for dominating big crowds and filling every millimetre of air around them with pure noise filth. If you’ve seen the band as a two-piece, just imagine how much more visceral they are with an extra set of (flailing) limbs.



FFO: Turbowolf, Pixies, Queens of the Stone Age.


Summary: The biggest, baddest band to come from (near) Birmingham in the past two decades, God Damn are the definitive article in exciting British music.


Holding Absence (Dogtooth Stage)


With a desolate and melodious sound that owes as much to post-rock as it does post-hardcore, Holding Absence are very much new kids on the block, eager to earn a name for themselves as many a newcomer has before them. With only a 7” single under their belt at the time of writing, it’s safe to say that these guys have plenty of space to fill for their set in June. Still, as the likes of Black Peaks have proved before them, Holding Absence’s ultra-melodic, beautifully constructed slabs of sound are only getting more and more in vogue.



FFO: Black Peaks, Sleep Makes Waves, Deftones.


Summary: Desolate, melodious and dripping in potential, Holding Absence have all the ingredients for a spectacular Download debut.


Mastodon (Main Stage)


No metal release of 2017 (thus far at least) can boast being nearly as seismic as Mastodon’s ‘Emperor of Sand’. What better way to celebrate such a landmark release then, than to blast the tunes out to the gathered thousands of Download Festival. Building a reputation as one of metal’s most respected bands, Mastodon exist in a space of their very own as they pump out one critically acclaimed release after another. If you love metal or rock, you can’t afford to miss these, especially as few bands have bonafide anthems like ‘Blood and Thunder’, ‘Curl of the Burl’ or ‘Show Yourself’.



FFO: Clutch, Baroness, Metallica.


Summary: Easily one of the most respected bands in rock & metal, Mastodon are primed to be the band of the weekend at Download Festival 2017.


Motionless In White (Main Stage)


Motionless In White’s position early on the Friday main stage line-up affords them an opportunity to strike an impact with their theatrically-bent metalcore. Fresh on the heels of the release of their fourth album, ‘The Graveyard Shift’, the band are firing on cylinders song-wise, with the single ‘Loud (Fuck It)’ brimming with potential to be the first bona-fide anthemic sing-along at Download Festival 2017.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, this is a band that thrive in being unique – both in sound and visuals – and could easily provide a breakout set of the weekend.



FFO: Marilyn Manson, Of Mice & Men, Bullet For My Valentine


Summary: Primed for an early afternoon slot, Motionless In White look set to provide the weekend’s first massive sing-along.


Otherkin (Dogtooth Stage)


The supreme advantage Download has over the likes of Wacken and Hellfest is its ability to bridge the many subgenres of the rock and metal world (and sometimes punk). Take Otherkin, for instance – a Dublin based rock band packed with feel-good vibes and addictive hooks whose lack of a full length release bars them from appearing prominently overseas. Does that mean they can’t blow yer ears off? Does it fuck. With some solid tunes already under their belt, Otherkin could easily make a mark as a surprise hit of the festival.



FFO: Foo Fighters, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Asylums.


Summary: With big choruses and an ear for a grin-inducing hook, Otherkin are future radio rock stars in the making.


She Must Burn (Dogtooth Stage)


Blistering black metal isn’t the generally accepted booking for Download (for that, you’ll often be much better served by Bloodstock Festival just up the road at Catton Hall), but that’s exactly what She Must Burn offer. A little bit symphonic, a good bit furious and none more black, She Must Burn are representative of the emergent British black metal scene. Mixing the genre’s traditional throat shredding snarls with a melodic female vocal not a million miles away from the likes of Lacuna Coil, this is a band that will feel very fresh for the usual metal fodder of Download.



FFO: Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Satyricon.


Summary: Decidedly heavier and more bombastic than you’d usually find at Download, She Must Burn are an antidote to #WhyNotDyingFetus.


Suicidal Tendencies (Zippo Encore Stage)


True legends of the crossover genre, Suicidal Tendencies are a primo act in both the thrash and hardcore worlds. Fresh on the heels of last year’s ‘World Gone Mad’, Suicidal Tendencies land at Download to offer up some (crowd) surf-happy grooves that are sure to get the crowd flying. To say that the infectious groove of the band’s DNA is widely spread through the modern music scene is an understatement, but that’s just part of what makes Suicidal Tendencies such a vital part of metal history. This is the band that will get the party truly started.



FFO: Body Count, Municipal Waste, Agnostic Front.


Summary: Thick grooves, thicker bass-lines and an infectious energy –Suicidal Tendencies are one of our world’s most influential (and underrated) bands.


System of a Down (Main Stage)


Is it cheating to have a headliner as one of the must-watch bands of a festival? Not when you’re so hugely ingrained into the DNA of modern metal as SOAD are. Away for far too long, the smattering of festival and stadium appearances since SOAD have reformed feel like a rehearsal for this. Whether we get the much-touted new album before Download is anyone’s guess, but one thing’s for sure – if it can match the heights that the band had achieved with ‘Hypnotise/Mesmerize’ in 2005 SOAD are ready to come back to the metal world with a vengeance.



FFO: Slipknot, Korn, Rage Against The Machine.


Summary: New album or no, System of a Down possess one of the most iconic back catalogues of any metal band on the planet. This is a set that cannot be missed.


Download takes place at Castle Donington from 9 – 11 June.  Tickets are available HERE.


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