Greetings, well, Download 2015 is almost upon us… and as the bill posters starts to fill up, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the bands playing, but more importantly, give our opinion of the ones to watch over the weekend. Sometimes, when looking at the bill, it can be a little daunting, with people tending to stick with the main stage acts, but there’s so much to discover if you’re willing to look a little deeper! So here’s a quick preview of the ones to watch.
Providing these guys make it to the UK and don’t get stopped at the airport, like they did last year, there’s more to these guys than meets the eye. That said, they did manage to enter the country for Download Freezes tour, which took place at the tail end of 2014, so visas and passports must all be in order by now. With that minor detail out the way, they were also asked back here to support the mighty Slipknot in January, which is a real honour, as those guys don’t ask just anyone to support them! Don’t expect all out hell with these guys, like I said, they are more than just a metal band, if you listen closely to their lyrics, I’d almost go as far as to say they are modern day poets! These guys are for the deep thinkers and heavy drinkers. Catch these guys on the 3rd stage on the Sunday.
Black Star Riders
From the dying embers of Thin Lizzy, original founding member Mr. Scott Gorham and the rest of the current members that made up the band at the time, called it a day and rebranded as Black Star Riders. Doing this enabled them to move forward with writing new material and why not, with so much talent in this band, writing and performing music is what they do best. Since seeing these guys perform for the first time as the new band at the Marshall Amps theatre, I’ve been hooked. They successfully performed at DL13 as a late entry, on the main stage, to a packed out crowd who couldn’t help but sing along to some of the Thin Lizzy classics they have in their set, as well as to the new material. Having recently released their 2nd album, titled “The Killer Instinct” I’ll be eagerly watching these guys on the day. They play the Encore stage on the Saturday.
Another bunch of Swedish rocker’s here who I’ve yet to catch play live, but our review of their latest album “Tear Down the Walls” was a firm favourite with our reviewer. These guys are more your traditional rock and roll, such as Thin Lizzy and Alice Cooper, having supported both these acts, I’m very much looking forward to seeing these guys perform on the large stage. You can catch these guys on the Encore stage on the Friday.
I’ve been following this band with keen interest for years now. Having seen one of the best live shows of my life at a Clutch gig, which incidentally was also on one of the hottest days of that year, you can only imagine the carnage. This band are hard to categories as their music is so diverse but if you make time to go through their back catalogue which spans over 20 years on 8 albums, you’ll hear what I mean. You get Punk, Rock, southern rock, metal, but one thing that runs through them all, are catchy tunes, with great lyrics and heavy riffs! I was both surprised and elated when they got announced to play this year and I’m predicting one of the best sets of the weekend from these guys! Catch them when they play the main stage of Friday.
Having seen MM twice now, the first time was fantastic, the second not so much. On each of his last three albums, I’ve managed to find one or two stand out tracks that are worth their salt, however, this year he has come back with a bang, thanks to the release of his new album “The Pale Emperor”. The media have gone nuts for this latest offering, which I’m sure has helped to secure his slot at this years festival. With this new, amazing album, which we’re loving at the moment and his impressive back catalogue, I’ll be at the barriers for this performance to see if he really is back on form, which we hope to be the case as he’s such a great act! MM plays the Encore stage headliner for the Saturday.
In my opinion, these guys are one of the best metal/hardcore bands around, who are hugely under rated. I’m yet to see these guys play live so I’m relishing the opportunity to see these guys play the main stage on Saturday.
If you’ve been to some of the smaller, independent metal festivals this country have to offer, you’ve no doubt come across this band in the past. By far, one of the hardest working, liveliest, loveliest, metal parody bands around and they ain’t too far away either, as they are based in and around Nottinghamshire. After their main stage appearance at Bloodstock last year, which can only be described as a triumph, they have written themselves into the history books of folk law with that show, as they had a larger crowd than Megadeth, who played the same stage on the same day! If you’re looking for a good time, with plenty of crowd participation, I’d strongly recommend this band, we love them. You can find these guys playing the third stage on the Saturday.
Five Finger Death Punch
After an epic performance at DL13, it’s no surprise these guys have been called back to perform for Download again. These guys have steadily increased in popularity since they burst onto the scene back in 2005 and if you like your heavy metal full of drama, these guys won’t fail to disappoint. Last time, they invited a load of kids up on stage with them, which almost ended with Ivan punching a steward for being unkind to one of the kids! I’m predicting 5FDP will also produce one of the best sets of the weekend also, they play after Clutch on the Main stage on Friday.
These Swedish riff machines are a cross between the ever popular “Mastodon and “Planet of Zeus”. We caught this band recently when they supported Monster Magnet. If you’re looking for high energy, pure riff fueled rock and roll, do not miss these guys, who play the 4th stage on the Friday.
Lamb of God
Probably one of the heaviest bands on the bill this year, I for one cannot wait to see these guys play, having missed their headline performance at Bloodstock a few years ago. I’m pretty sure every metal head has heard of these guys. If you keep up with current events in the news, you may even be aware of the turmoil that surrounded the band a few years ago, when Randy Blythe had to go to court regarding the death of a fan, at one of their shows, in Europe. With all that nonsense behind them, the band are moving forward, playing festivals and supporting acts like Slipknot this summer – do not miss these guys if you like it raw to the bone! They play the Encore stage on the Sunday.
These guys have been a real talking point for this years festival, with many die hard Downloaders being disappointed with the fact they are headlining. The same happened when Linkin Park got announced to headline last year and look what happened there! The fact is, Muse are an amazing live act, with a visual live show that’s sure to leave doubters reaching for the lasers. The band are currently in the middle of recording a new album and I for one can’t wait for its release as I’ve loved the band since I discovered them back at university, many many years ago now. As we were one of the first to suggest Muse headline this years festival (we were also one of the first to suggest LP play last year) I will defend Downloads decision to put them on as a headliner. I know their set will be heavy, to please some of the faithful and I’m so excited to see these guys play, a little wee has come out just thinking about their set!
I hope this has been of some use, we may do a follow up, once ALL the bands have officially been announced, as there are still many more yet to come! It won’t be long though, eeek, its just over four months away, I CANNOT WAIT!
Words and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)