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Download Festival 2011: Sunday Rolling Review

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 12 June 2011 at 23.09

It's raining, it's pouring... but the action continues for the final day of Download.



We knew the shitty weather was coming and after two days of sun (and a few clouds and one or two very brief showers...) it hammered it down at Donington.

For the low-down on Friday's action, including Bring Me The Horizon, Asking Alexandria, Young Guns and more click here... and here for Saturday's review, featuring System Of A Down, Avenged Sevenfold, letlive., Trash Talk and loads more.

But, despite the crappy weather, we got well and truly stuck in...

And with the rain came SUICIDE SILENCE. In all honesty, 11am is a touch too early to be beaten about the face with such vicious dedication, but as wake-up calls go, being savagely brutalised by raging deathcore is pretty hard to beat. The Californian crew duly threw down with maximum force, inspiring swirling circle pits on both sides of the barrier as their crushingly heavy, yet surprisingly technical assault rained down in tandem with the leaking skies. A continued over-reliance on bass bombs seemed slightly unnecessary, given the sheer force of their razor sharp delivery, but they can still chalk this one up as a triumph over considerable adversity. (PW)

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YASHIN may be one of the more prominent underdogs of the weekend, but they made a damn good stab at earning their keep on this sodden Sunday morning. While much of the rest of the arena was effectively a ghost town by the time they hit the stage (or at least as much of a ghost town as a festival can ever be), there were a good few thousand brave and dedicated faces here to witness the Scottish post-hardcore sextet do their thing. Dual vocalists Harry Radford and Kevin Miles made fantastic use of the space available to them, to-ing and fro-ing with more energy than anyone should really have at this time on a Sunday and the rain didn't remotely dampen the lads' spirits or abilities. Slick, balanced and thoroughly engaging, Yashin did themselves proud today. (AR)

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Finding himself in the right place at the right time, HYRO DA HERO takes over the second stage after being drafted in last-minute to play his second of three sets this weekend. And it would have been a brilliant opportunity for exposure if it wasn't pissing it down with rain - but as it stands, there aren't too many people around to win over. So his rallying cries of "Where my gangstas at?" fall a little flat on a couple of hundred people in ponchos. Nonetheless, the man is a showman whatever the size of the crowd, playing a furious set and getting the sodden punters involved in songs like 'Fuck You' and 'Ghetto Ambience' from this year's storming album 'Birth, School, Work, Death.' (AB)

"Have you noticed how it's stopped raining?" says BOWLING FOR SOUP singer Jared Reddick over on the main stage. "We're God's favourite band!" And that sums up the tone of the rest of their set - it's their fourth Download appearance, and they know exactly what to do with a cold, wet, slightly grumpy crowd; cracking jokes, engaging the crowd and picking a set with maximum singalong potential in mind. And, given the current climate, it couldn't have been timed better - from opening with 'The Bitch Song' to ender 'Girl All The Bad Guys Want', they're just what we needed on a grim Sunday afternoon. (AB)

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Day three is always brutal without the rain. But when Norwegian sextet KVELERTAK smash the shit out of their three guitars and throw the full complement of rock and metal’s loudest tricks down the staircase and mic the results, it’s like a hand on the shoulder telling you it will be all right, it is all right, and it’s time to headbang, haul that plastic poncho off and shout at the sky like the animal you are. If thinking about pussying out and going home, just ask yourself: what would Erlend Hjelvik do? After whipping his shirt off, getting his gut out, jumping in the crowd, jumping out and howling through his mane, he’s not going to let the weather bother him, and nor should you.(JH)

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With the arena resembling a soggy sea of shivering refuges, a reignited MADINA LAKE couldn’t quite draw the numbers they truly deserved, nor did they receive the heroes’ welcome which was undoubtedly their due. Nevertheless, it was a joy to see bassist Matthew Leone fully recovered and back in the saddle, lurching and stomping his way around the stage as he and his brothers in arms ripped out a slew of unexpectedly thunderous alt-rock belters, more than justifying both their main stage billing and their rightful place at the spiritual home of all things rock. Come November, they’ll be back on our shores as headliners: be there. (PW)



Like there’s not enough liquid falling through the sky, and GWAR fly in from Toilet Earth to send prosthetic jizz and blood over the first five rows. Even when viewed through the naked eye, Gwar still look kinda CGI, and have the sort of rubber monster battle-dress that suggests they were conceived for scratch and sniff graphic novels – maybe then, nobody would have noticed that their straight-up metal comes over a bit ordinary, especially when you can’t towel off afterwards.(JH)

The unsurprising benefactors of today’s washout (gosh, we do love talking about weather, don’t we?) were undoubtedly the Red Bull Bedroom Jam winners, (tents = dry, duh) and when it was time for ACODA to strut their stuff, they did so in front of a rammed-to-capacity tent. The Northamptonshire quartet seized the opportunity with eight hands, big riffs, massive hooks and visceral screams; and they found more than just a few pleasantly surprised faces staring back at them. With tracks as solid as ‘Finding Your Feet’ under their collective belt this early into their career, exciting things are certainly in store for ACODA over the coming months. As one Geordie punter turned to Rock Sound and asked “These lads ahr alreet, eh?” we could only agree. (AR)

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It was up to New Jersey boys THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM to bring a little warmth to the thoroughly sodden main stage crowd, which they ably accomplished by embarking on a charm offensive as enticing as their timeless rock ‘n’ roll storytelling. Front-man Brian Fallon couldn’t resist a cheeky wisecrack or three, clearly revelling in the opportunity to play on the fabled Donington soil, as the band barrelled through beefed-up renditions of ‘American Slang’ and ‘The ’59 Sound’, injecting new life into material which must have made more appearances over the past few years than Fallon’s trademark pearly whites. Lovely stuff. (PW)



Have we mentioned that it’s still raining? Because it is, you know. Right now, it’s actually raining sideways onto punters inside the Pepsi Max tent. But at least this means those in attendance for DEAF HAVANA are congregating around the stage because they’re fans, rather than just looking for shelter. The Norfolk boys do their best to keep morale up for those braving the elements, dividing their set – mostly comprising new material – between full-band chaos and a calmer interlude with just singer James Veck-Gilodi and his guitar, and both setups go down a storm (sorry). (AB)

By the time FRAMING HANLEY take the stage, the Pepsi Max tent has a moat. Those who wade towards the Tennessee boys find them in high spirits, if a little tactless in making most of us feel old as hell (they’ve dreamed of playing this festival “since they were kids” – and Download isn’t even ten years old…). They deliver a set that reflects their excitement, though; while their on-record sound is ultra slick to the point of almost sounding like a pop band, they put enough distortion and duelled screamed vocals behind their songs to impress casual listeners and fans alike – overall, they’re one of the more pleasant surprises of the weekend. (AB)

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BLACK VEIL BRIDES came to Download festival – their biggest performance to date – to prove a point: they’re not just a case of style over substance. Was it a point proven? Sort of. What cannot be denied of them is their ability to put on a show – Andy ‘Six’ Biersack was every centimetre the showman (a potty-mouthed showman, but a showman nonetheless) and his comrades are all exceptionally talented at their individual endeavours. Together though, they were not as cohesive this afternoon as Rock Sound had hoped and ultimately their show – as entertaining as it was – fell a little short of the justification mark (AR)



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And so to BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, who today found themselves one step closer to the headline spot they’ve coveted from the very start. Download veterans by this point, and with confidence oozing from every pore, the boys from South Wales had little trouble turning in exactly what we’ve come to expect from a band who have comprehensively transcended their humble beginnings to become genuine world contenders: a technically flawless, pryo-enhanced display of metal for the masses, rammed with hits and topped off with a firework finale of seriously impressive proportions. (PW)

Back over in the Pepsi Max tent, SILVERSTEIN for some reason were taking every opportunity to tell the crowd that this was their last show in the UK ever. Whether that’s the case or not will be decided by time, but if so they will have certainly gone out on a bang.11 years into their career, there aren’t many surprises left for them to pull, but they’ve become masters of their craft and the likes of ‘Smile In Your Sleep’, ‘Smashed Into Pieces’ and ‘Your Sword Versus My Dagger’ sounded utterly blistering. Please come back boys. Pretty please? (AR)

THE CULT haven’t enjoyed a 30-year career without learning what exactly constitutes a good rock show. They’re well aware that they could be up against third day apathy and fatigue, not too mention the elements: guitarist Billy Duffy noticed as much; the crowd looked like they’d just finished a season on an Atlantic fishing fleet. But the songs are there – ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ and ‘Sweet Soul Sister’ could have fought through the toothiest of gales. You’re mistaken if you think The Cult are out of touch – frontman Ian Astbury’s collaboration with Japanese avant-rock artists Boris is testimony to this, and right this minute when spirits need to be roused by his superlative voice they have never been more relevant, crucial even.(JH)

There’s nothing better than seeing some proper 100 per cent freakazoid bring some pyro and circus theatre to the stage. ROB ZOMBIE looks like he’s been exhumed for tonight’s set, as though the Rastafarian zombie scarecrow look has caught on amongst the undead. After disappearing to make horror movies for what seemed like an eternity, the re-animation of his role as metal’s weird uncle is doubly exhilarating. He knows how to work the crowd, encouraging more the girls in attendance to show more flesh and curse out loud, and the guys to shout in time. But it’s that driving backbeat and carnival of industrial schlock-horror that gets everyone’s fist pumping. Download needed a deviant, an unholy pantomime villain, like this to unleash the beast. And on the Sabbath, too. Next time, let him take the freakshow to the mainstage.(JH)

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Ahh, FRANK TURNER. This is how you round off a festival: smiling faces, singalongs and fist pumps and hand claps from the front to the back of the crowd. Most attendees are elsewhere due to the strength of the headliners tonight – but metalheads wouldn’t have missed out by seeing this, if only because his faithful backing band can throw shapes and rock out in a way that rivals any main stage act (and also because Frank gets a quick cover of ‘The Number Of The Beast’ in before ‘Photosynthesis’). And the tent was maybe two thirds full, but this reviewer would bet that we hit the same decibel level as the Linkin Park crowd. (AB)

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It appeared that the gods were smiling on Donington tonight, as the rain remained in abeyance just long enough for LINKIN PARK to roll up and banish the Sunday evening blues by detonating a consummate headlining set. With Mike Shinoda bursting across the stage, spitting rapid fire rhymes with remarkable fluidity, and Chester Bennington emoting like his life depended on it, the band’s undeniable vocal points led from the front and took us through a set which was less of a ‘greatest hits’ and more of a reminder of how they’ve evolved from being the foremost proponents of a moribund genre to becoming peerless titans of the worldwide music scene. Adding a tangible human edge to what can often be rather calculated music in its recorded form, and providing a stunning visual feast to accompany it, there was very little to fault in a performance that nobly crowned another triumphant weekend celebrating all that is good and great in the world which Rock Sound is proud to call its home. (PW)

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