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Friday, 15 June 2012

Live & Dangerous: Download Day 3

Download Day 3

Bathed in glorious sunshine this was the final day on Donington's hallowed turf and with a wide spectrum of bands to see I set off early

Devildriver

A very early morning wakeup call from Dez showed that even at this time of day people will still kill each other in the pit. This was another lesson in brutality and destruction from Devildriver with Dead To Rights, Not All Who Wander... and the favourite Clouds Over California all given and airing. It's the same as always but Devildriver always bring the noise. 7/10

Something slightly less noisy now

Reckless Love

Much like Steel Panther Reckless Love *heart* the 80's and in particular Def Leppard and Van Halen. Unlike Panther these guys are younger, prettier and have the tongue slightly out of their cheeks. This is good time party music kicking off with the Def Leppard sounding Animal Attraction and then moving through big 80's style (would have been) hits with front man Olli doing his best David Lee Roth simultaneously being feminine in his looks and masculine in his moves. A band worth watching just for the exuberance of Olli and the EVH-style shredding of guitarist Pepe.  7/10

Edguy

One of my favourite bands Edguy were given a 30 minute slot which meant that motor-mouth singer Tobias Sammet had to shut up and sing. Which is what he did, mixing cuts from the latest album with classics such as Superheroes, Lavatory Love Machine and King Of Fools. Short concise but nowhere near enough time for Sammet to tell his jokes and exude the bonhomie that he usually does. 7/10

Black Label Society

Something a bit heavier now with Zakk Wylde ripping Download a new one with Crazy Horse two more ballsy anthems followed and then a ten minute guitar solo, filled with squealing and feedback. This ruined the entire set, Zakk could have played more songs in this time but proceeded to show off at festival which let's face it should be hits or GTFO. Even Stillborn couldn't save the set from this miss-judged flight of fancy. 4/10

Lamb Of God

This is more like it! Delivering another crushing blow and wiping away the dreamy cobwebs caused by Zakk's noodling. The Virginian bruisers caused extreme violence with opener Desolation and following up with another newbie in Ghost Walking. From then on it was all out classics ending with the break neck Black Label which was obviously not homage to the band of the same name. 8/10

Shinedown

What I said earlier about hits obviously rings true with Shinedown as they played a set that consisted entirely of songs from their last two breakthrough albums. Sound Of Madness opened proceedings Devour adding a snarl before it was lighters-in-the-air time for Second Chance and the end came with the incredibly poppy Bully. An excellent band performing a crowd-pleasing set. 8/10

Back to the tent (and the front) for

Firewind

...from Greece. Another balls-out speed metal assault with Gus G's playing being as stellar as usual. Apollo's vocals keep improving as well but the live focal point was Bob Kastanosis who manages to provide rhythm guitar and keyboards at the same time. The band drew heavily from their last three albums with the only classic coming in the form of Falling To Pieces which ended the set. My only complaint would be the brevity of the set and the sound quality meaning that hardly any of Gus' playing could be heard. Oh well roll on the headlining tour in September. 8/10

Ghost

With fans such as James Hetfield and Phil Anselmo Ghost really should be something else when it comes to the live arena. Thankfully they are and after their haunting intro set the atmosphere Papa Emeritus came on to the stage with his incense flanked by the 'Nameless ghouls' that form the band. Playing a set of tracks from their one and only album those who have seen them before will know the songs but it's the presentation that changes. Every move is choreographed to perfection, between song banter is kept to a minimum, props are used sparingly all to evoke this nature of a cult religion with Papa Emeritus as its leader. His voice fits the 70's occult rock sound that his expertly drilled band provide, this is what BOC must have sounded like in their prime albeit with all their faces visible. However it is this mystery that makes Ghost more than just another retro flavoured band. There is a genuine air of excitement around them that is palpable whenever they play. With set bookmarked by Con Clavi Con Dio and Ritual there was no time to breathe because how expertly the entire package was delivered. This performance shows why Ghost are fully deserving of their star-studded fan club. 9/10

Black Sabbath

After being fully brought over to the dark side it was time for the godfathers of the occult to show their skill. Without the visual aids of Metallica four men came to the stage and played their respective instruments, however what they did bring was a catalogue of the finest heavy metal songs ever created most of which have been copied in some form to this day (I'm looking at you doom/stoner/death metal).
They kicked off with their namesake track which still sends shivers down the spine from the intro on, this was followed in quick succession by The Wizard, Behind The Wall Of Sleep and N.I.B this was pure metal history unfolding in front of us. Ozzy's generally hit-and-miss voice was on top form belting out the tracks like it was the 70's again. The Iron Man Tony Iommi showed no signs of his cancer treatment and his legendary riffs thundered across the Donington night, Geezer Butler still stood toe-to-toe with Iommi and matched him riff-for-riff and they were aided brilliantly by the drumming of Tommy Clufetos who was more than an adequate stand in for the absent Bill Ward. Mixing classics with fan favourites the set was guaranteed to please everyone, Under The Sun was aired just before the triple threat of Snowblind, War Pigs and Sweet Leaf. By the time the crushing strum of Iron Man hit the crowed were fully sucked in Ozzy had them eating out of the palm of his hand and with the last double of Dirty Women and Children Of The Grave a collective exhale was heard as the interval hit, then came the encore the opening riff from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath into the radio-friendly Paranoid (a song so famous even your mum knows it) before finally saying goodbye to the now completely decimated crowd. This wasn't like any other gig; this was a collective thank you from us to them and visa-versa because we all knew that this was the band that started it all. Simply stunning. 10/10

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