Friday, 16 December 2011

Albums of the Year-- 2011

20. Title Fight-- Shed
19. Basement-- I Wish I Could Stay Here
18. Dream Theatre-- A Dramatic Turn of Events
17. Kids in Glass Houses-- In Gold Blood
16. Fucked Up-- David Comes to Life
15. Suicide Season-- The Black Crown
14. The King Blues-- Punk & Poetry
13. Foo Fighters-- Wasting Light
12. Tacking Back Sunday-- Self Titled
11. Living With Lions-- Holy Shit
10. Black Spiders-- Sons of the North
9.Twin Atlantic-- Free
8. Mastodon-- The Hunter
7. Touche Amore-- Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
6. Machine Head-- Unto the Locust
5. Skindred-- Union Black
4. The Defiled-- Grave Times
3. Save Your Breath-- Vices
2. City and Colour-- Little Hell
1. Lower Than Atlantis-- World Record

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Sonisphere Review 'I shall judge you there...'

          Boom Sonisphere 2011, Where do we begin? This year’s festival season has been insane and I seriously cannot pick which line-ups been my favourite or even which festival that I attended was the best. There was something special about this year’s festival season. And after Download what could Sonisphere hold-up? Well the big 4? The first festival headline set of Biffy Clyro? The Return of Slipknot? The bench mark was already high, now it’s unattainable.
          So unlike the Download review where I spent most of my time recapping my journey there, this time it’s just going to be a straightforward review of the event, mainly because most of the time when bands weren’t playing were spent in a tent drinking and trying to get some Austrians to say ‘I’ll Be Back.’ So anyway on with the review.

Day One: Friday
          This would be the second year Sonisphere had had bands playing for three days, this year with a little bit more successes than the year previous, how? Well with the inclusion of the ‘Big 4’ of Thrash metal and Diamond Head on the main stage. However, bar one, every other stage were previewing bands on the Friday. We Started off by watching the Japanese Voyeurs. We’d seen them on the Black Spiders tour a few months back but due to poor sound the music just blended into noise. Today the sound is better, but whether it was worth waiting for is still debated. At times the actual music was top class, however the vocals seemed weird and not to fit, and a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Closer just shows the gap in quality between the band and their Industrial counterparts. [4]
           With the exception of Metallica, the band I’m looking forward to seeing the most today are up next. I first got into Lower Than Atlantis a year ago after they released Far Q, and say them at last years Sonisphere. Since then I’ve caught them on a number of support tours and their performances have just improved. And with the realise of their brilliant new album, World Record and a tent full of Atlantis fans, I was genuinely pumped. (I think I should point out that despite them being one of my new favourite bands, I missed them at regrettably missed them at Download) But today the band rise to the occasion, with two roaring starts with ‘Motor Way of Life’ followed by ‘Far Q’ then taking the audience to a shout along chorus of ‘Deadliest Catch’ and a huge version of ‘I’m Not Bulimic…’ where the breakdown, ‘we are the kids of the recession, over drafts, loans and no pensions, we are the kids of the recession, we’ll learn our lesson, from years of living in a country in depression’ these words never seemed so clear and everyone young and old are feeling it. Atlantis conquers. [9]
          We finally make a visit to the main stage to see a ‘Big 4’ band, seeing them 2 years running means that were not to fussed about seeing them for a third year but we watch the end of their set. And then wait and anticipate Megadeth! The only band of the four that we haven’t seen yet, and most of the previous nights talk was drunkenly singing Megadeth choruses to each other. It starts off weirdly with the opener being ‘Trust’ not the furious thrash opening that I had expected neither was the crunchy ‘In my Darkest Hour’ expected however things get faster for ‘Wake up Dead’ and then we realise that this is a Megadeth greatest hits set, ‘Hanger 18’ attacks us and the newer song ‘Head Crusher’ sounds mental, the song that’s played however seems a little simplistic but that’s just one listen. Dave ends with an apocalyptic version of ‘Holy Wars…’ [8]
             We get into the Bohemia tent in time to catch The Black Dahlia Murder, a band that I haven’t heard much of, despite having a copy of ‘Nocturnal’ on my hard drive, so I go see them out of curiosity. Again I’m not disappointed. The crowd are up for it and so are the band, a great set. [7] and within 10 minutes we’re watching Black Breath, despite tragic sound problems the band don’t seem to care and go ahead in putting on a heavy head-banging shout along show. Unfortunately the sound problems hampered the flow of the set. [7]
            Protest the Hero’s tent is full and there is no chance of getting in, so we watch the end of Slaaaaayer, and move on to watch Rolo Tomassi a controversial choice seeing as their clashing with Metallica, but we’ve made our choice and are proud of it, as the band do pull a strong crowd, and frontwoman, Eva Spence shows more energy on stage than any other front-person I’ve seen today. The crowd are blatantly there for a reason as well and go mental for the band. Especially ‘Party Wounds’ which sees the first tent wide circle pit of the weekend. [8]
          Finally we go to see Metallica, you wouldn’t have guessed that we’d missed half an hour of the set, honestly the band are beyond words, It’s not a flawless performance, but I think that adds to the spectacle, Metal isn’t meant to be mental, it’s meant to just connect to whoever’s listing. And Metallica are connecting with a festival wide set. It’s hard to look back and say ‘I wish they played that’ because what we were given was plenty. And the spot we’re the other bands came on stage, as well as the guy from Diamond Head and Andres Kisser, who had played with Anthrax earlier in the day is a ground shacking and a memorial moment. Just seeing all of them up there was enough, but seeing James and Dave hug really made the moment that extra bit special. I don’t know who the future holds for metal, but Metallica should be an inspiration to anyone to anyone even holding a guitar. [9]

Day Two, Saturday:
            I wake up in pain. I don’t really want to move much today, then I remember who’s playing and suddenly by bones hurt more. Fuck it I get up, willingly pay 5 quid for a burger and sneak a few packets of crisps into the area with me. Lil rebel. Band one of the day While She Sleeps. I am suddenly awake, the band have so much energy, are so connected with each other, and connected with the early 11.30 audience, that they can’t fail. And they don’t, every song sounds huge and closer ‘Crows’ makes me realise this band have got to be the future. [9]
          First band on the main stage for us today are Architects, I love ‘Hollow Crown’ I think it’s a really under rated album and I quiet like the new one, but for me, they’ve never managed to connect with me live, today unfortunately is no different, I know it’s difficult to play as one of the first bands on and I take that into consideration but there are attempts from the audience of the band to get into it. I’m glad to say they only played on slow song today on their set, unfortunately ‘Heartburn’ fails when compared to ‘Hollow Crown’ and the band find it hard to raise the energy levels after the change of pace. [5]
          Oh well. Gallows! Are next, and fuck are the Gallows here. Opening with a huge ‘Misery’ which sees within the opening seconds a guy laid out on the floor, with blood coming out of his mouth. And ‘Leeches’ makes the crowd to ape shit, as does the renamed ‘Knebworth is the Reason’ by now Frank Carter’s told us that he’s leaving the Gallows, an announcement that kills a part of me inside. But instead of morning he wants carnage, and yeah that’s what he gets, there are huge pits, huge chant along moments and the Biggest pit of the weekend as one goes straight around the sound desk. The now emotional final UK festival show of a Frank Carter Lead Gallows is finished with a lethal ‘Orchestra of Wolves’ it’s is going to be sad seeing Carter leave and I wish him the best, same with Gallows and their new frontman, Wade from Alexisonfire. [9]
            The weather changes in time for Cavelera Conspiracy, but it doesn’t matter too much as sitting back with a beer listening to Heavy Metal classics as well as soom great ‘Cav-Con’ tracks and seeing both Cavelera brothers have a hell of a time on stage, even the whole Cavelera family at times are on there, it’s a great show from the guys. [7] Bad Religion are up next, I don’t really know what to expect, I have suffer and I know maybe two songs that aren’t on that album so hear I’ve decided to watch them just because there here, like the Gaslight Anthem at Download it’s a great discussion. The band plays really well with songs full of foot tapping, head- banging catchy choruses and isn’t put off by the little rain. [8]
          We travel down to see Sum 41, which is a mistake, the suns out so you’d have thought that a few polished pop-punk songs would have gone down well. But there’s nothing from the guys. This could have been the re-emergence of the band but they wait until right at the end to play ‘Into Deep’ and ‘Fat Lip’ at which time, people have already given up. [3] By now the rain has come back, it’s never fair when the rain comes, especially on a day where most bands need the sunshine to help get the music across, You Me At Six, another band I don’t really care much for cope admirably with the conditions though, getting the wet crowd moving, I feel their problem is that they have songs, yes they do, but they don’t have enough yet, ‘Underdog’ sounds great and I sing it to myself for the rest of the day. Maybe after the new album they can have a ‘complete’ set of great songs. [7]
            Anticipation is rife, we’ve had 50 minutes of rain followed by the brightest fun of the weekend so far...  and it’s happened because Weezer are here! No? well come what may Weezer just can’t miss and I have no trouble thinking that Rivers Cuomo organized the sun. Either way it’s perfect. The ‘Sweater Song’ and ‘Surf Wax America’ are classic sing along songs and the cover of ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ fits the day perfectly. With the exception of the cover of ‘Paranoid Android’ the entire set is flawlessly great with massive sing along moments and feel good music. Weezer excel without doing more than turning up and with a back catalogue like there’s, you’ve got to have a pretty bad day not to have everyone singing at least one song. [9]
          Finally it is the time for probably the most controversial headline set of the weekend. Biffy Clyro, I supported the decision being a fan of the band and being one of the few bands that I own every physically album of, something that is getting increasingly harder to say. So here it is, here come Biffy how will it go down? Well with a great firework start at the beginning of ‘The Captain’ which even follows a massive ‘Whaooooo’ part from the audience and from one song in, you can tell this is going to be a fabulous set. Everyone knows every word to the new stuff which sounds amazing and the band even shove some old classics in for the old time fans, ‘57’ still sounds epic. Playing the whole of ‘Only Revolutions’ may seem a little risky, but it pays off big time and despite where people first heard the song ‘Many of Horror’ provides the biggest sing along moment of the weekend. Well for 24 hours at least. Biffy has a massive future ahead of them and one day I can see a massive festival where they headline along with Muse. [10]
Day Three, Sunday:
          The final day, sad times but honestly the bands have been something else this year as you can probably tell with the ratings, but there’s no time for the wicked and we wake up a little late and have to run a little to make it in time for Volbeat. I’m sure they start early anyway, but that’s not important what is important is that every band takes not at Volbeat, opening bands should do what Volcbeat do, I don’t quiet know what they do that draws people in but Volbeat even this early in the morning are the best opening band I’ve ever seen, there’s head banging, foot stomping beats with ‘Devil horns’ and Slayer riffs and Jonny Cash shout outs and of course there is Volbeat. [8]
          Next we go and wait for Feed the Rhino. The second time this year we’ve been in the privilege of their presence and the second time they’ve made the ground shake, this time more rapidly, their music is quality and the new stuff sounds awesome I will leave the last words to a man that was roaming round the place at the end of the set. ‘Absolute Pandemonium’ [8] and next up is Parkway Drive! There is excitement, during a tour a few months ago they blew Bring me the Horizon off the stage, and bring me weren’t exactly slouches that night. Can Parkway compare with how good hey were that night? Fuck no, they blow that night away. They are tight and heavy as fuck and every song is played amazingly well and received even better, by the time ‘Boneyards’ is played there is a circle pit going around two guys sitting on deck chairs. ‘Sleepwalker’ sets the place off like no song so far this weekend. ‘Home is for the Heartless’ Is epic and the rubber dingy race is a class idea and set Closer ‘Carrion’ leads to a tirade of crowd surfers, so many that at the end of the set there is no-one left in our area to carry any more. [10]
          So next up is the 2 minutes of Silence for Paul Gray. It is eerie, to say the least and looking around and seeing everyone silent was just a little weird but you could feel the emotion in the arena. Mastodon are up next for me and they play a solid metal set, not many words are said and the music is played well. The songs off ‘Blood Mountain’ shine most but it is a solid set. [7] Next up is Airbourne again another solid performance, Joel O’Keeffe is a crazy frontman, seriously, the last time we saw him he was playing on the railings. This year he is On top of the stage, I mean on top of the actual structure, the man is crazy and more rein the Airbourne for it. [7]
            Sweden have been well represented today and Sweden’s main metal export at the minute, Opeth are here to show what they can do, they have an hour which is a little tragic for them as this means that their set is played by maybe even a quarter. And they aren’t happen, despite that the band are probably the best musicians to play this weekend and the set sounds inch perfect. Unfortunately I don’t think that Opeth are a festival band and their music suits better a closed in area, that said I enjoyed the show. [6]
          I’ve accepted that Limp Bizkit are playing this year and even accepted that I guess I like Limp Bizkit, I would have found it hard to admit before I actually saw this set and sang every word to this off the hook set. I saw every word, my allegiances stop me from singing the chorus to ’Hot Dog’ but you cannot argue with ‘My Generation, Break Stuff or Take A look Around’ and believe me I’ve tried. Even the ridiculous ‘Douchebag’ from the new album brings a smile to my face. And the version of ‘My Way’ takes me on a trip down memory lane. Solid set. [8]
            So now the moment has come, the Return of the former nine, it is the time of Slipknot. There is emotion already, despite the now falling rain people are flocking to see them and standing on stage without a weird being said for what feels like 10 minutes Slipknot are hailed as the current Gods of the metal world. The crowd is weird, there is remorse and sorrow but there is also a feeling of thanks, a feeling of thanking these guys for coming out to play for us tonight, as though for tonight Slipknot are a gift. And tonight they are they present us with a better gift. ‘(sic), Eyeless, Wait and Bleed’ this is how the set starts off, back to the roots and back to the carnage, the crowd are lifted. And are soon singing everything, there’s something speacil about ’Pulse of the Maggots’ here and the chant along choruses of later day Slipknot are bellowed out by Maggots young and old. ‘Duality’ is as you could have guessed something to behold and when the band comeout for the encore people know that they’re going off with a bang. ‘Surfacing’ leaves pretty much half the crowd surfing whilst other just embrace the music. The set ends with the Paul Gray Boiler suit being brought on stage and the tribute to Paul Gray begins, in what feels like hours I see the band literally fall apart on stage whilst there are people around me hugging each other and many, many people collapsing into tears, it is an emotional ending to the set which can be viewed here and I recommend that you do. [9]

          But that would have been a sad way to end the festival so god bless the Cancer Bats, or should I say Bat Sabbath who play a secret set in the tent compromising of Black Sabbath covers played at punk rock speed with the amazing Liam Cormeir doing the vocals in what can only be described as a bin liner cloak and paper mashie cross. Sabbath songs haven’t sounded so alive in years. [8]

Top 5 Bands (So difficult it’s stupid)
5. Lower Than Atlantis
4. Slipknot
3. Gallows
2. Biffy Clyro
1. Parkway Drive

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Download, Part 2. 'Judgement Strikes'

Download Part 2.:-
                 The Review Begins
               After queuing for a while we got in and raced to… the toilet, pristine toilets, what could be better?? After that anyway we strolled around the vast Download site finding where the main stage, second stage, Pepsi Max stage and the others where around the sites, we also decided where our food money was going to be spent on this weekend. Anyway after Vodka Redbull wake up shot it’s time for band one the main stage and the actual beginning of the Download Review. First band on are CKY. I’ve never been a fan to be honest, and I barley know the first line to ’96 Quiet Better Things’ but after their showing at Sonisphere the year before I was sorta looking forward to seeing them again. This time however they don’t manage to even mutter a smile on my face and just seem to turn up, play and leave. And of course the riff for ’96…’ got the heads banging but that’s [3]
           Now we head over to the second stage for a band that we were quite excited about, Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows, also known as D.R.U.G.S have been pretty much everywhere commercially, Kerrang! Have put on endless features about them, they’ve even been mentioned in Metal Hammer a number of times. Even contemporary media sources such as Twitter and Facebook have been advertising them. Also this will be the debut of the band at a British Festival, adding to the buzz around them, Craig Owens is the frontman, so if you’re a fan of Choidoes then I’m sure you’d be excited. Unfortunately I’d only ever heard the name and left it at that. I liked their set at the festival, Craig Owens came out looking all the ‘rockstar’ he appeared to be. And his voice at times was spot-on. I don’t expect a flawless performance from anyone singing that style of music so the lack of screams didn’t disappoint me too much. [8]
          Next up on the second stage were the Young Guns there a weird band for me. I listened to their album last year a few times and loved a number of songs and felt it was a strong album. But then forgot about it, until it came to picking my albums of the year were I remembered just how strong it was so I was looking forward to seeing them and they didn’t disappoint. A good strong performance from the band [7]
          The next band that we saw was Anti-Flag who were making their Download debut, a personal favorite of mine and had then everyone who went to see them singing and jumping, evening throwing in a cover of the Clash at their own show went down well. [7]
          We went on to watch The Damned Things! A band we had been looking forward to marked the third consecutive year that we’ve seen Scott Ian at a festival in three years. They start off slowly and eventually build to a rock stomping finally. The band aren’t on great form and are actually disappointing. [5]
          Next up after a failed attempt to watch Asking Alexandria and one song from Hyro, stand in the crowd for probably the most anticipated sets of the Weekend. Bring Me The Horizon, yes them, finally with the ridiculous hate that is slowly dying down and people realizing that ‘Suicide Season’ is a fantastic album, they are finally getting the credit they deserve. Expectations are high for them, after seeing the at Sonisphere the year previous, and also seeing them support BFMV in Cardiff and pretty much destroying the place on both occasions and being total monsters at their own show. and today there is no difference. At this stage Bring Me! Are playing to their crowd and their skull crushingly heavy songs go down massively, the most repetitive chorus ever of ‘party till you pass out, drink till your dead…’ still goes down massively and everyone knows ‘Blessed with a Curse’ The Friday of Download 2011 belonged to Bring me the Horizon and if you try to take it away from them, I’m Sure ether the band or the people that were there would gladly rip your head off. [9]
          Next up are the band that I’ve secretly been looking forward to all weekend, The return of The Darkness! I don’t care, I Lover ‘Permission to Land’ and I even think ‘One way ticket to Hell… And Back’ has its moments of greatness. So seeing them is something I never thought would happen and so getting as far forward as possible for them excites me as for 45 whole minutes I stomp my foot, bang my head and sing every lyric to every song. [8] I had a great time.
          Bizarrely Def Leppard are playing again this year. I am happy. Granted they played two years previous and to be honest they have a greatest hits set that can’t really be messed around with too much and pretty much writes itself. There I guess, is the problem with their set. How do we give people who saw us two years ago something new whilst playing a greatest hits set to our diehard fans and the fans who have turned up to see the Def Leppard greatest hits set? Their resolve is to play new songs, greatest hits song and also some lesser known cult classics. I enjoyed the band but I feel that a little longer time should have been set before their return as headliners. [7]

           Day two, Saturday: Again its too hot. So hot I woke up in my boxers and had to race outside to get some air. We have a new member now. Again, the brushing of the teeth is a highlight of the morning. We get to the site a little late and miss the Devil Wears Prada who seem good, however I noticed they still manage to thank ‘God’ for their appearance today. I am not a religious bigot, but I think there is a time and place to thank God and I don’t think it should be to rock fans. Not the stereotypical idea that metal fans are Satanists. But it just seems that that never goes down well and feels as though it isolates members of the audience.
           We go to see TRC for the first time, obviously the captain is up for it, and it’s a really good performance from a ban, and captivating especially seeing that we only know one song. [7] we stroll over to see half of Escape the Fate, who despite negative feedback from most reviewers, I found them to be pretty good and enjoyed what I saw and heard. [7]
            Next up, probably my band of the weekend, and if you’ve ever seen them you will completely understand why. Skindred. Nothing more needs to be said at all. In all honesty a fantastic showing from the most under-rated band on the planet who are finally getting the push they deserve. Benji is a fantastic front-man and has the crowd there bang in his hand. [9]
            Now is the time of devastation. I’d like to thank Gill and Beeze at the former Metal Hammer Podcast for introducing me to Letlive. We just get in in time to see Ed McRae from Your Demise jump off the stage and another band member yell ‘Ed’ followed by Letlive. Fontman Jason Butler come through the crowd to get on stage, and then get almost get dragged off by a security member. That’s how the set opens with Carnage, and nothing changes, with an insane opener of ‘Renegade 86’ and an emotionally charged ‘Muther’ and ending with ridiculous rendition of ‘Casino Columbus’ it’s one of the sets if not the set of the weekend. [9]
             After that we are shattered and don’t see how any band could match what we’ve just seen, which is unfortunate for Your Demise, another band I was really looking forward to seeing, but despite standing back to catch my breath it’s still a strong set from the hardcore mob who are joined by Jason on stage and the Devil Wears Prada singer. [7]
          The final band we see this weekend in the ‘Pepsi Max’ tent stage thing are a band that just breed devastation. Trash Talk too me are a dangerous band, and I love it, ‘Eyes and Nines’ was one of my favorite albums last year and when I watched them in Cardiff I thought I was gonna loose a few teeth. Her is No different, if not, more lethal, frontman Lee is pissed because the Download security won’t let him in the crowd, so instead he spends the entire set on the rail. The place is carnage, there is even a girl in the front row who is bleeding. The set ends with Lee getting people to run up and down the center of the tent. It was funny to watch the crowd part. Mental show. [8]
           Before we move on I would just like to point say that on the way out of the tent we saw journalist Terry Beezer and and when my mate mentioned the word ‘Let…’ and broad smile followed by the words ‘Were fuckin insane’ and a thumbs up. Just letting you know how manic it was.
            Next up for us were Avenged Sevenfold, I have a love hate relationship with Avenged, I loved Nightmare and consider it to be their best album, seeing as I only like a few selected sons from the self-titled album and ‘City of Evil’ and consider ‘Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet’ to be one of the worst albums I’ve ever heard. So I’m really looking forward to seeing them. And the set is full of the main songs I like from avenged’s catalogue. But there’s just something that’s stopping me from saying that this is a great performance. M. Shadows actually surprised me with how good he actually was as a singer but for me the vocals still seem detached from the actual music. That said I sang along to every word and found a new level of respect for the band. [8]
            I can tell you that I was excited to see every band this weekend, and I was, but probably none as much as tonight’s head liners. System of a Down. A brief history, the first ‘Metal’ album that I got that wasn’t an Ozzy or Maiden album was ‘Hypnotize’ Until then I had only been listing to 80’s maiden, Black Sabbath, Ozzy and then Boom ‘Attack’ came on my stereo, it was so loud, so fast, so heavy that I instantly hated it. But gave it a few more listens to it and found that System were a band that scared me. ‘Holy Mountains’ made me fear for nuclear war whilst ‘Soldier Side’ was a harrowing song that upset me to listen to. and since then I’ve gone on to Love System of a Down, Toxicity is with me as well as many thousands of people one of m is with me as well as many thousands of people one of my favorite albums of all time. And when they broke up I was gutted and when I saw they were playing Download I decided right there and then I was going despite what other bands were playing.
           And they were not a let-down, I know that things between the band are strained and sometimes looking up and seeing them half the time not even interacting as a normal band do sort of diminished the mood. But people just didn't care, this was the first time in 5 years people were going to hear these songs live (and what could be the last time). Serj is a great frontman switching between vocals with seemingly little problems and his little speech at the end of ‘Aerials’ brings a shudder to the spine. Shavo is having a hell of a time whilst Daron is being Daron, dressed in his finest suit and hat. And a excitable version of ‘Toxicity’ has people arm in arm singing along. [9]
              The night ends and everyone is happy with the day, we decide that for us there aren’t many bands we want to see so choose to get drunk instead which leads to a stupid amount of pizza consumption. At this time its worth mentioning that me phone is a trooper, it is a year and 6 months old, held together with tape so the back doesn’t fall out and usually dies within 3 days, now it’s in its 4th day of use and is needed on the 6th day to wake us up to catch the bus home. Tomorrow the strain would be felt as my mum rang and rayer and his dad decided to have a nice little catch up on it as well.

             Day 3, Sunday: We awake on Sunday to rain, and not just rain, a fuckin shedload of it, seriously if you told me it was a monsoon I would have totally believed you, so we get dressed hoping it would pass, and head to the arena, drinking tea to warm up and nachos with spicey sauce in a vain attempt to increase body heat, that fails miserably. Suicide Silence on the other hand don’t seem to have any trouble and at 11 in the morning make me feel as though the day may not be so rough after all [7]
           We try and sit through Biohazard but were cold and decide to stand in the game room and wait for Malefice. Who despite the weathery conditions put on a good show and try to get the crowd moving. I’ll admit I'm not a Malefice fan so my first view of them is probably not the best especially seeing as they play most stuff off the new album. [7]
            And now we give up, Ray decides to go home and we go back to the tent for heat which leads to us sitting around for a while. We are drenched, and it takes close to an hour just to change clothes, lose track of time and accidently miss Kvelertak which is gutting as we turn up to see the frontman bare chest trying to get in the crowd. We wait and watch Gwar who are funny but just bad, I don’t know what it is with me and comedy in music, I just don’t think it should go together unless it is specifically designed to be comedy music, if you understand what I'm saying, Gwar at times entertaining though. [5]
            We then go see The Gaslight Anthem, a band my mate is a fan of but I can take or leave and at the time I don’t care if I see them or not. But after the show, I realize missing them would have been gutting, they are a rare gem in a day of mediocre bands playing to day. But that’s my opinion. Interation with the crowd is amongst the best I’d seen and the singer, you could tell, really wanted to be there, which instantly gained the respect of the stone-cold crowd. [8]
             And in a 180, Disturbed, again I don’t care too much for the band, but on a day like today I was looking forward to them. The thing that spoiled them, besides the weather, were the band themselves. There was just nothing, the band members played their instruments and David Draiman, tried and I enfersise the word tried to sing his part. They are a massive let down and my most disappointing band of the weekend. Seeing that I left after a few songs it would be unfair for me to rate them, but I will say disappointing. So I went back to the tent and sat and dried off. And got warm with extra, extra layers of clothes.
              I get back in the arena to watch the end of BFMV and then go to see Rob Zombie, the only real reason I’m still here on the Sunday. And by fuck the band are class. There are lights, insane stage set up’s, Zombie himself is a hell of a lot more energetic than I would have ever imagined. The set is probably the brightest thing I’ve ever seen and the back drop and sections of the movies are class. Zombie songs are simple, but t doesn’t matter, there huge with massive choruses that anyone can sing along to,  a fantastic way to end the weekend. [10]

My top 5 of the weekend
5. System of a Down
4. LetLive
3. Skindred
2. Bring me the Horizon
1. Rob Zombie

Download, Part 1. 'The Road I Must Travel'

           Download Part 1.

                 It’s fitting that whatever choice you make in life that there is at least one place or occasion that lets you know that you have made it to where you’ve always wanted to be. It’s not just choice, religions tell you to live your life well and you will be rewarded with a place in heaven. And that’s surely where all Christians want to be? So what has this random waffle got to do with anything at all? Surprisingly this is how I chose to start off my preview/review/overview of the Download Festival
           So if everything has its ‘Mecca’ where is it for rock music? All hands point to Donington and for me, Donington is the home of the music that I love. Okay this is for more reason than one, its not just me saying it, the place is swarmed with history. It is the home of the first rock/heavy metal festival, in 1980. There is significance in the line up that year for me; it was headlined by Rainbow, although by then without the phenomenon known as Ronnie James Dio. Also on the bill were Judas Priest, two giants who are no longer with us in reality, Dio’s tragic passing last year signaled for me the beginning of the end of the ‘Classic’ Heavy Metal that first got me into music.
           In just a few weeks Priest will play probably their last headline festival slot as well as play their final U.K. shows. It puts into perspective just how blessed heavy rock and metal has been with stars that were at the top of their game 31 years ago are going out with maximum respect.
           Further proof that Donington is the home of heavy rock and metal in the 1980’s and 90’s the site featured bands such as AC/DC, Ozzy, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Metallica and KISS. Despite the festival growing in popularity, in 1997 the Donington Monsters of Rock Festival was cancelled.
           In 2003 heavy metal and rock came home to Donington, this time under the name of the Download Festival, the name chosen because it seemed to rebel against the term ‘Downloading’ which was and still is a dirty word to the music industry, the festival was meant to be ‘Monsters of Rock for the 21st Century, and featured a more varied line up including punk bands such as Murderdolls and Less than Jake, American Nu-Metal bands like Deftones and Disturbed, and also breaking through British bands like Funeral for a Friend and the Darkness. This was the first Download to be held over two days and hold two stages, over the years the ‘Download Festival’ grew in popularity managing to attract headline acts such as Metallica, Slipknot and to show that the festival had not lost touch with its roots, in 2005, the Saturday had been named ‘Ozzfest 2005’ and was headlined by Black Sabbath.
           So there is a brief summery of why this festival at this location is the place to be, but despite this, I have another reason, Download 2006, it was not only the first festival I’d ever heard of but it was also the first time I remember being desperate to go to, therefore its where my personal journey to Donington began. Looking back the line-up for me at least is still mouthwatering,
           Okay so I’m never going to be a massive Tool fan, however offer Metallica to a 13 or 14 year old metal head and their gonna wet themselves. (Its 2011, I’m 19, I’m going to see Metallica for the second time in a few weeks and that plays on my mind, so nothing really changes.) and to finish off the headliners, Guns N’ Roses. Okay with the benefit of hindsight, age and experience it wasn’t going to work for them, although despite knowing what I know now and knowing it this time last year, I was still busy making plans to try and see them at Reading. Its Guns N’ Fuckin Roses, you can’t argue with tracks like Welcome to the Jungle, Civil War and November Rain, even if ‘Fatty’ Rose does insist on trying to shit all over them.
           It wasn’t just the headliners, the under card featured most of my favorite bands, and it is interesting tracking some of those bands progress over the years, Both BFMV and Avenged played then and this year were both sub headliners, along with FFAF headlining the Third stage. It was Alice in Chain’s return of the UK. Since their reunion and have since released an album and toured the UK. Alter Bridge who headlined the second stage at the time is just about to start a massive UK. Arena tour, and there aren’t many rock or metal bands capable of that at the moment.
           Throughout the years my desire to be apart of it grew, despite knowing I couldn’t go because of age issues and exams and such and such I would still openly debate the festival and its performers. The following year Download just fed my ambition to go by putting a live stream of the festival so you could watch the majority of the bands playing. It was sickening at times watching Machine Head put in the performance of a lifetime, Papa Roach destroy the place, Lamb of God change my mind on them completely, getting called a ‘Dork’ by Corey Taylor, Howard Jones of KSE getting into the crowd, and watching my favorite band Iron Maiden play songs I thought I’d never see them play. (Children of the Damned is still a tune)
           Anyone that knows anything about the 2008 Download knows it had a bit of an off year, well I figure that anyway, Still given half the chance I’d have been there singing along with ‘Between the Hammer and the Anvil’ (I don’t know if Priest played it but its still my favorite song). H.I.M Would have fuelled my gothic desires that I held at the time and nothing would have given me more pleasure than to destroy myself on Sunday watching Caverlera Conspiracy.
           Download 2009, not only for me, but for the festival itself, I had Sonisphere to go to, a festival that was out of the school term, away from exams, buried deep enough in the holidays that by the time it came around my bored would have doubled my enthusiasm to just go and do something. Download, to me at least, saw the beginning threat of Sonisphere and changed, no longer would it just be a music festival with a collection of alternative bands.
           From now on, the Download festival would be an event. Reuniting Faith No More and playing them on the same stage as Korn, KSE, and a returning Limp Bizkit. (I’ll admit, I’m not a massive fan but even I go Ape Shit for ‘Break Stuff’) also Slipknot, Manson, Down, Dream Theater and Def Leppard. This was perhaps Downloads greatest ever line-up and to add insult to injury, the Live Stream was back and I found it impossible not to watch every band that I’ve just mentioned. It became apparent after the Slipknot performance that this was the place where bands give there all.
           Last years Download continued with the Events, AC/DC? Yes please, just to say I have. Aerosmith? If you don’t mind, just to say I have, Rage Against the Machine? I think you get the picture. For me it wasn’t their greatest line-up, however you can’t argue wit those bands, nor bands like the Cancer Bats, Lamb of God, the Dillinger Escape Plan and Deftones amongst others.
           So what I’ve basically tried to do so far in my very lame way is try to show that this festival does actually mean a lot to me, as a person, as a sign of my musical progression, the bands it emphasis are some that mean the most to me in the world.
           So now it’s 7.30 in the AM on Wednesday the 8th of June 2011, and here I am, shaking with excitement, under prepared as ever, with a backpack that’s got everything in it that isn’t nailed down (a complaint at the time, as you will see, it just goes to show that your mother always knows best) sitting outside my local CooP to meet my mate and we’re going to get picked up and taken to Swansea to catch a bus all the way to Download. A trip to Swansea that was organized 8 and a half hours ago.
          I say I’m under prepared, that’s not really true, we do have a tent, two sleeping bags, beer, vodka, crisps a copy of Kerrang! and Metal hammer, one phone that’s unusable due to it having a smashed screen, one phone that’s being held together with insulating tape, and a pink backup phone which hasn’t been used in two year and lets you know about it when you try to use the fucker, therefore useless, shoes that have got more holes in them than the Albert Hall (Beatles anyone?), a patch under my chin where I missed shaving, my mums already had to take my mate back to his house because he forgotten his ID, I’m told she almost killed an old woman a disability scooter thing during the process and where waiting for a lift to Swansea that I organized my mate who I swear was drunk at the time.
           So not only am I nervous but I’m also apprehensive that he’s going to turn up, and when my quoted time of 8.25 leads to us sitting in the cold at 8.45 it really does nothing for my nerves. But things like these aren’t meant to run to plan, that would take away from the fun, if everything went to plan, then right there in my back pocket would have my crumpled piece of paper full of scribbled down stage splits and set times. Obviously its not there and Boom a car just parked right in front of us. I know it’s the car I’m meant to load my shit into yet, for some reason I remain sitting, I don’t think I’ll ever understand why I did that but that’s a side not, the lift turned up and it’s time to go.
          The ride up is quiet, I haven’t woken up before at least 10.30 in almost a year, adding insult to injury I don’t think I’ve woken up before 7.50 since probably my third year of secondary school, I wish I was joking, but nope. So needless to say I’m tired, I know my mates car that I’m in that he was out the night before so he’s not in the mood to chat. So 40 minutes of almost complete silence, which had me in giggles just for the awkwardness. Finally we get there, my mates mum drops us off and we camp in Swansea bus station talking random shit until the bus comes.
          Its arrival is met with what can only be described really as that scene at the beginning of the lion king when everyone flocks to see Simba, suddenly all these people turn up to look at the bus, getting stuff on these things is always fun, and today its even better, we have a bus gremlin, some guy who went in to put his stuff together is now being bombarded with other peoples bags, poor fella, yet rather him than me. Its at this time I should mention that during out ‘talking random shit’ period in the bus stop the guy that gave us the lift told us that he had to change his bus time to get on this one and has instead of having a ‘normal’ bus ticket actually has written out on a folded piece of paper, made funnier by the fact that his mum did it, and his words to the bus driver ‘yeah my mum did it, she told me it would be fine’ which I think is just cute, 19 and still dependant, I can’t say much as the night before my mum actually packed my bag. So it turns out he has to go on another bus so it’s back to the two of us for the next few hours.
          The journey is filled with random banter about McDonalds food, the expected cues to get into the campsite and my joke telling, which constantly falls on deaf ears because apparently my jokes ‘require to much thinking’ and when I refer to a collection of Emos as a ‘Isobar of Emos, because they are linked by their depression (yeah geography jokes ftw/stolen from Ed Byrne) I get told to just stop the rest of the journey is me sleeping and for some reason listening to Use Your Illusion. According to my Ipod, the bus stops about 3.05ish and were in the camp site by 4. Task 1. Get there—Complete, Task 2. Find the people we know begins. The first time this weekend the insulated ‘hero’ phone is used, why hero? You’ll again find out later.
          Again, no planning has taken part, so when were told there in the Red camp site, it really doesn’t help us at all, and just leads to disagreements of where the hell that site actually is, but eventfully we find it, I again ring to tell them that were by the Red camping sign only for them to say there by the Red camping sign, which is worrying, its only taken us like 15 minutes to find this one Red camp site and the prospect of looking for another one is enduring, but I decide to just run down the hill and happily find them. Its at this time out only laid plan of camping with my other mates falls apart as one of the guys we meet there refuses to sleep next to the ‘spider den’ named after he saw one solitary spider. So the new trio decide to try and find somewhere else, which we did, a pretty wide space with enough room for about 5 tents, luckily we have two, a two man tent and a one man tent.
          The tent putting up part may hinder folk, however we are now veterans to the tent putting up experience had gone through the exercise just days before to remember how to do it, because as soon as the poles are put in it starts to hammer down with rain. So the pegs are hurriedly put in my mate we’ll call him Greg, gets into the tent quickly followed by our two sleeping bags, 4 bags and my other mates (which we’ll call Ray), pop up tent which opens inside ours resulting tears streaming down my face. The rain soon stops and the sun comes out.
           We decide that a its time to look around so we took a brisk walk of the village and tried to make our way to the arena to see it and back again, a walk which anyone who has visited Download will know is shattering on your first run. We get back to our tents and my memory begins to get hazy I believe I went to the toilet and came back to find the other guys we were meant to camp with sitting around our tent, so drinking ensues. The already lack of food is apparent as Greg seems to be off after a few cans and a couple of mouthfuls of Vodka. Not to much is remembered after this point, although it was about 6.30ish at this point and I crawled into bed at 2.30.
          What I can remember is the ride that Greg made everyone go on, despite hating going on rides and not realizing this until the safety harnesses came down. The rock Karaoke, and Tuborg being only £3, ohh yeah and spending a shed load that opening night, I ended up back at the Karaoke tent listing to power ballads and dancing with some people to Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart’ until the place closed at 2 in the morning. The last thing of that night I remember is getting back to my tent and seeing Greg asleep in my good sleeping bag. The night ends with him punching me in his sleep, which was seen as role reversal, as that was sort of my trademark thing of doing for a while.
              Day 2 and I am awoken by Grass sitting at the end of the tent and offering me a croissant, I passed but could hear Ray laughing, so I got out of the tent and got told that the reason that Grass was in my sleeping bag the night before was because he had come back to the tent and couldn’t find his croissant. In which I got the blame for not being there, and he figured as the perfect revenge he would sleep in my bag. Only to find the quassone’s in the morning. An entertaining start to one of the funniest days of my life, and getting out of the tent and sitting in the grass outside it with the sun out seemed like the instant cure for my hangover, which I usually get bad, this weekend just dissipated within an hour. Its Thursday so there’s still no music being played today so again we have nothing really to look forward too, Except for the 6- A Side football tournament at 11ish ( my memory fails me of the exact time) but we’ve got three hours until then so I leave to go to the toilet. Along the way I walk into my mates boy-friend who after a few good mornings asked me if I got punched last night. Then the memory comes flooding back to me. Turns out I did by Grass in his sleep. A story instantly spread amongst his camp. So I went in search for there camp couldn’t find it so returned home.
             I can’t remember what happened next but I remember grabbing a can and going to watch the football matches. A section of this is getting written 3 months after Download so some memory’s are blurry. I think there were 20 teams. A mixed of people who had been entered into this 6-A side football game. We turn up about half an hour before the tournament beings so whilst they do there ‘warm up’ consisting of kicking the ball at the keeper all three of us decide to choose a team to win, my decision was already made for me the night before. I had got talking to a guy who was playing in an Inter Milan style shirt who was playing for a cancer charity. So we all had teams.
              Again only some parts of the tournament are remembered, like how small the goal posts are and how some teams have taken is ‘seriously’ with proper kits, shin pads, socks, shorts… headbands. Whilst others have blatantly just woken up. Wearing ¾’s a band shirt and a hangover. It has the potential to be a messy morning and to be fair the standard isn’t great but it’s enjoyable. There are three really stand out teams, one in whit kits who’s captain has taken it really seriously and come to the tourement looking like a rat, I mean Lee Bowyer, a team called ‘Gayfist’, wearing mankinis, definitely something Arsenal should take note of, and finally a team we can’t remember nicknamed by us  as team ‘Feed The Fuckin Rhino’
           Well there is obviously a point to this story, and its conclusion is this, during the second round of games. Team ‘Feed The Fuckin Rhino’ are playing. This team need/deserve a description. Firstly they got their name from their captain, a ‘built’ guy with long hair, wearing a ‘Feed The Fuckin Rhino’ t-shirt, yes that’s how they got that nickname so there are other members always but none more memorable than a guy we have now nicknamed, the ‘Immortal’ Father Time. ‘again I came up with that nickname, I’m not bragging, but if I ever write a Sonisphere 09 review you’ll understand the nickname significance) So you may or may not have figured that ‘Father Time’ is an elderly gent, shall we say, he’s I’m guessing in his late 50’s, long hair, in  shorts and t-shirt ready to play football. When we first saw him we decided he was going to play in goals, nope the trooper was like a Paulo Maldini, or a errr, David Weir at the back line of their defense.
          So that team managed to get into the second round of games. Now throughout this game and the previous one ‘Father Time’ has yet to move out of defense. All this was about to change, A poor cross field ball from the opposing midfielder drifted the ball into the path of our hero, who gathered the ball, and looked up and from where we sat could see his eyes light up with excitement as he realized, here he was on the right side half way line, with the ball, with no defenders in front of him and only the keeper to beat. The atmosphere around the pitch changes and suddenly there is excitement as the old-timer seems destined to score, he dribbles forward and the crowd begin to egg him on. I’m not going to lie, it’s not a Rooney style sprint, more Berbatov when he has to go back and defend. Anyhow he’s one on one with the keeper as he breaks into the little keeper box from the right, and now the keeper comes out and the chance is wasted.
            Anyone who watches football knows that sometimes players collide or just avoid each other by mere inches, well the keeper goes down to gather the ball, unfortunately ‘Father Time’ doesn’t have the reaction’s to avoid him and they both clatter in to each other, in almost cartoon like effect as both bodies spiral and roll around on the floor. It was something that had to be seen to believed and as I already mentioned, my sense of humor lead me to burst out laughing, happily I wasn’t alone, it was a minute after when I consoled myself that I noticed ‘Farther Times’ Raised in the air, I guessed  that he had just had the air knocked out of him, unfortunately not. The poor fella’s knee was three times the size it normally was and I could see that half-way across the pitch.
          A mixed section of the story, I laughed at the time and still do, but I realize how gutting that must have been for the old guy to have glory snatched away from you in a horrible twist of fate, and end up leaving the campsite in the back of a paramedic buggy. That said he did have a standing ovation and even milked the applause a little, and deservingly so.
             So after the football ends the usual hunt for which substance is going to make our bowls collapse begins. This year we found wedges to be particularly deadly. So we returned to the tent and then heard a massive scream, I’m not joking, a woman behind us heard it. Ray came screaming out of his tent, we first thought he’d been stung by a bee or wasp, but no, it was plain to see the problem, his leg was raw red with sunburn and it prevented him from sitting down properly, an early warning sign for the rest of the weekend. Either way our kind neighbors offered him some cream for it, and just to make sure he took a handful. We later found that they felt pity for us cause we seemed sorta useless, which isn’t too far from the truth, and so the rest of the afternoon was spent sitting there, by the tent chatting to each other and drinking.
          The afternoon also brought along another problem. No Beer. A tragic moment that turned into something special. We decided to buy festival beer because Tesco’s was miles away and didn’t want to lug the beer all the way back. Happily Download’s beer was… Tuborg. So we had drunk it the night previous but we weren’t in the right state to remember what it tasted like, so when we opened can number 1. And since that moment has become choice number 1. We went back to our tent and met some girl who told me that Wednesday 13 the band suck, but Murderdolls were good, a personal insult however made funny when she mentioned that Murderdollls were good cause Joey was in the band and he was hot. So obviously she worked for Kerrang! And I decided to be nice to her.
         Now, induced by alcohol we decided we were gonna so searching for some other mates and this started a tour of the campsite which lead to being hugged by morph suit men, getting into a debate about Maiden and Metallica and Greg telling everyone he could about going to see ‘TRC’ then starting a chant of ‘The Revolution Continues’ The hunt failed however it did include my first dropkick of the weekend (a little trademark because I have no body mass it’s just easier for me to do that) followed by the People’s Elbow to Ray, and the guy had no idea what was happening. The hunt was called off when we found someone who went to my university and we decided that was the best that was going to happen. We got back to the tent and ended up talking to people near us and then all I remember is sitting at a table singing Stone Sour’s ‘Through Glass’
                  I was awoken a few times during the night but the best awakening was from Greg talking in his sleep, when I listened fully I heard him say, ‘Yeah we’ll go down at like 1, Aint to fussed about CKY but Bring Me’s going to be class…’ I shit you not the boy was talking about the Friday plan in his sleep. I don’t remember much about Friday morning until I brushed my teeth. It was a fantastic feeling, and anyone who was at the fountains doing it instantly felt more alive. Then we embarked on our long as fuck trek to the download arena. Which we got to an hour early and decided to pass the time by playing the A-Z game. Where you pick a subject and think of an answer beginning with that letter, for example if the subject was fruit A would be Apple, and then someone else would have to think of a fruit beginning with A. 7
              For some reason we choose countries a task which did last 45 minutes and my G.C.S.E in Geography failed me. The game ended when grass started laughing and pointing, when we turned around we say three guys dressed up, one as Ghostface, one as Captain America and one as Iron Man. When they got close laughing ended but Iron Man kept walking and kicked me right in the back. Obviously worry hits me and I begin to think if I’ve offended him some-way. But my troubles fade when he takes off his mask to reveille it was the guy who gave us the lift to Swandea. He would later be acknowledged by Duff McKegan.