Download Festival 2008 - Castle Donington, England, 14th June 2008

Event: Download Festival 2008
Written by: Baz Anderson
Published: 18.06.2008


Download Festival - Castle Donington, England, 13th-15th June 2008 by Baz Anderson (168)

The second day brought sunshine into our lives once again, all the little bits of paper from the Kiss set had been cleaned from the floor and it was time for a new day.

Annotations Of An Autopsy kicked off my day on the second stage. These guys play a death metal that is not too fast and it is full of breakdowns and really heavy chuggy riffs. Too many breakdowns and slow sections did dampen the set and the band's music in general however but they put on a good enough show to make sure we were all awake and prepared for the day. The blastbeats in the music are too uncommon, it was death metal but not the way I like it.

On the main stage next were deathcore band Job For A Cowboy that have a large following of their ultra-modern sound. Their music is rather technical and fast, full of frantic drumming but nothing shined live. The band delivered a totally forgettable half an hour set that I even overheard other people talk about being not very impressive. The huge festival audience probably is not the best audience for this kind of technical deathcore debauchery.

Death metal band Trigger The Bloodshed were on the Gibson stage in the huge tent next after watching the terrible end of previous pop-punk band Mexicolas. Apart from the vocalists Job For A Cowboy shirt, all band members had good bands on their shirts, which is always a good sign for a young death metal band. Trigger The Bloodshed were the best of the day so far, even if the drummer looked a little emo with his side parting he could definitely play the drums. An onslaught of blastbeating and quality death metal blasted out from the Gibson stage and satisfied my death metal urge leaving us all feeling prepared for anything the festival could throw at us.

That is apart from Madina Lake who many people around the festival questioned why on earth they were on the main stage. Okay I didn't go to watch their set but to meet friends instead but I swallowed a few songs of contemporary commercial punky rock in the process and it didn't taste good.

It was at this time that the advantages of a festival such as the Download festival has over full metal festivals become clearly apparent. No bands to watch meant limbs and back could have a well earned rest, but not after exploring the shops and purchasing an ice cream to enjoy the sun and relax with. As metal fans we only look at the line-up of a festival and judge its worth on that, which for Download festival if you are a true metalhead and would prefer to go to a more full-on metal festival is not a good idea. What is missed though from the list of bands is the atmosphere and the friendly feeling of being in a good place, like a metal theme park for adults with everything you could want there for you. Time to relax is always a good thing.

But Amon Amarth put an end to the relaxing with a too-short half hour set on the second stage of their melodic death metal. I say it every time, but these Amon Amarth guys are so hard working and are always either touring or writing and recording an album. Songs from the new album "Asator", "Runes To My Memory" and "Cry Of The Black Birds" always get played and always sound great. It has to be said that the sound quality of all the stages at the Download festival were the best I have heard at any festival. The sound was always so full and chunky and this came right out with Amon Amarth and their double bass drumming chugging along. The usual suspects were played but after not long it was unfortunately home time for the vikings.

The inquisitive wait for Ace Frehley next seemingly did not last long, as Ace took to the stage with his band and a backdrop of his rockets. Having both Ace Frehley and Kiss at the same festival was an interesting move, it makes me wonder what kind of talk they had backstage but also enables me to say I have seen three of the four original members of Kiss. Ace took the stage with no facepaint, there were no gimmicks here and no frills. He was out to play real rock 'n' roll, and real rock 'n' roll that he wrote himself even if it had been played the night before by Kiss. "Parasite" kicked off the set, followed by the simply amazing "Cold Gin" and "Love Gun" as well as "Shock Me" and "Rocket Ride" among a few others. It did not matter one bit that we had seen a lot of these songs played by Kiss the night before, if anything it made them better to hear them again. Ace got his guitar smoking to put on a bit of a show, and with a no frills attitude concluded a highly impressive set. If ever I get the opportunity to see Ace Frehley again I will definitely take it.

It soon became apparent why the two fresh faces of the young girls stood with me at the front had waited through the Ace set looking quite bemused, and that was for the phenomenon that is Pendulum that has this country gripped at the moment. Pendulum are a very electronic drum & bass group that have had big success here in the charts recently. The festival did not have any audience as crazy as this one with so many people jumping up and down and screaming and waving arms in the air as if they were at some rave. It shows how much interest is in this group when I am also down there watching this show and apart from the young screaming girls the set was a very interesting, extremely loud and enjoyable one. It does get a little repetitive after a while but there is so much bass there and the electronic elements really make this group something different it is hard not to enjoy just a little bit. A good set but one has to wonder how long this will stay interesting and popular for, because in the one forty-five minute set I watched, the same bits kept coming around and around again.

But anyway, it was enough of the non-metal nonsense and it was time for the trek from one side of the festival ground to the other for the Gibson stage where English legends Saxon were set to play. This was my fourth time seeing Saxon but I have never heard an audience shout for Saxon like this Download audience did here. "Saxon... Saxon... Saxon..." so loudly before the band even took the stage and in-between seemingly every song. The band recognised this was something great and told us they played with Metallica in Germany last week but this experience was better than that. Saxon, like Judas Priest played at the very first Donington festival of Monsters Of Rock in 1980 and so again, this must have been an experience for the band. Electricity was in the air for Saxon tonight as they started their set with "Atila The Hun" and also "Let Me Feel Your Power" from the new album, a lot of old songs were played however such as the great "Motorcycle Man" and "Princess Of The Night", "Heavy Metal Thunder" also found its way to the surface. The band finished with the song they wrote about playing at that very first Monsters Of Rock, that is "And The Bands Played On" to finish such an intense show that again, finished way too soon. As long as Saxon has an audience like this at Donington I can guarantee they will keep coming back as many times as they can, this was the best I have seen Saxon perform and definitely the most intense.

Headlining the Gibson stage this night were American thrash legends Testament and seemed genuinely humbled to be here telling us how long it had taken them to finally reach Donington. Testament always fire the audience up, there is always so much movement when they are on the stage, there is never a quiet moment. With the new album out a few songs from that made their way onto the setlist and sounded even better live than on CD such as "More Than Meets The Eye" and "Henchman Ride" which is about people who like to ride motorbikes. The set included a number of Testament favourites such as "Into The Pit" that sends the entire room crazy and "Practice What You Preach". Sing along "Alone In The Dark" is also included but perhaps the impressive Saxon set was still in our minds to appreciate Testament to the full. Still, the main audience seemed to love the band and after their hour set was up everyone wanted more. Unfortunately time was passing too fast and this was the end of the second day also.

Friday, 13/06/08 / Saturday, 14/06/08 / Sunday, 15/06/08


Written on 18.06.2008 by Member of Staff since 2006.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 120 users
18.06.2008 - 23:22
Wish I could have seen Testament!
19.06.2008 - 08:10
i'm surprised pendulum was there. they've been massively popular in the electronic scene in the states for quite a few years now. would've been cool to see them thrown in the mix with a bunch of huge metal bands.
21.06.2008 - 23:34
Bad English
Amon Amarth, testamenta nd saxon shood be in one stage, I love those bands
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
08.08.2008 - 19:29
*sigh* testament with skolnick *sigh again*

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