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FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Download Festival 2017

Download Festival, the Goliath of the UK festival circuit is now only three weeks away and the annual festival at Donnington Park is set to bring another weekend stacked with countless bands across the expansive umbrella of rock music. From classic world stars, the heaviest of metal, crowd-pleasers and breakthrough acts, 2017’s edition of Download Festival has something for everyone who has an ear for rock music. With such a extensive lineup, choosing who to watch at this year’s festival can be difficult but fear not! Distorted Sound has broken down the lineup to give you an extensive preview into this year’s extravaganza with a particular focus on the host of exciting bands that are breaking through and are truly worth a watch! So, read on and get planning on who you want to watch at Download Festival 2017!

Friday 9 June:

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – Main Stage

The American metallers have spent just over a decade making a reputation for their no nonsense, angry lyrics that unashamedly discuss everything from capitalism to Jekyll And Hyde. Fast paced mayhem, with no cares given is the forecast for their performance, with a high chance of anger. Their Download Festival performances typically involve inviting children from the crowd to join them on stage – causing many envious fans. They are known to inspire energetic audiences and dynamic pits. Their latest album, Got Your Six, released in 2015 has been called the most brutal of their discography.

Words: Dean Martin

BARONESS – Zippo Encore Stage

Making an appearance at this year’s festival is American doom legends, BARONESS. After their success with Purple in 2015, the band kept busy – touring and working hard despite the trauma that members John Baizley, Allen Blickle, Matt Maggioni and Pete Adams had undergone after the tour bus crash in 2012. This tragedy only seems to have fuelled the band into producing more innovative, more progressive material, motivating them to take a different direction with their music. The band typically plays classics from The Blue Record such as A Horse Called Golgotha, Bullhead’s Lament as well as Cocainium, Little Things and March to the Sea from their Blue Record. However, their arguably most accomplished track, that was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance is their Purple track, Shock Me. One to watch indeed!

Words: Winona McCormick

KROKODIL – The Dogtooth Stage

KROKODIL might be a band further down your festival radar, but if you’re around Friday and want something a little less established, you could be in for a real treat. Heavy Metal at it’s freshest, guttural vocals, beats that will have your head banging without you really realising it, KROKODIL have bags of energy, and a ferocious bite that will certainly have you in the Download mood. Riffs are heavy, the band has a powerful sound that does not mess around. For those looking for a something more up and coming, and somewhat more unique from their festival experience, check them out!

Words: Laura McCarthy

VENOM PRISON – The Dogtooth Stage

Arguably one of the bands leading the charge for British metal today, VENOM PRISON come to Download Festival with an intent to leave The Dogtooth Stage in ashes. Still in support of their monstrous debut, AnimusVENOM PRISON‘s blend of extreme metal and hardcore results in an utterly explosive sound that will have heads banging aplenty! Expect slick riffing, whirlwind drumming and a monstrous vocal performance from frontwoman Larissa Stupar. Definitely one to check out if you have an ear for the extreme!

Words: James Weaver

CODE ORANGE – The Avalanche Stage

CODE ORANGE have had an astonishing year so far. Releasing Forever to critical acclaim, a successful spot supporting GOJIRA alongside being billed as support for SYSTEM OF A DOWN, momentum is certainly in the band’s corner. CODE ORANGE come to Download will an intent to leave a lasting impression and sure enough, with their spot on this year’s Avalanche Stage, the foundations will tremble as the band’s explosive take on hardcore and power violence will result in a warzone at Donnington. Brace yourselves because CODE ORANGE will take no prisoners!

Words: James Weaver

EXODUS – The Dogtooth Stage (HEADLINER)

With a career that spans nearly four decades, veteran thrashers EXODUS headline The Dogtooth Stage at this year’s Download Festival and will surely give an adrenaline-pumping performance. With slick riffing and a flurry of metal anthems to get the crowd moving, EXODUS offers a heavier alternative to the other Friday headliners. An expansive and decorated discography certainly helps and EXODUS will deliver blow after blow in what will surely be a triumphant headlining performance at Download Festival.

Words: James Weaver

NORTHLANE – Main Stage

After a period in the wilderness, NORTHLANE stunned the alternative world through the surprise release of Mesmer back in March. With enough time for fans to digest the new material, the Australian metallers come to Download and will open the main stage on the Friday; an impressive feat of the band’s success so far. Whilst this is certainly no easy task, Marcus Bridge and co. will surely deliver a set of mind-bending riffs, intricate melodies and gut-punching breakdowns to shake off the hangovers and get people set for a day packed with rock music!

Words: James Weaver

HOLDING ABSENCE – The Dogtooth Stage

Despite only being active as a band for a mere six month, Welsh metal crew HOLDING ABSENCE are bursting at the seams with momentum. Coming to Download with only two singles may trigger some alarm bells but make no mistake, HOLDING ABSENCE will give a performance that will ignite The Dogtooth Stage. Expect a performance of real energy, one which showcases the excitement behind this promising band in British metal.

Words: James Weaver

Saturday 10 June

CREEPER – Main Stage

It’s difficult to think of a band who’ve had a more anticipated Main Stage debut at Download Festival than CREEPER. The Southampton sextet have exploded in popularity over the last year following a series of brilliant EPs and one of the best debut albums of the last few years in the form of Eternity, In Your Arms. Packing anthems from that new record like Black Rain and Suzanne, alongside fan favourites like VCR and Lie Awake means Will Gould and co. should be set to make an explosive debut on the grandest stage of Donington’s hallowed grounds. Fans of goth-tinged punk rock acts like fellow Main Stagers AFI definitely won’t want to miss this hotly-tipped band!

Words: Jack Fermor-Worrell

TAX THE HEAT – Zippo Encore Stage

Formed in 2013, British rockers TAX THE HEAT collaborates blues sounds from the 60s with modern rock and roll to create an energetic, soulful sound. Since their formation, they have been on the up and up with the release of their first album called Fed To The Lions in 2016, did their own headline tour in 2015, and racked up an impressive list of tour mates including EUROPE and BLACK STAR RIDERS. A great choice to opening the Zippo Encore Stage on Saturday as they’re great fun and easily accessible – a great band to ease you into a day of rock.

Words: Dean Martin

A DAY TO REMEMBER – Main Stage

American rockers A DAY TO REMEMBER are back again on the main stage where they last played in 2015. Since their formation in 2003, they’ve steadily grown bigger and have now put out six studio albums and toured all over the world. Their brand of metalcore mixed with pop-punk is often popular with fans of both genres, and allows them to do major arena tours around the UK. Their fast paced, metalcore fused with punk choruses are sure to pull in large crowds at Download Festival. Their last album Bad Vibrations, was released September 2016.

Words: Dean Martin

SUICIDE SILENCE – Zippo Encore Stage

SUICIDE SILENCE have had one turbulent year. Their latest self-titled record split their fanbase down the middle and resulted in a storm of backlash; from both fans and critics alike. This has not dampened the band’s spirit however, and standing behind their latest musical endeavour, SUICIDE SILENCE come to Download Festival with a statement of intent. Regardless of your opinions on the band’s new musical direction, there is no doubting that the band’s live capabilities and will give an explosive and eye-catching performance on the Zippo Encore Stage.

Words: James Weaver

TRASH BOAT – The Avalanche Stage

Playing this year’s Avalanche Stage, the British pop-punkers TRASH BOAT are set to provide an energetic and up-beat performance at Download Festival. Their recent tour alongside BEARTOOTH and VANNA which filled up venues all over the UK were a fantastic opportunity for the band to show us what they can offer, and they delivered. The release of their debut album, Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through, has only created a surge in their popularity after playing in 2015’s Slam Dunk Festival. While traditionally pop-punk, the band experiments with grittier sounds and vocals from Tobi Duncan aid to do just that. Now, they’ve returned with force to bring their upbeat vibes to Download Festival.

Words: Jordan McEvoy

PIERCE THE VEIL – Main Stage

A band that have been described as Marmite – you either love them, or hate them – it seems mostly people love their hypnotic rock. Their catchy hooks, memorable lyrics, and heavy guitars interchanged with gentler rhythm have proved to be a winning combination for the American rockers. This year is the first time they have played Download so it will be interesting to see what stops they pull out for the big day. They have recently toured the UK, with CREEPER, promoting their latest album Misadventures. If you want a fast paced, quirky hard rock from a band known for unconventional music videos and wacky sense of humour, PIERCE THE VEIL are the band for you.

Words: Dean Martin

WEDNESDAY 13 – The Dogtooth Stage (HEADLINER)

A man with an extensive music history, the MURDERDOLLS frontman’s project WEDNESDAY 13 is set to abominate Download Festival this year. With his latest album, Condolences, underway and set for release on June 2nd, just before the festival begins, you can expect plenty of his latest material being blasted into your ears with his unmistakable vocals and horror-inducing riffs. Their use of synths, such as in What The Night Brings, creates an entirely different and malevolent atmosphere, which works perfectly with WEDNESDAY 13’s lyrical themes. The band’s intimidating stage presence is also bound to make for an awesome spectacle.

Words: Jordan McEvoy

THE LOUNGE KITTENS – The Dogtooth Stage

These are an interesting lot. The Southampton-based trio, THE LOUNGE KITTENS, have developed a strong reputation for their cabaret performances and covers of iconic tracks. Their latest record, Sequins & C-Bombs has been received very well, and should be a very different performance than those usually seen at Download Festival. The combined ethereal vocal talent from Jenny, Timia, and Zan sink deep into your brain and stay there, and give a whole new twist on some of metal’s most recognised tracks. With their shows across the UK on their previous tour selling out to rooms full of people singing along to their tracks, such as the infectious cover of The Beautiful People, their act is something for fans of all kinds of music. As such, THE LOUNGE KITTENS are absolutely not one to miss.

Words: Jordan McEvoy

THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT – Zippo Encore Stage

Ex STRAPPING YOUNG LAD member, Devin Townsend returns to Download this year give another undoubtedly unique performance. Performing songs from his 3 projects – DEVIN TOWNSEND, DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND and THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECTTownsend is sure to offer up a plateau of different materials, ranging from satirical punk to heavy metal to ambient acoustic, Townsend offers something for all. Returning after his last appearance in 2013, the singer-songwriter, guitarist and accomplished musician is sure to put a comedic spin on his set whilst also displaying an achieved sense of musicianship at this year’s festival.

Words: Winona McCormick

KVELERTAK – Zippo Encore Stage

The Norwegian group of six, KVELERTAK, are due to perform as this year’s Download Festival. KVELERTAK could only be described as a refreshing taste of an eccentric combination of doom, black metal and classic rock. Whilst touring to promote their newest release, Nattesferd, the band certainly proved their live performances to be as eccentric as their sound, featuring live in bat capes and masks and energetically bouncing around the stage. Their 2013 release Meir also proved successful in Norway, forcing itself to number 1 despite its controversial artwork, created by John Dyer Baizley, singer and artwork designer for BARONESS.

Words: Winona McCormick

ALESTORM – Zippo Encore Stage

With their new album due to be released this month, pirate metal jokers, ALESTORM will be performing a stack of new material. With Christopher Bowes as clean vocalist and Elliot Vernon featuring as harsh vocals in the newer releases such as Magnetic North and the self titled track, Alestorm, the band have new goals to meet as well as bigger crowds to please. Always successful in their live performances, featuring rubber ducks, keyboards, kilts and mass amounts of alcohol, ALESTORM are a sure crowd pleaser for any rum, beer or mead drinker attending this year’s Download Festival.

Words: Winona McCormick

THE ONE HUNDRED – The Avalanche Stage

Bands that can genre blend are always a great find at a festival, and should you be looking for such a band look no further than THE ONE HUNDRED. Much like PENDULUM the emphasis is on Drum and Bass, but Grime, Rap and Punk all make their way into the collective working for a set that’s sure to be active and high energy. Often you can find yourself drawn to a stage simply for the originality of the music, and this is certainly one of those bands that could do that for you. THE ONE HUNDRED, pop it in the diary should you be buzzing for a jump around, a shout along and a good old mosh out- this is a band that gives all that.

Words: Laura McCarthy

SICK PUPPIES – The Dogtooth Stage

Having being active since 1997, the hard rock group SICK PUPPIES have developed quite the fan base. The Australian trio are set to play this year’s Dogtooth Stage, with new vocalist Bryan Scott leading the vocal charge as heard on their latest album, Fury. Simultaneously soft and blissful, yet crushing and dominating, their music alternates to keep you on your toes. With slick bass lines from Emma Anzai (and her incredible backing vocals) and riffs aplenty, the band are bound to crush the stage and show how they’ve changed for the better over the course of their career.

Words: Jordan McEvoy

Sunday 11 June

FOZZY – Main Stage

Opening up Sunday’s Main Stage bill is usually no easy feat, but this year things may go differently as the task has fallen to FOZZY. Led by vocalist and WWE Superstar Chris Jericho and STUCK MOJO guitarist Rich Ward, this hard-rocking five piece are sure to help those in attendance shake off those Sunday morning hangovers with fist-pumping anthems like Do You Wanna Start A War, Sandpaper and Lights Go Out. New single Judas has been garnering wide critical praise since releasing at the start of May, and this will be UK fans’ first chance to hear it, along with potentially other new material, live for the first time so don’t miss out!

Words: Jack Fermor-Worrell

AEROSMITH – Main Stage (HEADLINER)

The word ‘legendary’ is thrown around quite a lot in rock music, but a band like AEROSMITH certainly justify that tag. Returning to headline Donington once more following fantastic sets in 2010 and 2014 (the latter being filmed for a concert film), the Boston rockers return this time on slightly sadder terms. This year’s performance falls into the band’s Aero-vederci Baby Tour and is apparently set to mark the final ever AEROSMITH show in the UK. Naturally, fans should expect a hits-laden set full to the brim with legendary rock anthems like Love In An Elevator, Walk This Way and Dude (Looks Like A Lady) as Steven Tyler and co. bid farewell to the UK and their almost fifty-year-long career in fine style.

Words: Jack Fermor-Worrell

MINISTRY – Zippo Encore Stage

The American industrial titans MINISTRY are set to blow the stage at Download Festival. Their career is a long one, with a small 3-year break in the middle, however MINSITRY are arguably one of the most influential industrial metal acts to come out of the scene. Heavy riffs and gritty atmospheres along with Al Jourgensen’s signature vocals coined their record Psalm 69 as the quintessential industrial metal record of the time, and still stands strong today. Their crushing and heart-pumping tracks such as Thieves and Just One Fix¸ the band are sure to get an immense crowd surging. With a career spanning over thirty incredible years, the industrial metal group MINISTRY are one to catch at this year’s Download Festival.

Words: Jordan McEvoy

OPETH – Zippo Encore Stage

OPETH are known for their dramatic shifts in style and influence but seem currently settled in their progressive style after having both pioneered and mastered death metal in releases such as Blackwater Park and My Arms, Your Hearse. Either way, OPETH are one of the most well known names in metal, as well as one of the most unique. Incorporating influences such as folk, blues and jazz, Mikael Åkerfeldt one of the most admired men of his profession and is highly regarded for his harsh vocals and growling technique (especially live).

Words: Winona McCormick

BRUTAI – The Dogtooth Stage

BRUTAI have done incredibly well over the past few years. After playing the Bloodstock’s Sophie Lancaster Stage and sharing stages with the likes of SOILWORK, MASTODON, and SLAYER, the London-based quintet have made quite a name for themselves. Their critically acclaimed album, Born, blasted them into the spotlight with its brilliant blend of metal and prog with gorgeous harmonies that make the ears weep. Now, the metal/prog hybrids are playing this year’s Dogtooth Stage on Sunday at Download Festival. Their excellent energetic live performances are part of what they’re known for, so they’re a must for your ‘to see’ list this year.

Words: Jordan McEvoy

RED FANG – Zippo Encore Stage

While many are aware of the likes of RED FANG, there might be a few who have yet to envelop themselves in the Stoner Metal blast that is this band. Always good fun, always heavy and brimming with riffs, RED FANG make for great festival viewing. With more than ten years of material, their albums in themselves are entertaining, with just enough rock to make the a bouncy, jump on your toes sort of band while their heavier riffs and bear roars are well and truly a metal delight. And fear not, as the goods live are just as good. Their latest album came out in October of 2016, so fans have plenty of time to mull over their material, and there’s more than enough of a back catalogue for newcomers to immerse themselves in the good time headbanging and beer drinking. For sure, RED FANG – they do stoner well, they do stoner right.

Words: Laura McCarthy

PERTURBATOR – The Dogtooth Stage (HEADLINER)

Some people might not be familiar with the synth stylings of PERTURBATOR – that is a misfortune that you can soon rectify on the Sunday of Download Festival. While you may wish to see one of the bigger headline acts, PERTURBATOR has been making some of the most innovative, nostalgic and yet eerily modern Synthwave music. Typically, it’s best to call this Retrofuturistic, taking the old-school cinematic synth tones of the eighties and mixing it up with contemporary electronic sounds. Dark and atmospheric as hell, pumped up with energy that lies thick in the air and incredible scope within each track, PERTURBATOR makes music like no other. If all this talk of electronic music at a rock festival might be off putting, rest assured you will be vibing the apocalyptic nostalgia of Terminator and Blade Runner– what more could you want? Don’t just take our word for it though, see for yourself, but be warned- and prepare to be converted.

Words: Laura McCarthy

CLUTCH – Zippo Encore Stage

Ten releases into a concrete career, CLUTCH have blasted back into the hard rock spotlight with their latest album, Psychic Warfare. Recently breaking off from labels and taking their musical lives into their own hands has seemed to give them a fresh pump of adrenaline for creating and performing, Delivering a captivating live performance with frontman Neil Fallon constantly interacting with the crowd and encouraging their participation in choruses, their performance is set to be one of the most engaging at Download Festival. Their energy and catchy tracks haven’t degraded with time, which is quite the easy thing to happen. Expect catchy lyrics, the odd cowbell or two during DC Sound Attack, and a brilliant time.

Words: Jordan McEvoy

STEEL PANTHER – Main Stage

They might be thought of a ‘joke band’ by many but in terms of live performances, you’ll struggle to find more fun than a STEEL PANTHER live set. Having previously occupied the same spot on the Download bill in 2014, as well as conquering arenas across the UK back in October last year, Michael Starr, Satchel, Lexxi Foxx and Stix Zadinia are returning to Donington this time with their fourth studio album Lower The Bar, and if previous performances are anything to go by, you can expect lots of 80s inspired riffing, dick jokes aplenty and some of the most NSFW lyrics ever committed to record thanks to the likes of Gloryhole, 17 Girls In A Row and signature anthem Death To All But Metal. Definitely not one for the easily-offended!

Words: Jack Fermor-Worrell

Download Festival - March 2017

There you have it! Distorted Sound‘s breakdown of this year’s Download Festival. These are just the bands we really think you should go and see but there is a staggering amount of talent across the lineup of this year’s festival! Don’t agree with us? Let us know who you are most excited for in the comments below!

Download Festival takes place between June 9th – 11th 2017 at Donington Park. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased from the festival’s official website.

For more information on Download Festival like their official page on Facebook.

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