It's mid-week and Donnington park remains desolate and barren, faintly resembling a ghost town of tents, chairs and lost iPhones to be consumed by the sludge. Although the echoes of the madness that’s ensued this weekend is still heavily felt by Donnington Racetrack's clean-up team, most of have us have returned to our own mundane reality, left twiddling our fingers until next year's Download Festival.
Don't be sad though, in this review we will be running through the highlights, camaraderie and special shared moments of Download 2016 to give you a kick up the retrospective arse, and for those who didn't go, maybe a kick of regret - there’s always next year guys.
It goes without saying that in typical biblical Download tradition we were met with rain; torrential rain. Traversing the festival grounds at times equated to crawling through the mud at the battle of Somme, but this didn't dampen the spirits of festival goers. For an unlucky few their experience was tainted due to flooding of certain areas of the campsite, but even then there was barely a frown, moan or wig-out to be seen.
We sent Glasswerk reporter Jordan Davies along to wade through the chaos:
Early on Friday morning everyone was filled with blind optimism; the sky was gleaming and the roars and rumble of 80,000 metalheads flooded the park with a positive vibe. Alien Ant Farm opened up with an accelerating energy soon to slowed down when the crowd swiftly dissipated after ‘Smooth Criminal’ - their lack of movement throughout the set really did leave a bitter expression on vocalist Dryden Mitchell’s face, too.
As the prophecy was foretold, the heavens opened. Baby Metal took to the stage. Though considered a novelty act by many, Baby Metal flourished as people surged through the audience and circle pits engulfed the arena. It really was quite astonishing to see the burliest and most metal of the crowd battle it out to three adolescent Japanese girls singing and dancing to songs like ‘Gimme Chocolate’. It was endearing to see how engaged and supportive the audience was and we can assure you, Baby Metal are no novelty act.
Towards the evening a black drape hung over the stage and the sun had totally disappeared. Enter Rammstein. The hard hitting industrial Germans certainly stole the show this year and yes, it's exactly what you expect: rhythmic tribal drums, growling guitars and enough pyrotechnics to make Mythbusters blush. Despite a few technical issues - and a stage hand speared by a microphone - Rammstein audaciously and theatrically blew everyone away.
Saturday proved bittersweet. Dave Mustaine and his band were set to irrefutably blow us away with their grinding rifts and empowering vocals, except they didn't. Megadeth were disappointingly underwhelming - whilst musically tight and well executed there was a distinct lack of heart in the performance which put a heart breaking dampener on expectations. Dave also consistently reminded us "We are getting through these songs fast to give you one extra song!" destroying the bad-ass persona Megadeth had instilled in our hearts since '83
Thus began one of the most awkward engagements and half hours we have ever had to bear witness to, as WWE wrestler Triple HHH took to the Lemmy stage to talk about his bereavement and personal loss of the Motorhead frontman. He then continued to shamelessly plug and promote the wrestling stage on the other side of the ground and organisation as a whole, which was incredibly disrespectful and left us feeling somewhat ashamed to partake in watching this farce.
Subtly moving away from this dark display of bullshittery Deftones finally stepped onto the stage. Well we say stepped, they actually kicked the doors down and scissor-kicked the crowd in the face, then continued to conquer every metaphorical musical bone of the human body. Chino delivered the performance of a life time, bouncing around like a pachinko machine and squawking down the microphone - their performance was electrifying and certainly shocking. Deftones executed every song like an arena ballad, whilst paying homage to hardcore fans with a rather large catalogue of b-side songs included in their set. They surely delivered on every hope and expectation their fans could have had.
Finally came the communal talk of the festival. Black Sabbath. Ominously the sky blackened as the crowds amassed, opening with their self-titled track ‘Black Sabbath’, the weathering effect of Ozzy's current circumstances obvious as he strenuously belted each lyric. Expectations were never high for this performance although hearing the immense crowd resonate back at him created an undeniably electric atmosphere which transcended the strained vocals. Beautifully, the fans made this performance what it was.
Oooo-ah-ah-ah! Thankfully Disturbed didn't receive the same single-fever treatment as Alien Ant Farm - it was a nigh on incredible the delivery: punchy rifts and fiery vocals cemented this performance as one of Download's finest. They even invited Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) on stage for an unbelievable rendition of U2's ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’.
Dusting off their snowy boots, Canadian punk rockers Billy Talent drew probably the largest audience the Encore Stage had seen throughout the entire weekend. The ground slowly swallowing the audience didn't stop the chaos that ensued. Billy Talent vigorously proved they're still relevant and are here to stay.
Though the shit weather annihilated the spirits of some, Download still continues to be the epicentre of all that is metal and succeeded once more in keeping our legs bouncing, fingers twiddling and our tents maintained for the mayhem next year. Bring on 2017!
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Glasswerk is an online music news magazine and UK concert promoter.
The magazine section is updated daily with all the latest streams,
videos, interviews, reviews and announcements from the world of music in the UK.
Artists we cover come from independent to major labels,
singer-songwriters to death metal, whatever is of interest to our editorial staff.
Glasswerk also promote concerts right across the UK and run the venue, Surya, in London.