Does the second Download announcement line-up suck or rock?

Two hacks argue about the latest line-up additions...

IT ROCKS argues Ben Parkinson…

The second Download announcement was made just after midnight on Tuesday and it has somehow been met with an often less than enthusiastic response online. What these boards warriors expected after the first revelation is beyond this blogger.

Organisers somehow pulled together the strongest headliners that either Download, or its predecessor Monsters of Rock could have envisaged, with AC/DC, Rage Against The Machine and Aerosmith making the ticket price a real catch-22. If you don’t buy a ticket, you will save £200 plus, if you choose to, the sheer amount of talent at this year’s event makes the price negligible.

But back the most recent update. As usual the Sunday will be the classic themed day. To mark the 30th anniversary of metal at Donington the bands for the final day this year hark back to the 80’s metal scene. RATT, the sunset strip veterans sound a bit like a Guns N’ Roses infused, Motley Crue smoothie, but should offer the audience a glimpse of what glam rock was without the same level of financial corruption experienced by their aforementioned influences. If glam is your thing then you’ll have to catch Cinderella too for pure comedy value. If you want a taster check out ‘Don’t Know What You Got (‘Til It’s Gone)’ on YouTube.

Saxon, British metal’s forgotten maestros are always a safe bet for fist-pumping, riff driven fun with classics such as their 1980 release ‘Wheels of Steel’. Fast-forward almost a decade and representing the early thrashers are Lawnmower Deth. The band have unfortunately often been overlooked in their own time and since, merely because of their light-hearted approach in such a macho genre. Their ridiculous subject matter and synth interludes should offer a much more entertaining thrash experience than Metallica in ’06.

DC soundalikes Airbourne, who will take to the second stage on Sunday afternoon, are renowned for combining their fiercely classic style with an absence of the arthritic tendencies that have started to mire their forefather’s. The side splitting Steel Panther will be performing the kind of things normal people hear when they listen to Cinderella. A comedy outfit from Las Vegas, watch out for the songs ‘Death To All But Metal’ and ‘Fat Girl’ from the Sunset Strip veterans.

For the more contemporary metal listener Coheed and Cambria were one of the top acts of ’06 with their fusion of progressive rock and metal. Looking the complete part, guitarist and singer Claudio Sanchez stands on a monitor with his double-necked SG and hair blown horizontal before breaking into a twenty minute improvised extension of ‘Welcome Home’-moment.

Ex-Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott and Mudvayne singer Chad Grey are set to perform their own brand of angry, swaggering, late 90’s metal with super group Hell Yeah.

…And now the screamers. If your drainpipes have been chaffing whilst reading this blog, you’re sat scared, wondering where your fix of blood curdling pig noises will come from, then don’t fret – Download’s latest announcement has it in spades. 36 Crazyfists, The Blackout, August Burns Red, White Chapel and Dillinger Escape Plan to name but a few.

Oh, and there’s HIM for the Goths too. The second announcement is Download is ideal – it has something for everyone!

IT SUCKS says Phil Micallef…

It all started off looking so promising. AC/DC, Rage Against The Machine and Aerosmith were confirmed as possibly the finest trio of headliners to grace any festival for a long while. Other previously announced attractions, such as Deftones, Motorhead, Them Crooked Vultures and Megadeth, made the idea of an early June weekend at a Midlands racing track an even rosier prospect.  

But then Download Festival organisers confirmed the second batch of acts. All of a sudden, a utopian world overflowing with musical greatness was brought right back down to earth – or if you look specifically at the Sunday Main Stage, the 1980s. While the 80s wasn’t all bad, it is well documented that a lot of terrible things did happen and glam hair metal was most certainly one of them. Curiously, there seems to be a notable presence of this during the final day at Download.

While headliners Aerosmith can back up their possible association with this genre by way of having some genuinely decent tunes, Billy Idol, Saxon, Cinderella and RATT, who all perform consecutively on the Sunday, cannot. Ultra-cheesy, cringe-worthy music like this was never meant to happen and it was definitely never meant to be taken seriously. So why is it on the Main Stage at one of the UK’s biggest festivals? The mind does indeed boggle.  

Motorhead perform right after this horrible travesty and you can wager that Mr Lemmy was very much choking on his Jack Daniels when he saw the four acts his band has to follow. He only has to so much walk on stage and drop a silent gust of wind to upstage them.

The sad thing is though, there’ll probably be a fair number of people who want to watch all this strange glam/hair/ballad/whatever-it’s-mean-to-be-called metal because they think it’s so bad that it’s actually cool. Well it’s not.

Meanwhile, over on the Second Stage, there’s a vast amount of room for improvement, most notably with the three headliners. Bullet For My Valentine provide non-descript, generic and generally dull metal; 30 Seconds To Mars, fronted by Hollywood actor Jared Leto, prove once and for all that those involved in the glitz and glamour of the film industry should normally leave music to musicians; and Stone Sour are basically a Slipknot B-sides band. Anyone who has outgrown the trauma of puberty that chooses to see any of these bands instead of the Main Stage headliners should quite simply hold their heads in shame (and perhaps get them examined).

Also, anyone planning on subjecting themselves to HIM, especially when the almighty Deftones are playing at the same time, needs to do some serious thinking and question exactly what it is that they’re contributing to the human race.

There were some worthy additions announced yesterday though, mainly Dillinger Escape Plan and Lamb Of God. They’ll show any whiny, pretentious pretender how it’s meant to be done with several barrel-loads of magnificent, pure, brutal, heaviness (and not a power ballad in sight).