Download Festival 2003: SATURDAY Scuzz Tent

From Autumn To Ashes are fairly accomplished musicians in terms of speed, but relatively pedestrian in terms of creativity, and it’s hard to see them progressing too far with their derivative strand of grungy-demi-metal trite.  Sikth are rated highly and show why with their performance today.  Controlled and aggressive, they promise much and deliver an impressive performance filled with hatred and anger, all we really ask.  A refreshing whirlwind of energy, they’re one of the best underground metal bands around in the UK right now.

Soil have to compete with the Deftones, and miss out on a lot of potential audience because of it.  However, their brand of old-style metal is probably more suited to an older audience anyway.  They’re quick and hardcore, and impressively loud with it.  Songs such as ‘Halo’ are received well, and there should be a few new fans by the end of the evening. Finnish goth overtones from HIM are deafening to the point where few are listening. Sounding like anyone of the post-Muse metal whiners, they Chris Isaak‘s ‘Wicked Game’ before singer, Ville strips off saying ‘Sorry about that, but you can’t worship Satan with your shirt on’. Indeed.

What the fuck are Reef doing here?‘ is perhaps the politest way to phrase the obvious question. When you drop your one decent song early on in the set, as they do with ‘Place Your Hands’ it’s a huge risk. Half the audience leave, and those that remain heckle with requests for ‘Combine Harvester’ by The Wurzels. It doesn’t pay off. Undeterred, they try Sabbath‘s ‘War Pigs’ instead but fail badly, underlining their lack of metal credentials essential for this festival.

After Reef the crowd become restless and start pining for some real heavy metal.  Those that haven’t left the second stage to go see Manson get their fill of riffs courtesy of the astounding power of Sepultura. Playing at blinding speed and with Derrick Green almost taking the roof off with his immense roaring, Sep underlined their position as the biggest band in the second stage (at least for today).  After their phenomenal London Underworld gigs , it was clear that the band had returned with a vengeance following Max’s departure.  It’s taken a while, but the level of support they enjoy today shows that Green is fully accepted as their new frontman.  Criminally, they’re limited to a mere half hour. 

Accordingly, they showcase ‘Mind War’, ‘Godless’ and ‘Come Back Alive’ from new album ‘Roorback’ before tearing into the back catalogue.  With the time constraints, they only have time for ‘Refuse/Resist’, ‘Chaos AD’ and of course the ubiquitous ‘Roots Bloody Roots’.  But no matter, each of those is a five star classic by anyone’s measure.  The moshpit starts in earnest from the first song and never stops, thrown into a frenzy by the insanely fast tribal drumming from Igor Cavelera.  Teamed with the machine-gun guitar rifling of Andreas Kisser, this is thrash heaven for all those still part of the Sepultribe.