Download Festival: Saturday Main Stage

Download Festival: Saturday Main Stage

Photographer: Sara Bowrey12 June 2007

They may well make it appear that the battle for middle earth has spilt out onto the Main Stage, but self-proclaimed battle-metal pioneers Turisas do a great job of opening the day as their first pumping folk-metal hybrid swiftly rouses the hordes gathered to see them. Hellyeah were always likely to be given a welcoming reception from the Download faithful given their pedigree, and so it proves as ex-Pantera/Damage Plan drummer Vinnie Paul gets a huge ovation as his band reel through their heavy southern metal offerings to an ever growing crowd.

Two years since their last visit to our shores, Massachusetts thrash metallers Shadows Fall waste no time in making up for lost time as they expertly blend the best of old and new school metal, with bruising closer 'Redemption' bringing dozens of crowd surfers raining down. Despite being met with a number of flying projectiles at the start of their set, Aiden's high-octane display quickly wins over any doubters as they find time to showcase a couple of new efforts from their recent stint in the recording studio.

With vocalist Jared Leto leading a mass sing along to 'The Kill', 30 Seconds To Mars have the crowd on their side instantly as they run through a set culled entirely from storming new album 'A Beautiful Lie'.

Given the fact that there's two gigantic inflatable sheep on either side of the stage, Bowling For Soup are clearly a band who don't take themselves too seriously, as they entertain the increasingly sun burned thousands gathered with their catchy pop-punk and low-brow humour.

After the sunny offerings of BFS, Machine Head provide as stark a contrast as can be, as they bring their brutal metal onslaught to Donington for a third time. Paying tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell prior to 'Aesthetics of Hate', stunning new effort 'Halo' crowns a brilliant showing. Few bands could follow such a crushing display of power, but then most bands aren't Slayer. From 'Mandatory Suicide' to inevitable closer 'Raining Blood', Slayer are on absolute fire today as they confirm to everyone gathered, why it is exactly that they've gained such legendary status over the years.

Marilyn Manson strolls onstage clutching a giant dagger-shaped microphone, but there's surprisingly little else in the way of fanfare from the notorious God of Fuck. While all his many familiar hits from 'The Dope Show' to 'The Fight Song' are all present and correct, in a rare controversy free set, it's only on closing number 'The Beautiful People' that the crowd are treated to some explosive pyrotechnics.

Hitting the stage running with their breakthrough song 'One Step Closer', Linkin Park are their usual assured and confident selves as they close the main stage - aided by a quite stunning light display - by running through their staggering array of hits. Be it the rap-rock of 'Papercut' and 'Faint' or the mellower "Halloween" meets U2 bombast of 'What I've Done', Linkin Park are never anything less than totally engrossing.

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