Download 2012 - Review

'Mother nature dampens the party spirit'

Photographer:Sara Bowrey

Ali Ryland, Gavin McInally - 10 June 2012

The stage was set for the ultimate tenth birthday bash, with the star guests of The Prodigy (8/10), Metallica (9/10) and Black Sabbath (8/10) in their finest frocks, 100,000 (£200) invitations duly accepted and the pink dog's cake adorned with celebratory candles... but Mother Nature missed the memo and by God, did she dampen the party spirit.

There's no doubt that the metal masses' determination not to be broken, helped by the organisers' valiant efforts to throw bales of hay at every inch of murky swamp land in Donington, produced the best possible result from what was otherwise a five-day slog, not unlike the Territorial Army TV adverts, but in years to come Download 2012 will be remembered not by the brilliant live performances over the weekend, or even the joyous bursts of sun on the final day, but by the ankle deep muddy sludge which plagued every waking second of the weekend.

And it wasn't just the fans who felt the full force of nature's wrath as Main Stage openers Rise to Remain and Cancer Bats were ditched to allow a team of event staff two extra hours to make the site “safe” for fans, leading to Fear Factory (4/10) unexpectedly kicking things off on Friday afternoon

Unfortunately, the American industrial tinged foursome can barely hold a note and their groovy, hard hitting club favourite 'Linchpin' doesn't soften the blow of the cancellation of the bands who were due to play before them.

All is not lost, however; Billy Talent get (7/10) merely for letting Cancer Bats (9/10)  come on for 'Hail Destroyer'- NOFX earlier said they wouldn't let the ferocious hardcore Canadians use their equipment for this very purpose, proving they're not only deeply unfunny but have no appreciation of what a real punk-influenced band should sound like.

Terrorvision (6/10) may not be amazing but at least they managed to arrive on stage, unlike Europe (0/10) who fail to show up. Traffic is, understandably, to blame but it was worth waiting for their phantom one-hit wonder, as the crowd, upon hearing of their cancellation, immediately join in to the tune of 'The Final Countdown' espoused as “No no no no, no no no no no!”

Nightwish (7/10) provide the second stage with a folky Friday feeling, while the controversial booking of Chase & Status (8/10) pays off with an uplifting opening for The Prodigy (8/10) who don't quite hit full throttle but accelerate enough for a romping good rave.

Day two sees Saxon (6/10) making a lunchtime racket which wouldn't have sounded out of place 20 years ago and later Tenacious D (8/10) trump comedic fellows Steel Panther (6/10) with a set worthy of its own 'tribute'.

Biffy Clyro (8/10) continue their ascendancy up the Download bill and it won't be long before the Scottish trio top the poster while Corey Taylor (9/10) proves to be a familiar pleasure with his blend of Slipknot, Stone Sour and cover material.

While the stunning Metallica (9/10) run through the 'Black Album' backwards before a meaty encore of 'Battery', 'One' and 'Seek & Destroy' on the Main Stage, Oi! punks Cockney Rejects (10/10) triumph, first with their ability to whip up a cracking good energy, then by impressing fans so much that an impromptu encore was demanded despite creeping beyond schedule. It's just a shame they were only parcelled with a 45 minute set; “I've had pisses longer than that!” cackled Jeff Geggus.

Sunday brings the much-welcomed sun, and with it some class acts from rising stars Heaven's Basement (7/10), old school stoners Kyuss Lives! (7/10) and Earache favourites Rival Sons (8/10), whose bluesy rock is perfect for the prevailing, cold cider glugging mood.

Black Label Society (6/10) fall short of expectations due to an overblown guitar solo and an unhealthy dollop of rock star vanity while Lamb Of God (8/10) level all before them with their devastating blend of American metal.

On Sunday's second stage, Swedish cult hardcore act Refused (9/10) play one of the sets of the weekend with minimal of fuss as Soundgarden (7/10) are pretty much drowned out in a wave of apathy.

Dropkick Murphys (9/10) follow perfectly with their Celtic punk while Rise Against (5/10) fall extremely short of expectations, the glorification of newer material allowing their ferocious punk rock to bring upon samey pop-punk.

Sabbath's miserablely funereal doom (8/10) is a fitting soundtrack to end a birthday party which Mother Nature blew the candles out long before the Pink dog ever had a chance.



Click here for our full Download 2012 coverage.

We want your Download Festival reviews!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and reply to our review posts with your thoughts, insights, opinions and full-on reviews.

Send tweets to us with your reviews or comment on our Facebook page, or in the comments section below with your thoughts.

This isn’t about getting nasty if you don’t agree with our journalists, but an opportunity to leave your own appraisals, with the best ones getting published on the site.

So, what are you waiting for? Let us know your thoughts!


Related Events

Hide Search Results

Festival Search


All Festival Tickets