FestivalsLive Reviews

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Download 2022 – Saturday

Photo Credit: Abbi Draper

One of the best things about a festival like Download is being able to discover bands and artists you didn’t know about before. Cassyette fell into that camp for us and one-week later we are still singing Mayhem in our heads and plotting a visit to their next tour when it takes them across the border to Scotland. A captivating frontwoman, Cassyette was in fine form, oozing confidence on the Opus Stage and in even finer voice. ‘Goths and the sun aren’t usually a good mix,’ she jokes from the stage but her goth army bravely face the searing orange ball in the Donington Park sky to soak up every note and word which falls from her mouth. Cassyette earned a second stage spot after wowing Download bosses at the 2021 pilot festival and their gamble paid off big with a big crowd clambering up the hill to watch her at work. 8/10

Our frontman extraordinaire Will Gould worked his first shift of a Saturday Download double as he hit the Avalanche Stage with Salem for an early morning slab of goth-rock, anthem creating, heart soaring excitement. Fall Out Of Love, Doomed (For Each Other) and Sweet Tooth were set highlights for this self-confessed Gould-disciple who is utterly convinced that he is one of the best frontmen anywhere today. All action, energy and with a connection to his crowd like so few before him, he is the kind of frontman you are terrified to take your eyes off in case you miss a single second. 8/10

Sheffield’s heaviest hitters Malevolence cranked up the volume on the Opus Stage with foot stomping, neck-wrecking, hair flinging slabs of energetic metal. Thousands lined up to pay homage to one of the fastest rising in the genre who set the tempo before a note was even played with their ominous air raid siren and heart rate monitor intro tape. It ensured the energy for the set was at maximum level before the band even launched into set opener Malicious Intent. From there, there was to be no slowing down as each riff rocked harder, each bass burrowed deeper and each circle pit grew bigger in front of the stage. Malevolence are growing, improving and have a one-way ticket to the very top of the British metal scene and we can’t wait to join them on the journey. 7/10

A guilty pleasure from our 90’s CD collecting heyday and a band we never thought we’d have the chance to see live are post grunge rockers Bush. Their stats from the mid-nineties were quite staggering as they were one of the decade’s biggest sellers and their debut album hit platinum status six times. Songs like Comedown, Machinehead, and Swallowed were literally the soundtrack to our early high school days so we made a beeline for the Opus Stage fuelled by nostalgia. Gavin Rossdale and the gang didn’t let us down and they cranked out the classics to an eager crowd which was, to us surprisingly, a good blend of younger listeners and 90’s kids now all grown up like us. Set closer Comedown was the highlight and closing my eyes as Rossdale poured so much emotion into the track, we felt as if we were 14 all over again. 7/10

If NASA is missing a rocket, then they need look no further. It is strapped to the back of Southampton rockers Creeper who stole the show on Saturday with, for us at least, the single best set of the entire weekend. Creeper are a band going nowhere but up, up and up a little more. That rocket is taking them straight to the moon and they produced a breath-taking performance in a tent which was spilling deep outside the Avalanche Stage and into the arena beyond. Will Gould is the living embodiment of Freddie Mercury and a vampire and the kind of frontman you simply can’t take your eyes off. A set stacked with bangers which prompted the sea of bodies in the tent to rise and fall in unison. Misery, Annabelle, and Thorns of Love were phenomenal but Midnight, the duet between Gould and Hannah Greenwood was a Download moment that will live long and proud in their memory and in ours. 9/10

Sepultura are one of thrash metal’s most famous names. Tracks like Roots Bloody Roots, Arise and Refuse/Resist are some of the biggest metal bangers in decades so they are always going to draw a crowd – especially with Andreas Kisser on board. A member of the Brazilian boneshakers since the 80’s he has seen it, heard it and been a key member of the band through the glory years and the lean years. Of course, for us it is sad not to have either of the Cavalera brothers in the band with the pair being our gateway into Sepultura in our own younger years. But with Kisser on board there is a link to the past and absolutely zero doubt that the current line-up can boot the arse out of all the songs in their now extensive back catalogue. Sepultura proved they can groove and riff with the best of them and to this day can still command gigantic crowds. 7/10

This year marked three decades since the iconic Iron Maiden: Live at Donington recording and the fact the band are still here, headlining at the same iconic park, kicking ass and taking names all these years later tells you that Maiden are still the big dogs of Donington Park. Famous for their themes and iconic, eye-catching and intricate stage set-ups, this time around the stage was built to resemble a Japanese tera as they roared into set opener Senjutsu. Eddie was a samurai and Bruce Dickinson was sporting a top knot in keeping with the theme. But beneath the dressing, Iron Maiden are one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Track after track, mega hit after mega hit, home run after home run – the Download Festival disciples were treated to an evening with one of the industry’s greatest ever. Dickinson of course referenced the nightmare of covid as he welcomed us all home to Download again to the turf they have made their own and a place they remain almost untouchable. Fear Of The Dark, The Number of the Beast, Run To The Hills were all played with as much enthusiasm as the first time they wrote them and the crowd revelled in the glow of the metal Gods. Maiden were magic but did we expect anything less? 8/10

Words By: Eric Mackinnon

Photo Credit: Abbi Draper

Photo gallery features Salem, Malevolence, Loathe, Holding Absence, Will Haven, Bleed From Within, Creeper, Napalm Death, Megadeth, Funeral For A Friend and Iron Maiden

Eric Mackinnon
Long time journo who sold his soul to newspapers to fund his passion of following rock and metal bands around Europe. A regular gig-goer, tour-traveller and festival scribe who has broken stories of some of the biggest bands in the world and interviewed most. Even had a trifle with Slash once. Lover of bourbon, 80's rock and is a self-confessed tattoo addict.