By Mark Linsdell
Download has been known for its reunions and reformations of bands.
Only just last year saw the eagerly awaited return of System of a Down. However, to close the weekend’s the organisers booked the band that arguably made the genre and the festival it is today, Ozzy Osbourne’s Black Sabbath. The sun was out and the crowd who’d soldiered through the dire conditions for the past two days could not have been more relieved.
Blasting away the 3 night hangover on the main stage is American heavy metal band DevilDriver. Despite their sound being nothing new or original, they whip the crowd into a moshing frenzy and get a few heads banging. (3/5)
On the Zippo stage, post hardcore band We Are the Ocean start their life without their lead singer.
The ex-vocalist, who remains behind the scenes as band manager, watched on as rhythm guitarist Liam did his best with little planning.
Their prog tinted emo anthems still sound as tight as ever and they get out of a potentially sticky set relatively well. (4/5)
On the main stage, the second of the original thrash four to play this weekend Anthrax play speed metal to absolute precision. (4/5)
Following them is Zack Wylde’s Black Label Society. The band have all the ingredients of a top metal band but they just don’t have the songs bands like Anthrax do and their set seems to pass the crowd by. (2/5)
One of the most anticipated bands of the weekend are newly reformed Refused. The Swedish punk band, like most, burnt out before their time but fast forward 12 years since their ground breaking album ‘The Shape of Things to Come’; the band have not lost any of their ferocity. Songs like ‘New Noise’ and ‘The Shape of Punk to come’ give off arguably the best crowd response of the weekend. Incredible. (5/5)
Opening for the godfathers of metal music was never going to be an easy task but it is in safe hands with Chris Cornell’s Soundgarden.
The grunge gods have the likes of ‘Black Hole Sun’ and ‘Rusty Cage’ to produce a massive sing-alongs and huge interest in their new album, their first in 15 years, due for release in October. (4/5)
Pre Black Sabbath, there are Bo Selecta impressions buzzing around the 100,000 strong crowd and it begs the question; does Ozzy still have the hunger or is this a cash cow for an established reality TV star?
The answer is no. At aged 63, Ozzy’s voice is still as powerful as ever and even though he can’t headbang, he gets the crowd going by stirring them up and getting them to make as much noise as possible. Black Sabbath aren’t the most complex band compared to modern day metal bands but they churn out classic over classic. ‘War Pigs’, ‘Paranoid’ and the stunning ‘Planet Caravan’ all sounds amazing and prove the perfect ending to a wet but hugely successful weekend.
Despite Sonisphere’s cancellation, 100,000 people do not lie. The UK metal scene is here to stay with Download leading the way.