Download 2013 Review: Dragonforce, Down
Blowing away every memory of that performance back in 2006, the multicultural power metal machine known as Dragonforce prove today that they are as impressive as ever with a pleasingly diverse set over on the Zippo Encore stage. Under stormy skies (boo) the guys change things up by playing a mix of their fast and furious hits like Fury of the Storm and Through the Fire and Flames interspersed with newer, mid-tempo tracks such as Cry Thunder from 2012′s The Power Within, which is already a live favourite. With the baby-faced Marc Hudson on lead vocal duties the band have had something of a second wind, their sound fresher than before thanks to his talents. Blistering twin-guitar solos abound courtesey of Sam Totman and Herman Li and the whole band show today that, despite all the silliness, they are an unstoppably tight unit.
Time to slow things down a bit over on the Main stage now, and if there’s any band guaranteed to go down a storm (oh, did you think these reviews would be pun-free?!) mid-afternoon at a festival, it’s stoner kings Down. The Southern rockers somehow manage to bring the sun out, lending their set a fittingly hazy atmosphere. And it’s not just the sun that’s blazing, judging by the smell of the dense weed smoke weaving its way through the crowd. A somewhat mellowed-out but still formidable Phil Anselmo leads the Download punters along in singing sludgy classics like Ghosts Along the Mississippi and Witchtripper. They’re as tight as ever and storm through a set filled with fan favourites and make a brief but heartfelt tribute to the late great Jeff Hannemann, to rapturous cheers, ending on a slightly bittersweet, but down-tuned note.