Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time to descend on Donington Park once again as rock and metal fans from all over Europe convene for the annual Download Festival.
With its long history of legendary sets and breakthrough moments, Download Festival 2016 looks set to be another monumental year. From the renowned heavyweights closing the festival each night to a vast array of up-and-coming names, Download Festival has a hell of a lot to offer.
You could say there’s too much see. Nevertheless, Already Heard is here to help as we pick out 22 must-see bands to watch this weekend. So pack your tent, alcohol, sleeping bag, clothes and everything else and then read on to find out who we think you should check out in the coming days.
Friday’s headliner is the epitome of nostalgic pyrotechnic spectacle. Rammstein knows exactly how to please the Download crowds, as this is their second headlining slot at the festival, last featuring on 2013’s lineup. Whether you know every lyric in German or not, classic hits such as ‘Du Hast’ and ‘Mein Teil’ get hearts racing, while ‘Du Riechst So Gut’ and ‘Ich Will’ provide just enough singalongs to close the first night on the right note.
Given this headliner was a surprise addition in place of frontman Till Lindemann’s solo venture, and in the aftermath of last year’s incendiary ‘Rammstein in Amerika’ live DVD and documentary, fans and newcomers alike will warm to Friday’s closer and not just thanks to the excessive use of fire and treadmills on stage. (AC)
Where & When: 9:10pm – 10:50pm – Lemmy Stage – Friday
This is it – the end of Black Sabbath. Announcing 2016 as the final year for the metal godfathers since their reunion in 2011, this Download headliner will close the book of Sabbath for the UK. They’ve endured countless controversies since they headed back to the stage together and even now frontman Ozzy Osbourne remains under fire, but this appearance looks beyond the surface in celebration of their colossal career.
From classics ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Iron Man’ to ‘Faeries Wear Boots’ and ‘Children Of The Grave’, there’s morbid pseudo-occult singalongs from every orifice in this farewell set. If you count new contagion ‘God Is Dead’ alongside the ageless ‘War Pigs’, one last salute to the pioneers of a genre as energetic and alive as ever is to be expected to explode the Lemmy Stage on Saturday night. (AC)
Where & When: 8:50pm – 10:30pm – Lemmy Stage – Saturday
In the shadow of the mushroom cloud that is last year’s ‘The Book of Souls’, Iron Maiden close Download 2016 on nothing short of a Big Bang. A rite of passage in the ways of Download, veteran fans and newcomers aren’t likely to avoid the pull off Sunday’s headliner. New set features ‘Tears of a Clown’, ‘If Eternity Should Fail’ and ‘Speed of Light’ will quite easily light up the Lemmy Stage alongside the greats.
13 million Facebook fans can’t be wrong – ‘The Trooper’, ‘Fear of the Dark’ and ‘The Number of the Beast’ are destined to create arena-wide singalongs and draw the curtain on a well-loved festival with a promise that however metal may change and move on, old favourites Iron Maiden will always be there. Scream for me, Donington! (AC)
Where & When: 8:50pm – 10:50pm – Lemmy Stage – Sunday
Fresh off a career highlight show at Wembley Arena, Deftones return to Download with plenty of momentum. The Sacramento rockers eighth record ‘Gore’ has seen them once again expand their musical pallet, however Chino Moreno and company still know how to “rock” having built a catalogue of riff-filled songs that can unite any festival crowd especially the Donington faithful.
With the on-going argument of potential future headliners, Deftones are well worth being put in contention of one day topping the bill. This sub-headline slot on Saturday could be make or break for them, yet we’ve got a feeling that many people will be labelling them as “future headliners” at the end of the weekend. (SR)
Where & When: 6:40pm – 7:50pm – Lemmy Stage – Saturday
There’s no keeping Korn away from Donington for longer than three years. The nu metal menaces return to the main stage for a sub-headliner crammed with teenage flashbacks and not-so-guilty pleasures to set the Lemmy Stage a light. Fans of the old school ‘Freak On A Leash’ and ‘Got The Life’ can once again join forces with new ‘Narcissistic Cannibal’s ‘Hater’s, fawning over frontman Jonathan Davis’ mic stand as ever.
Adding Download to their extensive European festival circuit this year, even though they haven’t released any new material since 2013’s ‘The Paradigm Shift’, Korn are bringing out a glorious cover of Metallica’s ‘One’ to remind one and all that this runaway train has no desire to stop anytime soon. (AC)
Where & When: 7:00pm – 8:10pm – Lemmy Stage – Friday
Last year’s ‘Immortalized’ was a pivotal turn for iconic heavies Disturbed – even though opinions are still torn today, there’s no doubting the legacy this band bring to the stage after 22 years. Returning to Donington to showcase their sixth studio venture, new additions ‘The Light’ and ‘The Vengeful One’ will be proof that there’s plenty to celebrate about this lot.
Armed with their new heart-wrenching cover of ‘The Sound of Silence’, this will likely be the only tranquil section of Disturbed’s slot. Once the unforgettable ‘Stupify’ and ‘Down With The Sickness’ kick in, however, there’s likely to be chants all the way back to camp incorporating frontman David Draiman’s trademark “ooh-wa-ah-ah”s. (AC)
Where & When: 5:00pm – 6:00pm – Lemmy Stage – Sunday
In the wake of March’s devastatingly heavy ‘Incarnate’, metalcore royalty Killswitch Engage grace the Donington landscape once again since 2014’s incredible set. Longstanding fans will adore ‘My Last Serenade’ and ‘The End Of Heartache’ and most likely belt every note back to charismatic frontman Jesse Leach with fervour and admiration for their 17-year history.
That said, with outstanding new set additions in ‘Alone I Stand’ and ‘Hate By Design’ from their seventh opus, this Download Festival appearance is likely to be their best yet. Commended for their longevity after all these years, Killswitch Engage always makes for a crowd-pleasing, eye-catching and head-banging feature. (AC)
Where & When: 4:10pm – 5:00pm – Lemmy Stage – Friday
The Amity Affliction
Australian metalcore makes its triumphant return in the form of The Amity Affliction on Friday’s Zippo Encore Stage. After a storming third stage debut at 2014’s festival, the Aussie heavies are hopefully due to unleash tracks from their fifth album ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’, due in August.
Fresh from appearances at Rock Am Ring, Rock Im Park and the UK Slam Dunk tour, Donington’s ready to hear favourites ‘Pittsburgh’ and ‘Bondi St Blues’ grace the field once more and marvel at just how unclean vox Joel Birch hasn’t bust a lung by now. (AC)
Where & When: 5:05pm – 5:45pm – Zippo Encore Stage – Friday
Download Festival is the home of singalongs, especially when Billy Talent appear. Taking to Sunday’s Zippo Encore Stage, the lovable rockers return to Donington after a four-year absence armed with hits and a new album due next month. With new tracks ‘Afraid of Heights’ and ‘Louder Than the DJ’ from the upcoming album, this set is due to test the waters with British fans in the only way they know how.
Fan favourites ‘Devil In A Midnight Mass’, ‘Fallen Leaves’ and ‘Try Honesty’ are sure to form some camp chants this year – hell, even ‘Rusted from the Rain’ will probably make an appearance. Download without Billy Talent isn’t really Download, so we’re just glad they’re back. (AC)
Where & When: 6:10pm – 6:55pm – Zippo Encore Stage – Sunday
We can’t believe it either. Breaking Benjamin are not only making their Download debut on Sunday’s Zippo Encore Stage but their UK debut in general. Frontman Benjamin Burnley is, at last, breaking his fear of flying to venture outside the States and Canada, and dreams really do come true for long-term fans, as those classics ‘Blow Me Away’ and ‘So Cold’ will sweep away the cobwebs and remind young and old that rock is still alive and kicking.
The contagious ‘The Diary Of Jane’ is due to echo across the Donington fields just as much as newer additions such as ‘Angels Fall’ and ‘Bury Me Alive’, taken from last year’s ‘Dark Before Dawn’. All things considered, this set is not to be missed as we may never see its like again. (AC)
Where & When: 4:00pm – 4:40pm – Zippo Encore Stage – Sunday
The metal Godzilla, French heavies Gojira are keen to tease their 17th June release of sixth album ‘Magma’ with a Sunday Maverick Stage set, their first Donington appearance since 2006. Such a festival absence will only fuel the excitement in the tent as classics ‘Vacuity’ and ‘The Heaviest Matter of the Universe’ burst from the amps at a rate of knots.
New additions ‘Silvera’ and ‘Stranded’ will grace their incendiary set just as confidently as relatively recent corkers ‘Toxic Garbage Island’ and ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’. This is a band that know the formula to studio success, and this is a rare UK treat to witness ‘The Art of Dying’. (AC)
Where & When: 5:20pm – 6:00pm – The Maverick Stage – Sunday
For some, including us, Heck’s much talked about name change is long in the past. The long-awaited debut album, ‘Instructions,’ marked a new chapter for the raucous Nottingham quartet. Now with a set of effective songs to match their notorious live show, Heck continue to be one of the UK’s most exciting bands.
If you’re looking for a mid-afternoon boost, head to the Maverick stage on Friday where you can expect to see Heck to produce a fine-tuned display of thrashing noise-core. Don’t be surprised if Johnny Hall and Matt Reynolds decide to explore the tent and beyond. (SR)
Where & When: 3:30pm – 4:00pm – The Maverick Stage – Friday
One of the most promising UK acts to emerge over the past 18 months, London-based rockers Zoax have gradually been winning over fans and critics with their genre-crossing brand of alt rock. Their recent debut self-titled is full of vibrant, well-crafted songs that makes you both intrigued and excited with songs such as ‘The Bad Blood,’ ‘Roses All The Way’ and ‘Devil Dance’ showcasing their versatility.
A mid-afternoon slot in-between alongside fellow British hopefuls Puppy and Heck seems ideal for Zoax as they offer a balanced mix of melody and riffs, with frontman Adam Carroll sure to be as charismatic as always. (SR)
Where & When: 2:40pm – 3:05pm – The Maverick Stage – Friday
Motley Crue may have called time on their career at last year’s Download, but Nikki Sixx’s project Sixx:A.M. are just as capable of drawing out some contagious camp chants this year. Hitting the Lemmy Stage on Saturday for the first time, Nikki and company come bearing singalongs and punchy riffs galore, with fan favourites ‘This Is Gonna Hurt’ and ‘Stars’ pulling no punches at the hands of frontman James Michael.
Since the April release of ‘Prayers for the Damned Vol. 1’ and the rising anticipation for the second volume to be released this year, fans and newcomers can expect plenty of new material from this rare UK outing of classic rock talents extraordinaire. (AC)
Where & When: 2:25pm – 3:10pm – Lemmy Stage – Saturday
In the wake of last year’s return to form with sixth studio banger ‘Long Live’, Atreyu are well and truly back. They’ve recharged their batteries, cranked up the amps and they’ve got the Lemmy Stage in their sights. Armed to the teeth with storming older classics ‘Ex’s and Oh’s’ and ‘Lip Gloss and Black’, if a nostalgia trip is what you’re after then this bunch are well worth the trek from the village.
This time around, ‘Do You Know Who You Are?’ and ‘Long Live’ are destined for air-punching singalongs right next to the timeless anthems ‘Right Side Of The Bed’ and ‘Becoming The Bull’. Missing Atreyu is usually a travesty in itself, but missing Atreyu on the hallowed Download stage is unforgivable. (AC)
Where & When: 1:15pm – 1:55pm – Lemmy Stage – Saturday
Well Beartooth certainly did something right last year, didn’t they? They’re returning to Donington just 12 months later, and on the main stage too. New album ‘Aggressive’ has split opinion but you can’t argue it still contains an array of anthemic mosh-worthy songs; ‘Always Dead,’ ‘Hated,’ and ‘Sick of Me’. When combined with older cuts such as ‘In Between,’ ‘The Lines’ and ‘Beaten In Lips,’ the Ohio hardcore group are quickly developing a set of wall-to-wall ragers that will surely justify the jump from third to first stage.
Beartooth are on a wave of momentum yet they’ll arrive at Download with a point to prove. Nevertheless they have all the right ingredients to leave a lasting impression. Just like the did last year. (SR)
Where & When: 12:05pm – 12:45pm – Lemmy Stage – Saturday
Alongside Bury Tomorrow (and depending on who you ask) Bring Me The Horizon, Architects have been leading a UK metal revival for close to ten years. Latest album, ‘All Our Gods Have Abandon Us,’ has been labelled as a “career best” and rightly so. Subtly adventurous, the record is perfectly chaotic that emphasis all of Architects’ strengths; grand musicianship and impressive songwriting wrapped in a ball of pure rage.
Although this time at Download they find themselves on the second stage (rather than the main,) Architects are a live force to be reckoned with. With a finely tuned array of songs that are more than capable to stir up any crowd, the Brighton quintet have all the right ingredients to make this weekends appearance one to remember. (SR)
Where & When: 6:05pm – 6:45pm – Zippo Encore Stage – Saturday
Riotous Southampton metalcore crew Bury Tomorrow are no strangers to Donington, yet having released the exceptional ‘Earthbound’ earlier this year, their third visit is set to be their most important yet.
New cuts such as ‘The Eternal’ and ‘Last Light’ have that familiar BT sound; crushing heaviness with melodic blasts. It’s a trademark that has seen them go from strength to strength with every album, honing their sound with every record. If you’re looking for a late afternoon band to want you up for Architects, Deftones etc, then there is no other choice than Bury Tomorrow. (SR)
Where & When: 4:00pm – 4:30pm – Zippo Encore Stage – Saturday
What can we say about Black Peaks that hasn’t already been said? Their long-awaited debut album, ‘Statues,’ has been earmarked to appear on many end of year lists. With the menacing vocals of Will Gardner combining with the bands thick, sturdy music
ianship, Black Peaks have been winning over crowds and critics for the best part of a year.
Having previously played to crowds at Reading and Leeds and Hevy as well as their recent impressive display alongside Deftones, Black Peaks look to tick Download off their wish list with plenty of momentum and confidence. Their live show is a thrilling display of math-tinged hard rock that is certain to unite the Maverick tent crowd. (SR)
Where & When: 12:45pm – 1:15pm – The Maverick Stage – Saturday
Ever taken your skateboard for a spin and wondered how much hallucinogenic drugs would improve your experience? The Shrine’s triptastic rock spectacular takes to Download’s Dogtooth Stage to demonstrate the lives of the Lords of Dogtown. Fronted by pro skater Josh Landau, California’s lysergic marvels are rarely seen blasting their way across the pond, so their Saturday slot is not to be missed.
Even more so, if stoner rock isn’t your usual forte or you’ve never pondered the benefits of psychedelia, The Shrine helpfully provide a perfect accompaniment to drinking the evening away and chanting along with ‘Coming Down Quick’. For fans of Saturday’s headliners Black Sabbath, these 70’s-inspired protégés are ones to watch. (AC)
Where & When: 6:50pm – 7:20pm – The Dogtooth Stage – Saturday
Sprightly goth punk newcomers Ashestoangels explode onto Sunday’s Dogtooth Stage to give the rest a run for their money. With musical wisdom far beyond their years and yet an unbounded youthful energy, it’s probably not wise to put this band anywhere with a roof which they can raise.
Their dedicated following are likely to pack out the fourth stage as stormers ‘Wintervention’ and ‘Ghost In The Machine’ blast their way through the festival’s closing day, their brand new banger ‘Not In My Name’ will keep you going on your way to ‘Find Hell’ if you’re absolutely ‘Still Dead’. This is a band on the rise so catch them while you can. (AC)
Where & When: 4:50pm – 5:20pm – The Dogtooth Stage – Sunday
Whilst some bands at Download thrive off having a “gimmick” or a niche, Exeter trio Black Foxxes prefer to keep things real. Their brand of stirring and dynamic alt rock might be seen as a fresh air to the plethora of riffery and screaming that dominates the Donington air.
Although debut album ‘I’m Not Well’ isn’t due till August 19th, recent singles ‘Husk’ and the title track display Black Foxxes’ raw versatility. Donington has often served as a breeding ground for new talent, and this year it’s Black Foxxes’ opportunity to shine. (SR)
Where & When: 4:00pm – 4:25pm – The Dogtooth Stage – Sunday
FRIDAY | SATURDAY | SUNDAY
FRIDAY, JUNE 10TH
Rammstein 9:10pm – 10:50pm
Korn 7:00pm – 8:10pm
Killswitch Engage 4:10pm – 5:00pm
BabyMetal 3:00pm – 3:40pm
Alien Ant Farm 2:00pm – 2:30pm
Royal Republic 1:00pm – 1:30pm
ZIPPO ENCORE STAGE
All Time Low 8:55pm – 10:05pm
Twin Atlantic 7:30pm – 8:25pm
Glassjaw 6:15pm – 7:00pm
The Amity Affliction 5:05pm – 5:45pm
Skillet 3:55pm – 4:35pm
Graveyard 2:45pm – 3:25pm
As Lions 1:50pm – 2:15pm
RavenEye 1:00pm – 1:25pm
THE MAVERICK STAGE
Gutterdämmerung 7:40pm – 8:50pm
The Wildhearts 6:25pm – 7:10pm
Kadavar 5:20pm – 6:00pm
Fort Hope 4:25pm – 4:55pm
Heck 3:30pm – 4:00pm
Zoax 2:40pm – 3:05pm
Puppy 1:50pm – 2:15pm
Hill Valley High 1:00pm – 1:25pm
THE DOGTOOTH STAGE
Raging Speedhorn 10:15pm – 10:55pm
InMe 9:20pm – 9:50pm
Fort Hope 8:30pm – 8:55pm
Skinny Lister 7:40pm – 8:05pm
From Ashes To New 6:50pm – 7:15pm
Counting Days 6:00pm – 6:25pm
Havok 5:10pm – 5:35pm
Strange Bones 4:20pm – 4:45pm
The Amorettes 3:30pm – 3:55pm
In Search Of Sun 2:40pm – 3:05pm
Weirds 1:55pm – 2:15pm
SATURDAY, JUNE 11TH
Black Sabbath 8:50pm – 10:30pm
Deftones 6:40pm – 7:50pm
Megadeth 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Rival Sons 3:40pm – 4:30pm
SIXX:A.M 2:25pm – 3:10pm
Atreyu 1:15pm – 1:55pm
Beartooth 12:05pm – 12:45pm
Avatar 11:00am – 11:35am
ZIPPO ENCORE STAGE
NOFX 8:45pm – 9:55pm
Skindred 7:15pm – 8:15pm
Architects 6:05pm – 6:45pm
Juliette and the Licks 4:55pm – 5:35pm
Bury Tomorrow 4:00pm – 4:30pm
Tesseract 3:05pm – 3:35pm
Scorpion Child 2:10pm – 2:40pm
The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing 1:15pm – 1:45pm
Inglorious 12:20pm – 12:50pm
Santa Cruz 11:30am – 11:55am
THE MAVERICK STAGE
Pennywise 7:40pm – 8:40pm
Neck Deep 6:25pm – 7:10pm
Anti-Flag 5:20pm – 6:00pm
Escape The Fate 4:25pm – 4:55pm
Lawnmower Deth 3:30pm – 4:00pm
Danko Jones 2:35pm – 3:05pm
Turbowolf 1:40pm – 2:10pm
Black Peaks 12:45pm – 1:15pm
Shvpes 11:50am – 12:20pm
M O S E S 11:00am – 11:25am
THE DOGTOOTH STAGE
Municipal Waste 7:50pm – 8:35pm
The Shrine 6:50pm – 7:20pm
Cane Hill 5:50pm – 6:20pm
Slaves (US) 4:50pm – 5:20pm
Dead! 4:00pm – 4:25pm
Milk Teeth 3:10pm – 3:35pm
Wage War 2:20pm – 2:45pm
Palisades 1:30pm – 1:55pm
Reigning Days 12:40pm – 1:05pm
Wearing Scars 11:50am – 12:15pm
Scattering Ashes 11:00am – 11:25am
SUNDAY, JUNE 12TH
Iron Maiden 8:50pm – 10:50pm
Nightwish 6:40pm – 7:50pm
Disturbed 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Shinedown 3:40pm – 4:30pm
Halestorm 2:25pm – 3:10pm
The Temperance Movement 1:10pm – 1:55pm
Amon Amarth 12:00pm – 12:40pm
Monster Truck 11:00am – 11:30am
ZIPPO ENCORE STAGE
Jane’s Addiction 7:25pm – 8:35pm
Billy Talent 6:10pm – 6:55pm
Don Broco 5:05pm – 5:45pm
Breaking Benjamin 4:00pm – 4:40pm
One OK Rock 3:05pm – 3:35pm
Periphery 2:10pm – 2:40pm
Delain 1:15pm – 1:45pm
Grand Magus 12:30pm – 12:55pm
Whiskey Myers 11:45am – 12:10pm
Buck & Evans 11:00am – 11:25am
THE MAVERICK STAGE
Saxon 7:40pm – 8:40pm
Ghost 6:25pm – 7:10pm
Gojira 5:20pm – 6:00pm
Electric Wizard 4:25pm – 4:55pm
Tremonti 3:30pm – 4:00pm
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes 2.35PM – 3:05PM
Attila 1:40pm – 2:10pm
The Dirty Youth 12:45pm – 1:15pm
The Raven Age 11:50am – 12:20pm
The Wild Lies 11:00am – 11:25am
THE DOGTOOTH STAGE
Napalm Death 7:50pm – 8:35pm
Ho99o9 6:50pm – 7:20pm
Good Tiger 5:50pm – 6:20pm
Ashestoangels 4:50pm – 5:20pm
Black Foxxes 4:00pm – 4:25pm
Kenneths 3:10pm – 3:35pm
Muncie Girls 2:20pm – 2:45pm
The King Is Blind 1:30pm – 1:55pm
Witchsorrow 12:40pm – 1:05pm
Vukovi 11:50am – 12:15pm
The Franklys 11:00am – 11:25am
View more of Already Heard’s coverage of Download Festival 2016 here.
Words by Sêan Reid (SR) and Ali Cooper (AC).