Tuesday 21 June 2022

Festival Review: DOWNLOAD UK 2022 (Fri 10th June - Sun 12th June)


Aside from last year's scaled down 'pilot festival' (click for my review), this was the first full-scale Download Festival in three years. Given the current chaos with Covid, international flights, and all kinds of unwanted shite, it was inevitable that the line-up would be 'subject to change' right up until showtime. By this point, I was grateful that the show was going ahead, and both Kiss and Iron Maiden were going to be there. Anyone else was a bonus. 

The biggest change was the new parking area which felt like a million miles away from the arena. I didn't mind, as there's nothing like a good walk to burn off some of that over-priced greasy festival food! The Dogtooth stage was back at the top of the hill, facing the main stage (now called the Apex Stage), but other than that, Download was back to it's familiar self. 

Living about an hour from the festival has it's perks. I prefer to commute every day, instead of enduring the misery of the campsite. Being kept awake until 5am by wasted festival-goers shouting, falling into people's tents and pissing wherever they want like livestock, is just not appealing to me. I like my own bed, a clean bog, and a decent home-made breakfast. That's how rock 'n' roll I am. 


The first band I saw were the awesome Metalcore legends Bury Tomorrow. They have a new line-up since I last saw them, and they were awesome! Highlights for me were Black Flame and their new single Death (Ever Colder).

Bury Tomorrow at Download 2022

Next up were Black Veil Brides. I've heard many a Metal fan over the years slag these guys off for being posers, lacking substance etc.. but I think that's the price for having a very pretty singer and appealing to millions of kids across the globe. Miserable old Slayer fans and gatekeepers were always going to be sharpening the guillotines. In fairness, they've been around for quite some time now, and they do have some very cool songs. I enjoyed their set, and I don't think a single person in that field didn't love it when they played Fallen Angels.

Black Veil Brides at Download 2022

I've been a Lacuna Coil fan for many years, and I don't think they've ever put out an album that I didn't like. Having said that, they seem to have had a resurgence over the last five years, as their last couple of albums have been a bit heavier in direction. Anyway, they were as fantastic as I expected, and I particularly enjoyed hearing Trip The Darkness, Heaven's A Lie, and the epic Veneficium.

Lacuna Coil at Download 2022

A few years ago, I used to listen to A Day To Remember quite a bit. They fell off my radar and I haven't paid that much attention to their last couple of records. It was nice to be reacquainted, as I'd forgotten what an arsenal of killer tracks they have in their repertoire.  They're still hugely popular and it felt like the entire crowd was singing along to All I Want. Excellent stuff!

A Day To Remember at Download 2022

Having headlined at last year's Download Pilot, Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes had already proved that they'd be an excellent choice to replace The Distillers. They even played a cover of The Distillers' Drain The Blood, which I thought was a pretty cool thing to do, given the circumstances. What can I say, other than that this is an amazing band with great songs and mountains of energy? If you've seen them before, you know how good this show was.

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes at Download 2022

Kiss have always been my favourite band (along with Judas Priest), so it was emotional to know that this would be their last ever UK show. Given that Paul and Gene are in their 70's and are playing these high energy shows in heavy costumes, the fact that they are out there still doing this is outstanding. I've read accusations about vocal backing tapes, but if any were used, it wasn't obvious, and were probably just to boost choruses with harmonies, if they were there at all? Most, if not all of this was clearly live. Maybe Kiss were trying to prove a point? Regardless, they were amazing. The stage show was extra in every way possible, the set-list was very strong with songs from various points of their career, including a couple of deeper cuts such as Tears Are Falling and War Machine. Paul still flew over the audience, and Gene was still breathing fire and spitting blood. Tonight gave me everything I wanted from the final Kiss show and more! The greatest band in the world went out with a bang!

KISS at Download 2022

KISS at Download 2022

KISS at Download 2022

KISS at Download 2022

KISS at Download 2022

KISS at Download 2022

KISS at Download 2022

KISS at Download 2022


My first band of Saturday was Salem on the Avalanche stage. For those unfamiliar with Salem, it's Will from Creeper's other band. I've seen them twice so far, both times in Manchester (click for review of The Deaf Institute gig). They only have two EP's, so they were able to tear through the majority of their songs during this short set. I can't say I was surprised to see such a huge turnout for them, as they have played a lot of shows over the last few months, and they're simply awesome!

Salem at Download 2022

After lunch and a stroll around, I wandered into the Avalanche tent at the start of Loathe's set to avoid the rain. There was hardly any rain over the weekend, but the little we had ensured an absolutely rammed tent for these guys. I'm not a huge Loathe fan in all honesty. To my ears, they sound a lot like Deftones. Maybe Loathe will grow on me in the future, who knows? 

Loathe at Download 2022

I made it to the Opus stage for Bush's set and, as expected, they played a mix of new and old material, but oddly omitted the awesome Flowers On A Grave and Bullet Holes from their new record in favour of tracks that aren't quite as good. Yes, it's just a opinion, but those aforementioned tracks were the first singles. Oh well. Anyway, the band gave a decent performance and included Machinehead, Everything Zen, and Swallowed in their set, so they were definitely worth a watch.

Bush at Download 2022

I've become a huge fan of Bleed From Within since seeing them at last year's Download Pilot. I saw them at Bloodstock too, and their new album, Shrine, is absolutely magnificent. Playing to a rammed Dogtooth tent, they performed a mix of new and older songs in a slick, melodic-yet brutal set, with future classics such as Levitate and The End Of All We Know.

Bleed From Within at Download 2022

I absolutely love Creeper. They delivered one of the best sets at last year's Download Pilot (click here), and I also saw them perform a stellar set supporting Alice Cooper in Manchester recently. They never disappoint. Today's show was no exception, and they cemented their position as Download legends with another fantastic rendition of Misery, with the crowd singing along to every word. It was wonderful to witness.

Creeper at Download 2022

I only caught the first part of Megadeth's set as there was a clash with the mighty Sepultura. MegaDave and co belted through classics including Hangar 18, Angry Again (from the Bill & Ted soundtrack), and Sweating Bullets. Obviously, what I saw was great, but I wanted to see Sepultura, so sorry Dave!

Megadeth at Download 2022

The tent for Sepultura was absolutely packed! Finally being able to tour their magnificent new(ish) album Quadra (click for review), the band was on fire! New songs like Means To An End sat proudly side-by-side with classics such as Propaganda and Roots Bloody Roots in a set with no fillers whatsoever. Sepultura are always a pleasure to watch.

Sepultura at Download 2022

If Iron Maiden aren't one of your favourite bands, there's something deeply wrong with you. Tonight's performance proved my point, and they were amazing! Starting the show with three songs from their new album, Senjutsu, Stratego, and The Writing On The Wall, the band then launched into some of their finest songs from their massive career. Obviously, there will be favourites omitted, but I thought this set-list was solid. The stage show was incredible too, especially for Flight Of Icarus, Sign Of The Cross and Aces High. Let's be honest here, their show was worth the price of the festival ticket alone.

Iron Maiden at Download 2022

Iron Maiden at Download 2022

Iron Maiden at Download 2022

Iron Maiden at Download 2022

Iron Maiden at Download 2022

Iron Maiden at Download 2022

Iron Maiden at Download 2022


Due to a lazy start from yours truly on Sunday, the first band I saw was Rise Against. I've been a fan for years, have all of their records, and have seen them many times. They're always a fantastic band to see live. As expected the set was packed with classics such as Prayer of the Refugee, Ready To Fall, Satellite, and Savior.

Rise Against at Download 2022

One of the most hyped bands of the day was Spiritbox, especially as this was their first ever UK show. I love their debut album, so made my way to the front to witness Rock history. Opening with Circle With Me, the band was on-point throughout. Holy Roller sounded absolutely massive, as did most of their tracks to be fair. I have no doubt that they'll be back next year on one of the outdoor stages.

Spiritbox at Download 2022

I caught a bit of The Darkness' set. They're one of those bands that have a handful of songs I really like, but I wouldn't consider myself to be a fan in all honesty. They sounded great and had a massive crowd, so 'winner winner, chicken dinner' for them.

The Darkness at Download 2022

I love Satanic Doo-Wop band Twin Temple. I saw them in Manchester before Covid (click here for review), and earlier this year supporting Ghost in Birmingam. Despite being very different to literally everyone else on the bill, they went down a storm. I did enjoy watching the security guard trying to stay professional and not crack up laughing when the band were inviting everyone to join a Satanic orgy. Brilliant!

Twin Temple at Download 2022

Steel Panther are a great festival band. Hilarious, vulgar, and unquestionably awesome musicians, there's nothing not to love here. One of the many highlights was when they brought out Justin Hawkins from The Darkness out for a rendition of Party All Day from their debut album.

Steel Panther at Download 2022

I've seen Biffy Clyro many times, and they've never disappointed. Tonight's show was the perfect end to the event, packed with hit singles and a few deeper cuts. You just can't argue with contemporary classics like Black Chandelier and Bubbles. I enjoyed hearing the insane-yet-epic Cop Syrup in the encore too. A fantastic band and a great headliner!

Biffy Clyro at Download 2022

Biffy Clyro at Download 2022

Biffy Clyro at Download 2022

So there we have it! Another Download festival done! This one was the dryest I can remember too. I'll be back next year to take shit pictures on my phone. My money is on Ghost, Slipknot, and Rammstein as headliners next year. Regardless, I'm still holding out hope for a reunited Misfits. We'll see!


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