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Festival Review: Download 2013

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Over the weekend of the 14-16 June, Donington Park underwent its annual transformation into a pilgrimage site forthe worlds metal heads for another Download festival.

Download Festival 2013

Starting off proceedings on the Friday were Rise to Remain on the main stage, who drew a pretty big crowd with their popular metalcore sound.

Headlining the festival for the second time, Slipknot delivered a predictably brutal set which easily topped any other performance the UK had seen before, coming complete with an emotional salute to recently deceased band member Paul Gray, the crowd charging through the barriers and a revolving drum kit.

On Saturday headliners Iron Maiden once again brought their crowd-pleasing, historical performance to the main stage, failing to disappoint any one of the 90,000 who gathered to watch the band.

Rising stars of Norwegian metal Kvelertak were undoubtedly a highlight of the weekend, setting the crowd on fire with their raucous, unforgiving blend of heavy metal and hard rock. As the euphoric hook of ‘Bruanne Brenn’ ripped through the tent and the long-haired band headbanged in unison, it was a moment of triumph for heavy metal.

Few will dispute that Rammstein stole the show, providing a fitting finale for Sunday night. If Slipknot embody American nu-metal at its peak and Iron Maiden the essence of British heavy metal, Rammstein flew the banner for German industrial metal in the most racially stereotypical and outrageous way possible, putting on a show featuring penis-shaped white foam cannons, sodomy and enough pyrotechnics to destroy a small forest.

As the flocks horded towards the exit on Monday morning there was a sense of devastation in the air, as if Donnington Park and all its occupants had been dragged through a three-day war and razed to the ground.

Yet as we all limped away from the festival, there was barely an unhappy face in sight.

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