Slipknot - .5 Gray ChapterFor a band as brutal as Slipknot, the fact that this years’ set was their third time as headliners, speaks volumes for their success. The Nu Metal thrashers, rejuvenated by a line-up change and new LP “.5 Gray Chapter”, kicked off in style; ‘Sarcastrophe’, from said album was devoured with furious roars by the Download faithful. This was amongst four others from their fifth opus, including the crushingly catchy ‘The Devil in I’ and ‘AOV’.

A deliciously hectic atmosphere surrounded Castle Donington, both on and off stage, completely defying the torrential weather – ‘Welcome to Downpour’ Corey Taylor quite rightly exclaimed.

The nine man wrecking crew were as wonderfully chaotic as ever, with Corey Taylor preaching to the already converted and proudly declaring Donington as their home from home. The set was littered with anthemic fan favourites, ‘Heretic Anthem’ and ‘Psychosocial’ nestling happily alongside ‘Wait and Bleed’ and ‘Before I Forget’, bringing forth muddy mosh pits and headbanging galore. Not to mention the now traditional mass sit down during ‘Spit it Out’, whose familiarity did nothing to diminish the sense of joy and belonging that it brings.

The encore was started with the frenzied rage of ‘(Sic)’, the rest of the demonic trio being the upbeat “Iowa” favourite ‘People = Shit’, and the demented wailing preamble of ‘Surfacing’. The huddled masses were expectant and they were not disappointed, The ‘Knot may be Download regulars, but their performance was anything but – they finished the first day of Download in style.

Photo Credit: Danny North