Slipknot, Die Antwoord and Trivium performing at the Download Festival Donington Park on Saturday 15th June 2019

Review by Kevin Cooper

For the second day of Download at Donington Park, the rain kept away but the mud remained, although it did not detract from the anticipation of the line up that was set to grace the main stage on Saturday.

Up first was American heavy metal band from Orlando Florida, Trivium, a four piece band who have sold over one million records worldwide and who are no stranger to the Download stage having played there in 2005 and 2006, before headlining their first festival at Bloodstock in 2015.

Having released their fifth album, the Sun And The Sentence in 2017, there was bound to be a few songs from it on their set list. They opened with the album title track, with its dual guitar solo as its centrepiece and the shared vocals between front man Matt Heafy and guitarist Corey Beaulieu, which complemented each other perfectly.

Other songs from the album followed such as the delightful Beyond Oblivion, whilst the instrumental passage of Sever The Hand had the audience whirling around in a cauldron of mosh as bassist Paolo Gregoletto and drummer Alex Bent whipped everybody into a calculated frenzy.

Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr and Like Light To Flies were greeted like the old friends that they are as the crowd vociferously sung every word. The hair raising chorus of Until The World Goes Cold had the crowd singing again but it was new song The Heart From Your Hate that could well be a constant staple of the bands repertoire in the future as the crowd lapped up its anthemic feel and sang along to the chorus.

As always a highlight of the bands set was the crushing call of In Waves which the band finished their set with, sending tides of bodies rolling towards the crash barriers, proving that it had been a great start to the evening’s entertainment.

From the sublime to the possibly ridiculous, it was the turn of the South African hip hop group, Die Antwoord to take to the stage. Composed of rappers Ninja and Yolandi Visser, a male and female duo and their mysterious producer, God, (formerly known as DJ Hi-Tek) who wore a body morphing mask and orange jumpsuit, and who shared his riser with a twerking dancer.

When they first attracted the world’s attention with their 2009 single Enter The Ninja, it was hard to know what to make of them. But this Download crowd were non judgemental as they danced along to Die Antwoord’s crystal sweet, childlike vocals with electro dance beats and menacing English and Afrikaans raps.

It helped that as soon as they got onto the stage with opener Pitbull Terrier, they managed to be utterly compelling, as they bewitched this heavy metal crowd with their wild energy. Ninja’s raps were aggressive and clear, whilst Yolandi with her uniquely styled blonde mullet and childish singing style made a real impression with her outfit changes for every song.

For the likes of Fatty Boom Boom and Banana Brian they used video screens that featured visuals that would undoubtedly leave an impression on those more delicate members of the crowd. Tracks such as Baby’s On Fire and I Fink U Freeky surprisingly induced a mixture of dancing and head banging from those who didn’t care that their friends may have been having a bit of a snigger at their expense.

And with Yolande’s note perfect singing on songs that rely upon her melodious choruses such as on Ugly Boy and set closer Enter The Ninja, it was a sight beyond believing when you looked around the arena to see the crowd having been transported to a rave and enjoying every minute of it.

Topping the bill on the main stage on the Saturday night was the fire breathing, nine piece Slipknot who when they came on stage, the crowd, still dressed in clown masks and boiler suits, absolutely erupted. They were returning for their first headlining performance since 2015, and whilst a lot has changed in that time both inside and outside of the group, when they launched into their opening anthem People = Shit, followed by (Sic) and Get This, the crowd applauded the changes.

With new album, We Are Not Your Kind, to be released later this year, the band, largely attired in boiler suits, with fresh masks, managed to create one of the biggest and muddiest mosh pits of 2019. With a set that allowed them to cherry pick some of their most vicious and downright heavy songs, such as The Heretic Anthem and Prosthetics which all slotted together very nicely.

With the crowd well and truly on side, they introduced new songs Unsainted and All Out Life before immediately thrashing back to Disasterpiece from their 2001 Iowa album. Before I Forget was as vital and iconic as when it was released in 2004 and Vermilion saw the arena singing the words back and whilst Corey Taylor’s new mask isn’t the most fetching, the whole band grab the crowd’s attention and kept them transfixed.

As a cool breeze descended over the audience, the darkness aptly draws in for Psychosocial, The Devil In I and Custer.

For the encore they revisited their self titled 1999 album with Spit It Out, with the usual crouch down and jump up in the middle of the song which sees tens of thousands of people jump up in unison, and Surfacing finishes the set and brought to an end a day of great if sometimes unusual music, and with Slipknot placing secret 2020 tour posters across the site, it won’t be long before they are back to do it all over again.