The British heavy music festival, Download, is en route to its second instalment on Australian soil. The festival fills the hole left open by the discontinued Soundwave, and has plugged it with professionalism, adequate facilities, artist payments and ample of drinking water. But beyond amenities and passive aggression lies a heavy-hearted bill indebted to goodbyes and nostalgia.
Here we look at the life and legacy of the festival’s more endearing artists, and a few newbies coming up the ranks.
Yes, Ozzy Osbourne, one of heavy metal’s innovators, is set to perform what are likely his last ever Australian shows. After his The End tours with Black Sabbath in 2016, and his No More Tours tour in 1992 after being incorrectly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it’s only fitting to now (properly) say adieu to his solo work. It’s hard to know where to start with Ozzy; the man’s been active since 1968, released numerous milestone albums with Black Sabbath, many albums more solo, ate a live bat on stage, had his own MTV series, and had a heavy hand in influencing practically every slow, heavy and fuzzed out band in existence.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end and for most Australians this will be their last time ever to see Ozzy perform in the flesh.
The most quintessential name in all of thrash metal, Slayer too, are bidding Australia farewell via the medium of Download. Mike Patton famously stated ‘I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Slayer’, indicating to us all just how far down music’s lineage Slayer’s DNA can be found. Having toured relentlessly for years and already having their tour setlist public, Slayer aren’t exactly playing their hand close to their chest. But regardless, I predict a strong presence of the band’s infamously loyal followers.
Despite being a year away from their diamond jubilee, Judas Priest are not plugging the farewell tour just yet, but they are strictly limiting their Australian performances to Download’s Sydney and Melbourne events, just to ignite that sense of urgency Download’s pushing. Led by the bald headed legend, Rob Halford, the Priest will be taking the audience on a journey from glam through studded leather all the way to the heavy depths of one of NWOBHM’s most pioneering bands.
Anthrax, along with Slayer constitute 50% of thrash metal’s ‘Big 4’, the unholy alliance of the genre’s biggest names. Anthrax usually take the backseat of the Big 4 limelight, being dwarfed by Megadeth, Metallica and Slayer, which in heavy metal terms, usually says great things about your music. Anthrax are the group who, unlike many of their counterparts, resisted the move toward more polished, overproduced and mainstream releases. Releasing the landmark Worship Music in 2011, the formidable speed metal force of Anthrax have defied the fatiguing effects of ageing and are as strong a force as ever for their 2019 Download performance.
One of the more polarising groups in contemporary heavy music, Ghost are making a name for themselves with their ghoulish outfits and catchy, but heavy tracks. Synergising black metal themes and imagery with heavy metal’s more classic rock attributes, Ghost are simultaneously repelling purists while providing stepping stones for the metal-curious. The Dave Grohl endorsed Scandinavians are touring their 2018 release, Prequelle.
Three albums deep and with their mid-twenties still years away, Code Orange are the up and coming metalcore band approaching the genre with grace and finesse. Their 2017 release, Forever, earned numerous accolades including the top spot on both Rolling Stone’s and Revolver’s 2017 end of year heavy music lists, and received praise from the brutally honest Anthony Fantano. Having only grown out of the tender “Code Orange Kids” moniker 3 years prior, the Code Orange youngsters will be performing a high energy show of their dynamic brand of abrasive hardcore.
Download’s full lineup (thus far) is:
Alice in Chains
The Amity Affliction
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
The Fever 333
War on Women
You can buy tickets from Download’s Official Website