Monsters of rock emerge from the mud at Download 2012
12:45 GMT, 12 June 2012
The 10th anniversary of the Download festival saw 100,000 rock fans from across the country battle the British summer and descend upon a very wet and muddy Donnington Park.
While the weather might have been gloomy, the crowd were in great spirits at the prospect of a really rather impressive line-up.
The start of the festival was delayed for two hours by the conditions and some bands were seriously affected by a combination of this and the heavy traffic.
Men of metal: Singer James Hetfield, right, and Kirk Hammett of headliners Metallica perform on Saturday evening
Swedish hair metal band Europe, stuck at the airport, missed their slot. This was much to the disappointment of the waiting crowd who sprang into an impromptu version of The Final Countdown in an effort to compensate.
Controversially, Friday evening saw dance acts taking the headline spots, with Chase and Status followed by The Prodigy.
There will be few times in future when we will see Machine Head in a support slot for a British dubstep duo. The Prodigy themselves somehow seem to transcend musical boundaries though, turning back time with an energetic show.
When they kicked into Breathe, it was like stepping back into the 90s. While both dance acts probably won a number of new fans over the course of the evening, many sacrificed the Prodigy in order to witness an amazing set by Devin Townsend.
Rocking out: The Prodigy perform on the Download main stage on Friday night
Other honourable mentions for Friday also have to go to Slash, still the coolest guy in rock, and London-based Neonfly who performed early on the acoustic stage.
Saturday was all about U.S. rock behemoths Metallica performing their legendary Black Album in its entirety (and in reverse) along with a selection of other tunes from their extensive back catalogue.
Purists might disagree, but this album is undoubtedly the people’s choice judging by what appeared to be the full 100,000 people in front of the main stage. While it was no legendary Metallica show, their machine-tooled performance certainly ticked all the right boxes, and would be difficult for anyone to fault.
Aside from Metallica, arguably the most memorable performance from Saturday would have to be that of spoof 80s rockers Steel Panther – whether this was due to the music or down to the topless women and inflatable love dolls is another matter.
The dark knight: Rocker Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath closes the festival on Sunday
Either way, they drew a massive crowd to their late afternoon slot and gave Jack Black and his comedy rock act Tenacious D a tough act to follow. In fact, Tenacious D seemed slightly lost on the main stage in front of such a massive crowd and would have probably suited a more intimate setting.
The main stage line-up for Sunday was perhaps the most interesting of the weekend.
Acts including Anthrax, Black Label Society, Megadeth and Soundgarden provided the entertainment – with Dave Mustaine’s Megadeth on particularly good form. But all these bands played second fiddle to the headline act. If ever there were an appropriate group to close Download 2012, it would be Birmingham rockers Black Sabbath.
Despite having had more members than Spinal Tap, it was great to see 63-year-old Ozzy Osbourne back where he belongs, shuffling around the stage like a man of 70. Most bands at Download owe Sabbath a huge debt, and with hits like Paranoid, War Pigs and Iron Man proving timeless, their place in rock folklore is well deserved.
In all, Download 2012 was a colossal event for metal fans, with over 100 acts providing a little something for everyone – as long as that something was Rock 'n’ Roll.
Acoustic comedy rock: Kyle Gass, left, and Jack Black, right, of Tenacious D. The duo could have benefited from a more intimate setting