I had no dry clothes left and the levels of mud had reached boot-sapping proportions. Part of me felt just like packing up the tent and buggering off home. Many others did. But I stuck with it and was rewarded with some of the gems of the weekend.
|Frank Carter meets the crowd - Photo by Derek Bremmer|
Amon Amarth gave us some really heavy songs about Vikings and drinking beer with fire and dragons to boot, while The Raven Age bashed out their melodic metal under canvas.
The Dirty Youth were OK but not very memorable, while I also took in parts of The Temperance Movement and Delain. But like other periods across the weekend, no one managed to convince me to stay for more than two or three songs.
My hope was that would change with Attila. They promised to bring the party to Download and much of the crowd they gathered in the Maverick tent seemed to be along for the ride. But I just found it all a very juvenile and, well, shit.
Instead, I trudge across to the Zippo Encore stage and rewarded with the wonderful Periphery. I hadn't heard any of their music before, but their technical djent metal was just what the doctor ordered. A real find for me.
Buoyed on by that, I watched some of the Halestorm set on the Lemmy Stage and, wow, can Lzzy Hale wail. The songs may not be the greatest, but her voice is truly one of the best in modern rock music.
|Disturbed point the way - Photo by Ross Silcocks|
Getting the crowd involved in lots of fun and antics, including a circle pit around the tent - yours truly getting splattered in mud in the process. The frontman is on fire.
But there is more to this act than *shudders* banter. Frank is a great singer, as shown in his ballad Beautiful Death, which he performs among the crowd in the middle of the tent. Juggernaut and Devil Inside Me are also superb punk tracks.
Snarling, sneering, swearing, cocky and brash, Frank is every inch the archetypal punk rocker. He even has the stare. But among the angst is a whole lot of love, humour and emotion gushing through. Modern and relevant, Frank is surely one of the most important artists in British music right now.
As you may be able to tell, I was blown away.
It's safe to say then that what followed could not take me to such a high. Tremonti, relegated from the main stage last year to the third this time around, were really good. Shinedown? I could take or leave (I did the latter to get pizza!).
So then to Disturbed, who started their set with a steady selection of hits but really cranked things up when the covers came in.
Their first - Simon & Garfunkel's Sound of Silence - is already a big hit for them, but they deliver a flawless version here complete with orchestral accompaniment.
|Lzzy Hale lets rip -
All excellent stuff before Disturbed finish off their set, as expected, with Down With The Sickness.
That was me done. I'm not a fan of Nightwish or Maiden, who I've seen before, and I get to go out on the high of Frank Carter and Disturbed.
While the weather tried and tried to bring down the spirits of those gathered in the Midlands over the weekend, the music ensured it didn't succeed. \m/