If there’s one band on the bill this weekend with a claim to embodying the spirit of Donington – past, present and future – it’s Killswitch Engage. Arguably the most accessible, pop-oriented heavy band this side of Babymetal, there’s still no denying the brute-force efficacy of their sonic assault. And today, that assault is precision-guided and entirely on target.
Killswitch Engage essentially perfected metalcore in the mid-00s and as such have a bag of hits deeper than a philosophical submarine, and while material from this year’s disappointing ‘Incarnate’ undeniably fails to hold its own against genre classics like ‘My Last Serenade’ and ‘The End of Heartache’ – both of which inspire huge singalongs audible even over Download’s monstrous PA – the fire with which they perform puts bands half their age to shame. Not even Adam D’s sophomoric Tom-Delonge-meets-Hulk Hogan-at-a-Steel-Panther-show stage banter can ruin it. A fitting tribute to the legacy of Lemmy, who should have taken the stage after them.