Almost 16 years on, Download 2006 remains one of the most unique and memorable editions of the festival in its entire history. Not only were Donington-goers treated to a rare full weekend of glorious sunshine, but it was a particularly blockbuster lineup, boasting headline sets from Guns N' Roses (alright, more Axl & Friends back then), Tool and Metallica, who played their career-defining Master Of Puppets album in full to mark its 20th anniversary.
Not only that, but it was a weekend stacked with talking points and wild moments, be it The Prodigy causing complete pandemonium on a then-tented second stage (people were literally climbing the poles to watch them), Axl throwing a wobbly and storming off-stage or, of course, Corey Taylor fronting Korn after Jonathan Davis was unexpectedly taken ill.
For some, however, the coolest moment of the festival came during Metallica's historic set. After finishing their playthrough of Master Of Puppets and then returning for an epic, four-song encore of Sad But True, Nothing Else Matters, One and Enter Sandman, many presumed the band were done. Not so.
Returning to the stage once again, the world's biggest metal band decided to invite some pals up with them to sing through their iconic cover of a Misfits classic. Enter Trivium and Avenged Sevenfold: two bands who were already being held up as the future of the genre, and who had put on memorable sets of their own earlier that day.
“Metallica looked at Avenged, Bullet and Trivium as the next line of modern metal," Trivium's Matt Heafy recently told Metal Hammer, revealing that he'd actually already bumped into Kirk Hammett at the festival ahead of Metallica's set. "We were doing a Guitar World photoshoot [backstage] with Kirk, and he said to me, ‘Hey Matt, I notice you guys do a lot of tremolo picking for your rhythm guitar parts. I think it’s really interesting. I always thought of that as a lead thing.’ I showed him one of my guitar picks and he’s like, ‘This is cool, I’m going to start using this.’ So he puts on a Trivium shirt that night...and plays my guitar on stage for, like, five songs of the set."
Seeing Kirk repping Trivium was one thing, but come the end of the set, Matt, his bandmates and the Avenged boys got to do something few bands would ever dream of: actually play alongside Metallica for that aforementioned cover, Garage Inc cut Die, Die My Darling.
"They called it and let us all come up," says Matt. "I knew the song thanks to Garage Inc; the first version I heard was Metallica’s, not Misfits’. The fact they invited us was nuts."
It was a moment that solidified both Trivium and Avenged Sevenfold as metal's next kings-in-waiting, and a moment that those bands, and 90,000 fans at Donington, will never forget.
Watch the performance below: