Download 2015: FIDLAR and Suicidal Tendencies

A healthy dose of punk and thrash closes the third stage at Download

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Any band forced to play at the same time that KISS are blowing up the main stage deserves a shred of sympathy, but FIDLAR [7] clearly couldn’t give a shit. There’s a small but diehard crowd here to cheer these shambolic skate-punks on, and they return the favour by flooring the accelerator and giving it some serious stick, almost as if this were their own sweaty, club show.

Still not particularly well known in the UK, FIDLAR’s tunes are short, sharp and snotty, with an undercurrent of barely controlled chaos and a neat line in trashy clatter that makes them far more intense than their simple melodies might initially suggest. Well worth checking out if they hit your town any time soon.

Meanwhile, Suicidal Tendencies [9] are always worth checking out. Every bit as demented and furious as they were 30 years ago, the Venice Beach goons remain emblematic of a time when hardcore actually stood for something, but they’re as fresh and relevant now as they ever were. You Can’t Bring Me Down is a jaw-shattering opener, Two-Sided Politics is a welcome blast from the punk rock past and Freedumb proves that people can still mosh like maniacs after three days of trudging through slurry.

Best of the lot, however, is War Inside My Head, one of the greatest crossover anthems of all time and a song that continues to strike a chord with anyone that battles with psychological turmoil, albeit particularly if you like nuts-out thrash metal… and who in their right (or wrong) mind doesn’t? Mike Muir certainly does, but what he loves even more is chaos and Suicidal bring more than anyone else at Download this weekend. An amazing end to the festival and a timely reminder that sometimes the old bands are the best and class is eternal.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.