Ozzy vs rain: Sabbath struggle to hit the heights.
Jenny Lyne
13:01 12th June 2016

This year is the big homecoming headline slot, slap bang in the middle of their final ever world tour. We are bidding farewell to Black Sabbath at Download Festival 2016.

Thousands upon thousands of eager metal heads stand waiting for the Rock Gods to take centre stage. Black Sabbath are welcomed by roars that quickly dissipate as the band start off the set with some of their less popular songs.

It’s not until the iconic ‘War Pigs’ that the crowd really gets behind the band. The song was split between Ozzy and audience as he encouraged the crowd to sing along. However, Ozzy’s aged vocals struggle to hit the high notes that the track demands, the raw power seeming to buckle as he chose to play it safe, rather than the iconic belting out of the verse lines.

Slick changes in time signature, often led by Iommi, were the most impressive part of the performance, with the guitar hero grabbing songs by the scruff of the neck, taking slow doom riffs into frenzied solos. The audience seemed to respond more to the virtuosity of Iommi more than Ozzy, with air guitars and roars every time the guitarist went to his higher strings. Another iconic part of the set was Geezer Butler’s Wah drenched bass solo that showed why he’s so highly regarded by his peers.

It’s no surprise that Sabbath returned to the most memorable of albums for their set list tonight, with ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ and ‘Hand of Doom’ - this is their farewell tour after all. Despite being a little hit and miss throughout, the encore ‘Paranoid’ allowed everyone to forget the rain for a few minutes and remember the awesome power that this iconic band once had.

The lights are going out for this last generation of rock stars who once dominated their craft.

Black Sabbath Played:
Black Sabbath
Fairies Wear Boots
After Forever
Into the Void
War Pigs
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Hand of Doom
Rat Salad
Iron Man
Dirty Women
Children of the Grave

Photo: Jenny Lyne

Warming up for Sabbath, Deftones also performed on the Lemmy Stage, and it’s no question as to whether they got the crowd going. Frontman Chino Moreno gave all his energy to deliver a show-stopping set that made it clear why they were Main Stage material. Seeing them perform live really allows you to ‘get it’, which may not always come across on the recorded album. The atmosphere and live performance really gave you the best introduction to the new album Gore with tracks ‘Rubicon’ and ‘Prayers/Triangles’.

Abe Cunningham projected en pointe vocals during ‘What Happened to You’, adding himself to the list of truly great dummer/singers. ‘Change’ obviously drew in the masses and a all crowd jump around was unforgettable. In order to truly ‘get it’ you need to see this band live as a priority.

Highly anticipated metal legends Megadeth came before Deftones, bringing one of the most loyal and passionate fanbases in rock. Opening with their much loved ‘Hangar 18’, they divulge in the greats but quickly move onto material from their latest album including album titled ‘Dystopia’. Crowd reactions are altered between the past and the present choices, and its apparent the new stuff in no way measures up. Saying that, Dave Mustaine’s spitting vocals on ‘Post American World’ are ferociously great. It was worth the rain; today’s stage needed you.

Over on the Zippo Encore stage, rock and film royalty Juliette Lewis stormed the stage with The Licks, providing the perfect frontwoman - something we’ve been lacking this weekend. Her energy was unmeasurable against any of the other acts as she tore around the stage with ferocity in a patriotic stars and stripes jumpsuit. ‘Hot Kiss’ was the staple song making it virtually impossible to take your eyes off her throughout.

Earlier acts did not disappoint and helped propel todays metal wheels into motion. Atreyu and Rival Sons were among the first to the Lemmy Stage. Rival Sons are that all American rock band that are so obvious with there lyrics and performance, but it is easy listening goodness. Atreyu were definitely one of the most energetic bands of the weekend, providing a captivating performance, and it felt like a group really making the most of it’s individual talent.They treated us to an epic cover of Bon Jovi’s ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’ taking it from the classic rock style into powerful metal-core.

Download concludes today with performances from Iron Maiden, Nightwish, Disturbed, Jane's Addiction, Billy Talent and more. Check back at Gigwise for the latest news, reviews, photos and more form Download 2016.