To sum up Download’s experiment with expanding to Japan: good artists, meh sound. The lineup was truly, truly outrageous: Amaranthe, Man with a Mission, Halestorm, Arch Enemy – just to name those who brought me to Makuhari. The headliner Judas Priest are legends (if aged) and some may consider Slayer music too (I have trouble in that regard).
I wasn’t particularly interested in Anthrax and I didn’t know Ghost. I considered Sum 41 a joke in the lineup, and they lived up to that: while they played their big hits (eg the only songs I still remember from them 15 years later), they pulled lots of crowd-moving cover licks too (for example Queen’s We will rock you).
I was really disappointed by the sound quality of Amaranthe and Arch Enemy. They played their songs all right, but it often took getting all the way to the chorus for me to recognize what song was playing at all, it was so distorted (?). For Amaranthe the sound balance altogether wasn’t there, and for Arch Enemy the all-so-important vocals were drowned out almost completely. Sad.
I was really impressed by Ghost. I’ve seen it in the libraries of people on Last.fm who supposedly have similar tastes, but I never bothered to check them out. The show was pretty overwhelming, and I’ve been trying to catch up ever since. Sure it’s not a super-moshable melodic metal, but great nonetheless.
As for great, Man with a Mission were epic as usual, and Halestorm didn’t let me down either. They played their great hit songs, they played with the crowd as artists of their caliber should, so altogether they were the highlights of the day for me.
Alas they were both in the early slots, meaning I was completely exhausted before lunchtime. I slept through Slayer as I always do, enjoyed Judas Priest (though it’s sad how Halford can’t really do his old voice anymore), then left a bit sad that Ozzy got cancelled.