Our five hot picks for Download Festival Australia 2020


The 2020 iteration of Download Festival Australia hits Melbourne and Sydney next month on Friday, March 20th and Saturday, March 21st, respectively. (Tickets here!) So here are the five artists that we feel you really shouldn’t miss out on come the big day. One of them should come as no surprise…



“Time will see us realign”:

It’s been a little while between drinks for Deftones and Australia – four years if we’re keeping count – but good things come to those who wait. And Aussie Deftones fans have been waiting very patiently for Chino Moreno, Abe Cunningham, Stephen Carpenter, Sergio Vega, and Frank Delgado to head back out this way once more. No doubt one of the biggest drawcards for Download Festival Australia’s class of 2020, and with 2010’s exceptional ‘Diamond Eyes‘ LP now ten years old, one can safely expect plenty of great songs culled from that ten-year-old belter, like ‘You’ve Seen The Butcher,’ thw mammoth title song, and ‘Rocket Skates.’ Of course, it’s also a very safe bet that all of their usual classics will make grand appearances too: ‘Minerva,’ ‘Digital Bath,’ ‘Change (In The House Of Flies),’ ‘My Own Summer,’ and ‘Be Quiet (And Drive Far Away).’

Deftones have been releasing music since 1995 that, with the exception of 2016’s painfully mediocre ‘Gore,’ has continually reinvigorated them as a band and done so much for their scene; records that have paved the way for so many newer, younger artists in the paradigms of alternative-rock, shoegaze, alt-metal, and nu-metal. This will be a glorious mixture of the old and the new, with their legacy on full display; a huge set from a band that, in some ways, is one-of-a-kind. You’d be fuckin’ loopy to miss out on their high-billed festival set come this March.

Riffs, licks & picks:

The 2010s gave rise to so many talented musicians, guitarists especially, who proved that they could be band-leaders, down-to-earth, forward-thinking songwriters, and technical virtuosos all in one. One such experienced, talented player who released some richly textured progressive music over the course of the last decade via one album and a host of EPs has been Australia’s own Plini. A humble man with a huge vision for the detailed music that he composes, Plini’s art is like a jigsaw, slowly getting pieced together by a headless Strandberg six-string before your eyes.

His 2016 debut LP, ‘Handmade Cities,’ is an acclaimed, colorful and all-around wonderful instrumental prog-metal album that put the name of Plini Roessler-Holgate firmly onto the modern djent, instrumental, and progressive map. His music is bright and hopeful, inspiring even, without ever feeling cheesy or cynical. Plini’s name will go down in the history books alongside the likes of Aaron Mashall (Intervals), Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders), and Steve Vai. So when Download rolls around next month, take a load off and chill out with the technical proggy wonder of Plini. I know I will be.

Birth of a new generation of death metal:

Venom Prison writes a violent-brand of uncompromising, unrestrained death metal, lead by the crushing vocals of Larissa Stupar. The Welsh extreme metal bands’ sound is clued into the production style of the 80’s era of death metal, whilst also taking from 90s hardcore in all of the right ways. With surprisingly deep lyrics about mental health, philosophy, feminism, the role and perspective of feminity and motherhood across society and history, their punishingly heavy songs weave explicit, graphic tales about depression, suicide, women’s struggles, the cruelty of the world, and stand in solidarity alongside abuse survivors, with choice words for rapists and the like. It’s death metal with a real message. Their Australian debut at Download 2020 is going to be fuckin’ brutal – don’t miss it!

Just be yourself:

Dregg are a bunch of fucking weirdos. That’s something we can all agree on. Watch a single live show, music video, or take but one glimpse at their promo shots and you can immediately tell that this band doesn’t give a flying fornication what anyone else thinks about their art. Which is what hardcore, punk, and yes, even metal, are all about: full freedom of self-expression without harming or impeaching on another person. The funky, nu-metal-loving hardcore punk band from Melbourne may look (and sometimes sound) like they’re a handful of other bands all rolled into one, but that’s precisely why they stand out: they do their own thing. And they don’t care whether you like it or not. An attitude that I respect greatly.

One of the better Aussie locals booked, will we get another performance of their fan-favourite, faithfully killer ‘Sugar‘ cover in honour of the one and only System Of A Down? Maybe, maybe not. But either way, with sweet tunes like ‘Sorry Daddy,’ ‘Offended,’ ‘Don’t Go Into The Mangroves,’ ‘Ridiculousness,’ and ‘Weirdo,’ Dregg will more than likely put on one of the weirder yet wilder sets from any national act on Download 2020. I can feel it in my bones.

Keep running:

Come on, as if this was even a question! Death often cements a legacy and turns already would-be legends into something else, something much bigger, and My Chemical Romance’s “demise” back in 2013 only made them an even bigger act in the time since that sudden disappearing act. Turning them into the kind of monstrous-sized alt-rock band that can now headline festivals such as Download. Their return is the talk of the town in music right now, and with interesting, cryptic videos like the below ‘A Summoning…‘ clip – crowded with MCR easter eggs from each of their albums and a protagonist that acts as a surrogate for the fans – the hype-train has started and it cannot be stopped. It will not be stopped; it will keep ongoing for some time yet. (Count your luck that you can drop only $200 for a GA ticket to see MCR perform and not have to pay exorbitant, extortion-level ticket prices like the yanks are having to do for these shows.)

Music publications will talk about how they’re “inner emo is SCREAMING” now that they’re active once again, but as for me, I just wish to see an old favourite band; the band that first got me into music, return in all their glory and put on a killer show full of the hits, the classics, and the odd deep cut or two. If their Download headliner setlist is anything at all like their L.A. show back in December 2019, or even like their 2012 Aussie run for Big Day Out, then this main-event is going to be something very special, indeed.


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