Download 2015: In Hearts Wake, Chunk... and Stray From The Path
Venue: Download Festival, Donington
The Maverick Stage provides shelter and riffs on Donington's second day
The metalcore faithful are up early to catch Australian mob In Hearts Wake, who open the Maverick Stage today. The Byron Bay quartet make the most of the ample crowd and their punish their ears with some concise brutality.
Smashing out tracks from back-to-back albums Earthwalker and Skydancer, they whip the crowd into a frenzy with some low-end riffs shot through with soaring melody. Survival gets some early morning pit action going and vocalist Jake Taylor works the crowd, who respond by jumping and pumping their fists in unison.
They might not bring anything particularly new to the metalcore table, In Hearts Wake sound gargantuan inside the tent. Final song Breakaway sees Taylor and bassist Kyle Erich exchanging guttural and clean vocals as the band hammer out pulverising beatdowns. If they maintain their current momentum, it may not be too long before they join their fellow countrymen Parkway Drive on the main stages of festivals around the world.
Next up are Parisian ‘easycore’ quintet Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! look fresh-faced compared to the sodden masses huddled inside the Maverick Stage Tent. Vocalist Bert Poncet endears himself with the crowd early on with his broken English, while I Am Nothing Like You from sophomore album Pardon My French gets those down at the front windmilling with abandon.
The constant switching between pop-punk with sickly sweet vocals to guttural screams may confuse those who’ve just wandered in to shelter from the rain, but as soon as they drop a cover of Smash Mouth’s All Star bemused faces melt into broad smiles. There’s nothing like a bit of nostalgia to turn a frown upside down and from that point, the crowd become hugely receptive to their set.
Their latest album Get Lost, Find Yourself was a massive step-up for the band and opening track Playing Dead goes down a storm with it’s hyper-bouncy beatdowns. Their pop-punk metalcore hybrid sound doesn’t quite match up to the hugeness of kings A Day to Remember, but they’re not far off becoming a similarly-sized beast.
Stray From The Path’s politically-driven rap punk is a perfect pick-up for those downtrodden by the weather and these Long Island bruisers waste no time whatsoever turning the tent into their own sweaty hardcore show. A double hitter of Death Beds and Landmines inspires mayhem at the barrier and a litany of problems for the security staff as bodies stream towards the stage. They launch into a new song from their forthcoming album Subliminal Criminal, serving up a hefty helping of beatdowns, discordant harmonics and a fiery vocal delivery from Drew York. Mad Girl sees York getting right in the crowd, shoving the microphone into the faces of the audience. Two circle pits break out around the tent towers for Damien and culminates in a wall of death. Meanwhile, the guitar hook on Badge & A Bullet is Tom Morello worship at its finest and during the dying moments of the set, York takes his chance to front flip into the crowd. Fantastic.
Stray From The Path Photos: Leigh van der Byl