18. Batushka, The Dogtooth Stage on Saturday, 18:35 - 19:10

Ok! This is a strange one as there are currently two Batushka in operation and as the band hide their appearance on stage by wearing habits and eastern orthodox schemas, it is unlikely we will ever actually know actually which  version turns up at Download. Both guitarist/vocalist Krzysztof Drabikowski and vocalist Bartłomiej Krysiuk are lying claim to the name and each has formed their own alternative version of the band (with both versions apparently carrying on the novelty of the quasi-religious get up and imagery) and both plan on dropping new records this summer. So as said it could be either version that rocks up Castle Donington and to be honest if either incarnation is as good as the pre-split version that visited Damnation last year then we are in for one hell of a show. What we got was highly theatrical Black Metal, dense with symphonic flourishes and heavy fuzzy guitar and you couldn’t help be swept away by the grandeur of the whole thing. So Saturday night on the Dogtooth stage, it could be an equally impressive spectacle or with all the uncertainty about the band at present it could turn out to be a damp squib. I’m going for the former so they still make my pick of the festival, just blame me if it is all one big let-down…..   

By Stewart Lucas