13. Opeth, Zippo Encore Stage on Friday, 18:15 - 19:05

It is only as I write these short vignettes that I fully comprehend the treasure trove of metallic riches that this year's Download bill is. With so many nuggets of wonderfulness that clashes, difficult choices, partially seen sets, a lot of running around are sure to be the order of the day. There are some bands though who I will watch every second of, who will trump anyone else that happens to tresspasse onto their timeslot. Opeth are one such band as they are nothing short of magnificent. Even when they were a Death Metal band they pushed the boundaries of what was accepted within that most conservative of genres. Their 1995 debut album “Orchid” challenged convention like nothing before and 2001 “Blackwater Park” is a highwater mark in how to effectively and exquisitely mix heaviness, brutality and fragility. Since 2011's “Heritage”, on record Opeth have singularly ploughed an authentic prog rock furrow but live they have retained their ability to mix raw energy with beautiful melody and to top it all, Mikael Åkerfeldt is a fabulously humble, self-deprecating and a likable frontman. So they are likely to clash with something worth seeing on the other stages but I would urge you to give Opeth your full attention and no running off before the end.

By Stewart Lucas