Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. Photograph by Ian D. Hall

L.S. Media Rating ****

There really is one problem when it comes to a Megadeth performance at an outdoor festival and that for the most part; their set is takes place during the day. For Megadeth, for Dave Mustaine, there is no chance, by design or by choice for the band to be one of the most electric, most atmospheric thrash metal bands of all time.

That said, if that’s the only complaint you can ever leave at the door of arguably the thrash metal band of all time then it’s not worth getting het up about. For their part of Download 2012, they were their usual selves, full of venom, scorn and downright metal majesty that really they should have been the main support to Black Sabbath later in the evening rather than Soundgarden.

There is something about Megadeth’s music that blends itself to festivals. It’s the enormity of the spine rattling music; the intense and beguiling subject matter just fuels the anger that resonates perfectly from the guitars of Dave Mustaine and the bass of David Ellefson coupled with the vivid imagery that wouldn’t be out of place in an Edgar Allen Poe novel. In songs such as Hanger 18, Symphony of Destruction, A Tout Le Monde or the incredible Sweating Bullets there is more than enough to get the most uninspired, the most musically uneducated person salivating and snarling.

The band’s mascot, Vic Rattlehead, came out for his usual point and scare session to the crowd, which was greeted as enthusiastically as an appearance of bucket loads of cash at Presidential campaign. It would almost be a moment of sacrilege if the band ever did a gig without him. It would be downright criminal if they ever omitted Holy Wars/ The Punishment Due from their set list. Thankfully any signs of possible rebellion from a very excellent crowd were never likely to happen as the band sped through the anthem to what can be considered wrong with the world and gave the audience a perfect send off to a very cool and demanding set.

For Megadeth fans at Donington, and judging by the T-shirts they were a sizable chunk of the audience on the Sunday, this was days of feast, music from beyond the darkness and a set list that was more manna from heaven than other bands would deliver over the weekend.

Megadeth, still absolutely top notch!

Ian D. Hall