Who to see and when to see 'em...

This weekend Clash will make our yearly pilgrimage to Download Festival. Read on for our top line-up picks, from the big names to the new noises.

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System Of A Down

This isn’t the first time eccentric metallers System Of A Down have headlined Download. However at a time when the world seems to be churning out one solid mindfuck after another, there’s no better time for the Armenian’s to unleash their deeply political, madcap aggression on the main stage. The world needs this band right now more than ever.

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When the best album lists are drawn up at the end of the year, Atlanta barbarians Mastodon might just take the top spot for their seventh release, the bruisingly emotional ‘Emperor Of Sand’. Marking a return to weighty, titanic riffs and epic concepts, the band are on scarily impressive form.

We can't wait to hear the likes of ‘Precious Stones’ and ‘Show Yourself’ live for the first time.

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Code Orange

Pittsburgh hardcore crew Code Orange have scored rave reviews across the board for their third album ‘Forever’.Hefty, grungy, sinister and jangly, the band threw everything they had at the wall and watched every bit of it stick.

Their set on the Avalanche stage on Friday promises to be a devastating show of strength.

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Biffy Clyro

In 2013 Biffy Clyro claimed they weren’t metal enough to headline Download but their Donington debut is going to prove the keyboard warriors and metal elitists, not to mention themselves, wrong. Much like Muse, who headlined in 2015 to howls of protest and ended up owning the place, just wait until The Biff start blowing chunks out of the floor with the sheer monstrosity of ‘That Golden Rule’. They're going to knock Download's pants off on Saturday night.

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Last month, goth-punks AFI played live in the UK for the first time in seven years and boy had we missed them. Having made the transition over their 25 year career from needle-sharp punk to shimmering, romantic art-rock, and armed with their strongest collection of songs in a decade, their Saturday set on the main stage will be a triumph.

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The Cult of Creeper is spreading across the face of 2017, riding a wave of scrappy punk and theatrical romance, bathed in purple neon. The Brighton goths have already released one of the albums of the year; the excellent ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ and have an army of punks, goths, skater-kids and metalheads signed up to their ghoulish congregation. Expect them to turn out in force for bangers like ‘Hiding With Boys’ and ‘VCR’ and prepare to be converted to the cause.

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The Dillinger Escape Plan

One of the most visceral, lung-tearing and innovative bands in the scene, during their 20 unrivalled years at the top, The Dillinger Escape Plan have spawned a million copycats and quite literally changed the face of metal. Their set will spill bodily fluids and trample bodies all round, but it’ll also be an extreme, emotional and seminal affair.

After this touring cycle, the band have announced their retirement. This could very well be your last chance to see them so take it. Metal will never be the same again.

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Grove Street Families

Grove Street Families are a Grand Theft Auto-themed hardcore band. Sound gimmicky? Perhaps, but trust us, these snotty thrashers deserve your attention. Their latest release, ‘The Las Venturas EP’ is less than 15 mins long and a bloody brilliant mashup of slamming Suicidal Tendencies meets Sick Of It All riffery and 90’s hip hop.

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Fizzy Blood

Fresh from touring with Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes, there’s a palpable whiff of Queens Of The Stone Age, or perhaps a stoned Royal Blood to Fizzy Blood’s thumping, scrappy punk-tinged indie. These Leeds lads have got riffs for days and choruses that’ll worm their way into your brain and refuse to leave.

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Making their Download debut are Brutai, tech metallers with a pop twist. The Londoners’ debut ‘Born’ is chock full of multi-layered, Jenga-esque tracks littered with crushing brutality, splashes of pop dynamism and jaw dropping instrumentation that’s as addictive as it is impressive.

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Download runs between June 9th - 11th.

Words: Dannii Leivers

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