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Download Festival 2023 / Rock Queens Hawxx and Swedish Metal Titans Avatar Rule

Download Festival 2023 – Sunday. HAWXX are the all female four piece making waves on the hard rock scene at an astonishing pace. The group had The Dogtooth stage eating out of the palm of their hands with a 40-minute set to remember.

Hawxx - Download Festival 2023
Hawxx – Download Festival 2023. Photo: John Hayhurst/MetalTalk

Visually striking with their ’80s punk-inspired look, the band played through their songs which take on violence against women and other pressing themes against the backdrop of knife-edge, axe-wielding music with the full house on backing vocals.

Hawxx - Download Festival 2023
Hawxx – Download Festival 2023. Photo: John Hayhurst/MetalTalk

Lead vocalist Anna has some hauntingly good pipes flipping between soprano melodies and back of the throat gruffs. Their songs balance on that line between rock and Metal, with the band being in non-stop touring mode garnishing critical acclaim and a hefty following.

Hawxx - Download Festival 2023
Hawxx – Download Festival 2023. Photo: John Hayhurst/MetalTalk

“We’ve been camping here for the last four days, so we are dirty, we are filthy,” she yells out to a hot response from the crowd. Extra points for sheer dedication for going through that full immersive festival before bringing out as good of a performance as they did.

Avatar

As the intense heat continued, I managed, at my quickest pace, to saunter over to The Opus stage to watch Avatar. Checking out a few of the non-merch stores on my way, I struck up a conversation with a leathered-up pop-up shop owner who commented on the lack of leather jackets sold due to the weather.

Avatar - Download Festival 2023
Avatar – Download Festival 2023. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

It’s not surprising, but regardless, I had to snag a full-studded and chained one for myself. Hand on heart, it was not a spontaneous festival buy!

But onto Swedish music theatrics with Avatar. Clad in the usual black and red, dark circus ringmaster look, the group slayed the stage with their progressive, groove Metal intoxication.

Avatar - Download Festival 2023
Avatar – Download Festival 2023. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

It was blindingly good. Avatar have this unique ability to switch between the heavy-weight class of Metal thunder and an almost contemporary pop-Metal feel.

In the festival setting, it’s insatiable as circle headbangs from the band in unison make for some sterling visuals. “Download. We’re not finished with you yet,” screams Johannes Eckerstr√∂m in an evil circus conductor way.

Avatar - Download Festival 2023
Avatar – Download Festival 2023. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

They certainly were not. A really memorable set from a band that keeps on whacking out the surprises with both their music and style.

Avatar - Download Festival 2023
Avatar – Download Festival 2023. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

Take Part: Are you at Download this year? Who are you looking forward to see? Want to get in touch and tell us how it’s going? Email MetalTalk Editor Steve Ritchie to tell us how it’s going for you. Download@MetalTalk.net.

Download Festival 2023

MetalTalk Download 2023 coverage can be found at MetalTalk.net/tag/download-2023

Download 2023 will see the festival celebrate its 20th anniversary with an additional day, meaning four days of live music in total.

This year’s MetalTalk team is:

Monty Sewell

Paul Monkhouse

Photography:

John Hayhurst – SnapAGig

Andy Shaw

For Download 2022, visit MetalTalk.net/tag/download-2022

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