download 2013 poster final@ The Main Stage, June 16 2013

It’s unlikely any of Castle Donington’s original Monsters Of Rock devotees ever imagined a German band would play this quintessentially British festival and do so on the back of a set delivered almost entirely in their native tongue. 

The thought that such a thing might happen on the main stage, on the final day of what has become the expanded, deluxe Download edition of that famous shindig would have been laughed right out of Leicestershire.

But on a balmy Sunday night that very scenario was gloriously realised as Rammstein drew a mammoth crowd of committed industrialists and interested interlopers from across the rock and metal spectrum. A triumph of aesthetics and a lesson in aural perfection, even those without any idea what the f**k was going on came to appreciate another special set from the Teutonic titans.

Frontman Till Lindemann looked like some kind of overgrown Care Bear as he shuffled onto stage wearing an outrageous pink fur coat but his menacing tones were anything but cuddly. Backed by a typically flamboyant set and pyrotechnics-fuelled stage show, the muscular singer lorded it over more than 90,000 fans – a surprising number singing every lyric in word-perfect German.

Opening up with Ich Tu Dir Weh, the brilliant Berliners were up and running by the time Keine Lust kicked in with all its oppressive bombast. The powerful juxtaposition of Feuer Frei! and Mein Teil ushered in a punishing mid section before Du Hast, Buck Dich and Ich Will set the seal on a majestic main set.

Rammstein are old hands at giving metal a new sheen and a destructive Download set fully justified the gamble to end 2013’s festival with Lindemann and his lewd, crude crew of industrial metal soft porn brokers.

Encore closer Pussy induced one final, howling roar from the Donington massive but after a heavyweight trio of main stage headliners in the shape of Slipknot, Maiden and Rammstein the big question is: where next for a festival that exceeded all expectations?

Simon Rushworth