Sunday descended on Donington and the sad realisation began to take hold that Download Festival was soon coming to an end for another year. Thankfully the final day at this year's event was stacked full of gigantic performances from the return of Tool to a final UK farewell from Thrash titans Slayer and everything in between, resulting in one of the strongest single days at Donington for years.

Opening up the day for us were Swedish Viking lords Amon Amarth (11/13) - a band who despite being close to thirty years in to their career have probably hit their richest vein of form recently. The culmination of their recent run of impressive live shows and studio records is leading them towards a headline show at Brixton Academy in a few months and on that path probably their biggest ever appearance at Download Festival. Bringing a lot of the large scale theatrics usually seen at one of their own headline shows, Amon Amarth received a hugely popular reception as they crushed through some of their biggest tracks from across their back catalogue. Expect to see them even higher on the bill next time round.

Following straight on from them on the Main Stage are another band who could definitely be hailed as one of Download's darlings. Lamb Of God (11/13) are at that weird middle point at the moment where it's been a fair while since new (original) material and speculation about works currently taking place on what will be their ninth studio record continues. The result? A hit-heavy set full of back to back crowd favourites and as far as festival sets are concerned, an absolute winner. The band released Legion: XX, a covers album, about a year ago so it was both surprising and slightly disappointing that none of the tracks featured got a play-through. All in all though this was a thoroughly enjoyable dose of savage groove to settle people in to their early Sunday evening at Donington.

Sticking with the Main Stage, up next were a band who many probably thought would never grace the hallowed turf at Download Festival. That in itself feels weird to say. Smashing Pumpkins (12/13) are easily one of the biggest and most important alternative bands in history so why wouldn't it work at Download? Well, turns out there was nothing to worry about at all - Billy Corgan and co. grew in to their set so well they actually looked disappointed when it came to an end and they had to depart. You may well look at the set-list for the show after reading this and wonder what on earth we are blathering on about (wouldn't be the first time someone asked this) as some of the omissions were glaring. Whilst they left some of their bigger hits on the plane, what transpired ended up easily being one of the more interesting sets of the entire weekend. Absolute highlight of the show was Jimmy Chamberlin's part in the proceedings as he casually delivered one of the best drumming performances ever witnessed at Donington. The tracks rolled in to each other seamlessly with James Iha delivering a rare break to talk about how important a show this was for him personally as well as the rest of the band citing tapes of Monsters Of Rock being a huge influence for him in his younger years. If you were at one of their arguably overly-obnoxious long arena shows in the last year or so you would have seen a performance which felt largely bloated - there wasn't really time for all that at Download and it definitely made for a better show. Towards the latter part of the set a very special rendition of Black Sabbath's Snowblind with Amale Bruum of Mykur fame on vocals again added to the whole experience of seeing Smashing Pumpkins at Download. Unique and hugely engaging.

Heading over to the second stage we next bore witness to a large chunk of the final ever UK show from the almighty Slayer (12/13). As expected they drew a substantially larger crowd than any other band did on the same stage all weekend with excitement absolutely hitting fever pitch when the intro tape of Delusions Of Savior ripped through the speakers. What followed was a set-list that pulled from all corners of Slayer's back catalogue, every single song greeted with a roar of appreciation so loud the passengers on flights coming out of East Midlands Airport would've felt like they were stood in the field as well. The band are on frighteningly good form at the moment considering they're nearing retirement going out with a bang for sure. SLLLAAAYYYYEERRRRR!!!

Onwards then to easily one of the greatest headline sets Download Festival has ever seen. It's been thirteen years since they were last at Donington and with the promise of new music FINALLY moving from desperate hope to absolute confirmation the buzz around the return of Tool (13/13) to the UK absolutely soared off the charts when it was announced; culminating with a level of excitement come Sunday evening that added this weird, difficult to describe, tense vibe across the majority of the site. When Maynard exhaled in to the mic to kick off Aenima the place absolutely exploded. The sound for their performance alone was startlingly good - seriously, whoever worked the sound desk that night needs a damn pay rise - as each member of the band felt like an individual force of nature which combined created a thunderous miasma of gritty heaviness, beauty and overwhelming power.

With the band only really playing sporadic shows here and there on the other side of the pond over the last couple of years, it's perhaps surprising to say that even more so than some of their classics, one of the key highlights from Tool's set this year came in the form of new material. The track titles have half been confirmed as Descending and Invincible, the latter one in particular proved absolutely mind-blowing with Danny Carey fully flexing his prowess behind the kit. If the Tool following weren't already falling over themselves with excitement over the new record coming this August, hearing these tracks live will have sent many of them over the edge completely.

Visually, Tool shows are of course not the most grandiose or over the top, and the light shows, etc. they've been using at their arena shows barely got used at Download but absolutely none of that matters when musically they are as good as they are. Each song was greeted by an overwhelming crowd reception; a crowd which for the most part stood completely in awe at what was unfolding in front of them even despite the likes of Lateralus and The Grudge missing from the set-list. This really felt like a special night - epitomised by the length of time all four members of the band spent thanking and applauding the crowd at the end of the performance. Spectacular beyond belief.