Live Review: Tech Metal Fest (July 2017)


It was that time of year again, for the annual meet up for everything death, math or progressive metal, otherwise known as Tech Metal Fest.  


Thursday

GodEeater are a Technical death metal band reminiscent of TBDM and job for a cowboy Fresh off the release of their latest record, Glasgow natives Godeater put in an Impressive showing bringing their version of technical death metal. Reminiscent of Friday headliners The Black Dahlia Murder

Godeater - Tech-Fest 2017 - Newark Showground - Nottingham

The Royal – dutch Modern metalcore heavy and melodic big riffs and breakdowns. The Royal have been around for a few years now and echo the sounds of bigger more established modern metalcore bands such as August burns Red and As I lay Dying. Only being around since 2012, hopefully we will see more of these guys on future tours and festival bills as a more permanent fixture on the metalcore scene.

The Royal - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

The Arusha Accord. – Probably the best example of what technical metal means, Reading based The Arusha Accord showed just how good they can deliver their style of low tuned technicality and odd time signatures were able to get the crowd really pumping.

The Arusha Accord - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

Headliners Chelsea Grin, now in their tenth year, attacked the audience with the deathcore style that they helped shape over the years. Blending cleaner passages swathed in reverb and delay with brutally heavy downtuned riffs Chelsea grin whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Playing both new songs from last years release ‘Self Inflicted’ they also played some older tracks that the crowd ate up. Quite a way to close out the first day of what was shaping up to be a really great festival.

Chelsea Grin - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

Friday

Drewsif Stalinm is possibly best known for his YouTube channel and widely known for the excellent Djent cover versions of pop track that include Katy Perry and One Direction. Today though with a full band and with new guitarist Derek they steamrolled their way through their original material with the now infamous facial expressions to the baying crowd. Most appeared to be sporting Drewsif Stalin temporary tattoos!

Drewsif Stalin's Musical Endeavours - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

Next up was another band formed partly though the Youtube scene, Toska. Toska are quite well known in the internet guitar community thanks in no small part by guitarist Rabeea Masaad and his affiliation with the Andertons shop YouTube channel.

Toska - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

This was the first appearance at Tech Meta Fest for the progressive metal outfit from Brighton, and they didn’t disappoint. Heads were banging all through the packed crowd on the gigantic stage. The impressive showing of Toska merch following their set also showed just how popular this band are right now.

Matyr Defilled have been around for quite a few years now and (having played tech fest previously) have simply become very very good at what they do. Filling much of the Carillion Guitars stage they had pits galore and fans singing the words right back at them.

Rolo Tomassi were next on the Carillion stage and describing them as unique would be quite the understatement. Fronted by Eva Spence, the Math rock quartet from Sheffield are another unique band playing this weekend. Spence has an ability to not only hold a crowd, but can switch between clean and screamed vocals with ease.

Rollo Tomassi - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

With the addition of 2nd vocals from keyboardist Rolo Tomassi keep getting better and better with each subsequent touring cycle. If they continue to evolve Definitely a band that has a long career ahead of them.

Fresh off a double Glastonbury set Hacktivist arrived with the biggest crowd of the day so far. For the uneducated Hacktivst are self described Grime Djent band who are playing Tech Fest for the third time and the first time with new Vocalist Jot Maxi.

Hacktivist - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

One of the stand outs of the festival, Hacktivist are deserved of the praise and the attention that they have received. Storming through older and new tracks they had the crowds attention for the entirety of the set and one of the largest crowds of the day on the Carillion Guitar stage. The Black Dahlia Murder

Closing out Friday night were the Michigan based melodic death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder. Looking around at the T Shirts alone it was apparent that a lot of todays audience were here mainly for this bands only UK show this year.

The Black Dahlia Murder - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

On the 10th Anniversary of the release of possibly their most popular release Nocturnal, the band launched head first into ‘What a horrible night for a curse’ and continued on playing a set mostly made up of tracks from this record which didn’t seem to disappoint the crowd.

Technical problems aside, they also went way back playing tracks such as funeral thirst’ from their first full length ‘Unhallowed’ and ‘Miasma’ from the second record of the same name. Newest release ‘Abysmal’s’ title track also made an appearance. The band then left the stage running over time by 20 minutes, to chants of “one more song” by the rabid crowd. Overall an excellent performance by a band that is become a legend in the extreme metal scene and a great way to close out possibly the heaviest day of Tech Fest 2017.


Saturday

Harbinger – Signed to one of the festival sponsors Basik records, and fresh off the release of their latest EP ‘Human Dust’ London’s harbinger came with the one intention of being as heavy as possible. The deathcore tinged double kick barrage and riffs galore got the crowd absolutely pumped with circle pits all the way through the set. Only two years into their career this band are destined for big things. Keep an eye on festival line ups next year it won’t be long before they become much more well known.

Harbinger - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

The Colour Line – Aside from possibly ‘The Beautiful South’, not many bands come out of Hull with any success, The colour Line, formed in 2011, have bucked this trend. Sadly calling it a day this year, the Basik records signed five piece came out swinging. Bringing a sound that is not dissimilar to Mathcore legends ‘The Dillinger Escape Plan’, The Colour Line put on potentially the performance of the weekend. Vocalist Sam Rudderforth literally connecting with the band by performing the majority of the set slap bang in the middle of the crowd, with the rest hanging off various parts of the stage its difficult to explain just how good of a performance this penultimate show ever was. It will be a shame to see these guys leave the scene but if this was anything to go by then the final show in their hometown of Hull will be an absolute banger.

The Colour Line - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

The Algorithm – Another extremely unique act, French producer ‘The Algorithm’ today with guest guitar player, the algorithm is digitally themed techno metal, or self described ‘computer metal’ who fuses an EDM sound with Meshuggah sounding guitar and live drum sounds.

The Algorithm - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

The Uneven Structure – France’s Uneven Structure, now in their 10th year brought their huge Djent sound to Tech Fest. Shades of progressive legends Meshuggah Uneven structure played a mixture of older songs and songs off their latest record ‘La Partition’. Their three guitar wall of sound in contrast to the atmospheric samples and clean vocals. Another really popular band of the festival and this performance showed why.

The Uneven Structure - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

Saturday headliners Textures are known at Tech Fest for being the first band to headline the first Tech Fest. Unfortunately like The Colour Line, this will be the last show for the Dutch Progressive metal band. Playing songs from all over their back catalog, Starting with tracks from Sophomore album Drawing Circles though to tracks from the latest record Phenotype. Textures gave a performance that showed just how good and accomplished they are and Tech Fest gave them the fond farewell they deserved.

Textures - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

Sunday

On the Gigantic stage Lincoln based Borders took to the stage to display their own brand of Djent influenced metalcore. Despite being a band for around five years they are still quite unknown, now with a regular line with addition of Vocalist JJ Olifent, borders were probably the most impressive newer band of the day. Playing tunes from their latest release Borders ripped through their set and are defiantly a band to watch. Labels get these guys signed up as based on this performance they are ready to headline much larger stages.

Borders - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

Carcer City have become one of the tightest live metal acts and drew the largest crowd of the day so far. Their latest record Infinite // Unknown catapulting them up to the quality of more established acts such as Architects and While She Sleeps and their live show has the quality to back up the records. Add this to charismatic front man Patch and his ability to keep the crowd pumped up I forsee big things for these guys in the very near future. Another Tech Fest Band to watch out for.

Carcer City - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

Honourable mention should go to Panzerballett for being the most unique band at Tech Fest this year. Calling themselves Jazz Metal its possible to work out what style of music they play, however they are Jazz Metal in the most literal sense. Mixing jazz Saxophone and metal Panzerballet are defiantly an experience that if you ever get the chance to see take it. Especially if they perform their cover of the Simpsons Theme.

Panzerballett - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

Igorrr, is a French composer and producer making an extremely unique fusion of elements of Black metal, baroque vocals and visual elements of early 20th century horror movies.

Igorrr - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

As much of a visual experience as it is an aural experience Igorrr is another artist who is flying the unique flag at this years Tech Fest. Igorrr is definitely another live act you have to actually see, as listening to music doesn’t do justice to the entire stage show.

Closing out the festival are the multi award winning Metalcore act Northlane. With a set that contains songs from all four records all the way from debut Discoveries through to 2016’s Mesmer.

Their live experience and amazing light show has brought possibly the largest crowd of the weekend and vocalist Marcus Bridge has no problem in keeping the spirits up and the crowd moving right until the end. After the encore they left the stage to chants of ‘one more song’ there isn’t many better ways to close out a festival like Tech Fest.

Northlane - Tech-Fest - Newark Showground - Nottingham

Review by Paul Finney
Photography by Rhys Haberfield

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