TechFest 2017 - Festival Review Part 3


The last day of a festival can be an emotional experience. What has been such a sustained amount of energy and fun is about to end. The electricity of the festival wears thin, already the impending doom and inevitable nostalgia is starting to set in. What has kept that permanent smile and sense of wonderment in you, through Friday (see here) and Saturday (see here), is reaching a climax here.

Again the toughest spot to fill is the first band on. It’s midday and everyone is just waking up and may not even turn up. So, understandably, Pteroglyph are just waking up too. They kick in some energy to give what they can be it feels disorganised verging on sloppy at times. It’s just a warm up. A Trust Unclean nods a replacement and this surprisingly only helps their presence on stage. We’ve kicked off mainstage and indeed, with this, the entire festival on Sunday.

Borders are a powerful addition to the stage. Their music is violent and there’s a sense that they’re trying to pick things up. Oni are another unique band, heavy metal with a xylosynth and past their exciting performance and stage presence there’s the exact sense of what is TechFest. Precision. Variation. The brilliant coupling of a weird spin on an established brutality. It fits well to the point of not really noticing it, but on stage you know it’s there in the forefront.

Novena give a strong vocal performance and keep a good presence on stage. It’s solid Metal after all and this is exactly what you’d expect from the best of Metal. It’s exciting music and they know it. Sarah Longfield actually has already made an appearance alongside the band The Fine Constant, this is a more personal experience and she really tries. However, she still keeps things static and accomplished like the instrumental music of a music lesson. Festivals show us some of the best and some of the worst and sometimes at odd times. Ghost Iris picks up the best of this, really bringing forward some solid music to bang your heads to.

Really picking up the performance points are the electric energy

of Carcer City they really give it their all on stage. They prove themselves as one of many powerhouses at the festival and hit it where it counts. This is Metal music as a force to be reckoned with. Aenimus, however, just don’t get the response from the audience they should. Few stay for them despite really engaging with the crowd and performing with an absolute smashing stage presence. They’re enjoyed but only by the few that remain.

Relentless and thorough are Metal drummers, they pound us repeatedly with an absolute precision that feels as well as it hits. Humanity’s Last Breath are such a band, they’re brutal and powerful and know it. They keep their presence rather small but their mild energy hits home. The vocalist isn’t afraid to pull out as from the band much as he can.

Now we’ve touched upon some of the more unique bands of the festival but only touched upon them. Sunday has the wild cards of the deck. First up, in a Jazz Metal fusion, are Panzerballett. Proving again that Saxophones are Metal. They have a unique energy to them that is completely not Metal. The chaos and disorder are actually the improvised and engaging nature of Jazz. It plays with the crowd and gives the air an electricity. This won’t be the same at another show, this is the show. Such is Jazz and such is the unique vibe that Panzerballett bring.

It’s almost a warm up, it never gets quite as unique as the next band: Igorrr. There is no genre here. Operatic singing, black metal screeches and experimental approaches to vocals just about touch the surface. Behind this we get madder. Behind it are some electronic, drum ‘n’ bass, funk, guitars and brutal and varied drumwork. It goes from blast beats to atmospheric basics. Igorrr are a band that you’d hope stay as they are and that their performances aren’t anything less than art. A blue and black beast prowls the stage, is defeated and aggressive, embraces and screams at the crowd. All the while the opera singer gives every vocal range she can whilst slipping into a trance on stage. Perfect accompaniment to such changing and powerful drummer and DJ. This performance is like no other Metal band. Audiences snap it up. Whatever it is, it works. Igorrr are powerful and unique it’s definitely a moment to remember from Sunday TechFest.

Ingested are more typical in their approach. It’s brutal stuff and it

tears the stage apart. Their performance is for the complete ruination of second stage and the hardened moshers to come out of hiding. They don’t miss a thing, it’s to destroy, in aggressive anger. Beyond Creation don’t have the crowd you’d expect by this point in the festival as if they all need to take a break for some reason. It’s a solid set and they deliver a slug punch of solid Metal. It’s almost wasted as numbers dwindle. The crowd that remains answers the call and the pit rages.

The festival has not been without its after parties and its unique workshops that were undoubtable invaluable to aspiring bands or bands alike. The bands we missed, the organisers and indeed all of the fans all make TechFest amazing, real, brutal and noteworthy. It is a festival of varied themes on good playing. Each band has it and it was a shame to miss bands and workshops. A huge audience hug also sums up the mentality of the festival. A brutal pit can also be a crowd hug in an instant. Excitement mounts as we build to the headlining act of the entire festival. A raffle bears the guest appearance from Scar Symmetry …and it feels like foreplay. Foreplay for the impending apocalypse. Unfortunately, all that’s good must come to an end. With Northlane the festival truly ends for 2017. They pound it out giving an energetic climax and take it for what it’s worth. Everyone’s efforts culminating to these moments. A band rendered powerful on stage. Lit through darkness and danced and shouted for. Northlane brings things to a modest close. See you at the after party.

Things Learned:

Igorrr make brutal music an art performance.

We’ll make everything Metal, even Jazz, Electronica, Baroque and Math – maybe even Metal if you’re not careful.

Blacking out at a festival is cool, I know, I saw a band do it first.

Going out into the audience is the best way to start the pit. Hugging the audience will terrify them.

Four days and fifty-four bands aren’t enough.

See you next year.

Words: Gavin K Photos: Ryan Winstanley


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