Ingested: Photo by Ryan Winstanley
Run by musicians for musicians, TechFest is a living tribute to the survival of accomplished metal music. Its endurance tested by its apparent versatility. Giving a shout out to Tech Metal might feel as if only a few bands would qualify, but year on year, TechFest unleashes hordes of different and out-there bands. The fact that the organisers achieve this, again and again, is testament to the growing endurance felt throughout each weekend. The four-day festival quickly becoming the widely known family of UK Tech Metal Festival. 2018, again, showcased many bands and we, unfortunately, couldn’t catch all of them; but I dedicate this three-part review to every band that played, every organiser, every sound engineer and every person that attended. It is thanks to YOU that TechFest endures.
After the wild performances and parties that went into the early hours of the morning on Friday, it is easy to lose some momentum. Certainly, the weekend was hot and this wasn’t going to help people to get into the hangers converted into the stages that make up TechFest. So, this is why it’s so surprising that bands like Pravitas can pull it off so early in the morning. Energetic and powerful, they crazy performance testament to their endurance (7). Taking over from them couldn’t be easy, but Tiberius take a musically accomplished approach to their performance, which felt a little restrained but they ensured that their music was consistent. The energy of these bands made a surprising kick start to the day and crowds were already moving to Tiberius’ music (6).
Perception felt like a step down, unfortunately. Their music was atmospheric and they played energetically but something just seemed to lack in putting this across to the crowd (5). Whereas Valis Ablaze were on better form with their melodic take on Tech Metal. Their sounds permeate with crowds to ensure everyone’s having fun. They’re no strangers to the festival and it shows with their comfortability on the stage (6). Arcaeon take a different approach, keeping a focus to their music, ensuring its tight and precise whilst they put their hearts into what they play. This left them rather static on stage with only small doses of showing their enthusiasm but it also carried the weight of their accomplished music (7).
Martyr Defiled: Photo by Ryan Winstanley
As previously mentioned there is a family vibe to the festival. This is achieved with many of the bands returning year on year to either see other bands or to play themselves. This occurs regardless of whether they’re asked to come. DVSR aren’t such a band, but this is a UK exclusive spot. This Australian Rap Metal or Djent band are one of the more unique sounding bands on the line up, giving it full attitude with some heavy riffs. This actually managed to resonate with the audience and prove that they could hold their own with them despite a lot of the songs sounding very similar (7). This takes a bit of a U-turn with our next band, Nexilva, who have a much more brutal sound. Despite this they too remain fun and with a very completely blunt force trauma-esque sound. They clearly have fun with it and passionately hit the point home (8). Damned Spring Fragrantia are accomplished musicians and their music certainly presents this. Their ability to ring riffs together is clearly felt and their excitement to come to the stage isn’t missed. However, there is a sense that they wanted to focus on the music and were perhaps not quite comfortable on the stage which held them back a bit (6).
Although speaking of bands that were comfortable with their festival appearance, Marty Defiled clearly know their territory. Melding with their music and stage persona as if one of TechFest’s very own children. They brutally and happily give a powerful performance to keep the festival alive. They clearly fight to ensure that they’re one of the highlights of the festival (8). Also, having mentioned some of the more experimental and unique bands that can find their ways into these line ups, Tides From Nebula have a more atmospheric approach that sometimes verges on a similar to Jazz tone. The melodies cast by the band just build on their performance. Noticeably static but almost deliberately so. It’s like a spell to be woven around the audience (6).
Most of the day had been free from Technical issues which has helped a consistent amount of delivery. Ingested, unfortunately, didn’t fare as well. Though their presence and enthusiasm carry out like a hammer to a corpse, their impact seemed as if the corpse had already been eaten from the inside. This seemed to mostly affect their vocals but it was evident in a crowd that, for one reason or another, was opening up moshpits of only a few in wide spaces. The energy was certainly felt by those that remained but it was also an evident struggle. But brutally, Ingested powered on (7).
Saturdays headliner, The Acacia Strain, managed a lot better technically and crowds were certainly back in but their performance almost felt anticlimactic. The build of anticipation had been immense and it can often be hard for bands to keep up with it. Musically they kept it together and their energy showed their confidence with the music on stage, but it only seemed to go so far. All in all, they finished Saturday on a good note. Much like a lot of the bands to come before they played with a lot more Melody and gave it an edge that allowed them to be distinct. Though they closed Saturday and managed to let the day tear open a new Metal hole in your ear drum, it just didn’t seem to make one of the festivals highlights (7).
The Acacia Strain: Photo by Ryan Winstanley