Loathe: 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.
By Sunday, there has been a lot of headbanging and moshing, and all under really hot weather. Energy tires as people get themselves ready for the final push. As Leeched take the stage they bring an energy to their music, but it is under these circumstances that they have to get things warmed up (6). Stomp fairs a lot better bringing an extreme energy to their instrumental music. The heavy sounds ringing out as they throw a lot into their music and the crowds eat it up (7). Surrealist manage much differently, unfortunately the tech issues they suffered took a lot out of them. It seemed to almost discourage their performance despite their best efforts to ignore It (6).
It’s interesting that so many bands sound so very different, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, than they do on their albums. Cartographer give a lot of energy to their strong sounds to try and bring it alive but it never quite gets it there (6). Later on, Crepitation have a similar issue in performing their music. It’s fun and they show some mild energy to know they’re comfortable with it; but despite what they can play, something just doesn’t hit the mark for them as well as it could (6). Whilst the stress and pressure of festivals can always be high, as bands quickly exchange instruments and sound engineers run sound checks as quickly as possible, to ensure fast and effective music can be delivered, it doesn’t always go well. Cyclamen had a lot of anticipation building for them, crowds were clearly wanting to see them, but, unfortunately, tech issues kept them back. They powered through regardless but for a large part of their set there was always something missing (6).
Hirsch Effekt were another festival favourite. Their comfortability on stage resonated with audiences as they played. It felt heartfelt and easy for them. This clearly showed as they powered through their set (7). Bringing the festival back to some of the more unique bands, Loathe have a special place within the festival and adds to the sense of dynamism. Taking the music back to the sense of atmosphere that can be built with music, and accompanying it with music videos is a very interesting idea that has a lot of potential. Although, both in visuals and music there is an almost sameness to it all, that lets their performance run its course with some endurance (7).
Employed to Serve: Photo by Ryan Winstanley
Headlining the second stage, and it felt surprisingly quick that TechFest 2018s second stage is closing already, we had the highly anticipated band Employed to Serve. Definitely not strangers to anyone and this was a definite factor in their performance. They gave it a certain level of charisma and fun that built throughout their set. Music being both tight and performed with confidence was going to win over any crowd. It was almost saddening when it all came to an end and that there’d be no more (7).
Whilst before headlining the main stage we had announcements from the organisers as a love letter to its crowd, both a raffle presented by musicians and a little moment to hammer in that TechFest is a family and that it keeps running and expanding because of everyone that makes it happen. This just helps the build-up into Betraying the Martyrs' headline set. They certainly had a presence on stage as they power through. Keeping the music energetic and strong whilst bolstering it with some precision drumming and the lively lead vocalist. It all comes together in a way that gets the festival booming for one last outing and for one last moshpit. Betraying the Martyrs ensure to take some ground when they took the stage, they obviously wanted to make an impression and with their strong guitars thundering through the crowds they just might have! (8).
TechFest 2018 felt too fast, leaving its family wanting it to continue on even further. Whilst bands were playing there were many workshops and afterwards many after parties including acts as tributes to Pink Floyd and Linkin Park. Sunday closed with, amongst many things, a ‘Techeoke’ session (TechFest’s own Karaoke). I tried my hand at performing and it certainly isn’t easy. Performing at a festival and delivering well played music is evidently not easy in the slightest. So I dedicate this three part review to all bands that played, including ones I missed as well as all the organisers but also all the people that went – you made it all happen.
Betraying the Martyrs: Photo by Ryan Winstanley