FESTIVAL REVIEW: TECH-FEST 2017 Live at Newark Showground, UK – Day 4 (Sunday)
After a day largely composed of music that was excellent, but not to my tastes, I was looking forward for the final day of Tech-Fest to bring the brutality back. Once again, the morning was spent enjoying the sunshine before the music kicked off in the afternoon. All in, Day Two was filled with strong sets across the board – though the day as a whole wasn’t strong enough to compete with the ferocity of Virvum, Aborted and The Black Dahlia Murder delivering perfection two days before, the final day of Tech-Fest proved to be very good indeed.
The strongest opening band of the weekend, Pteroglyph brought an abundance of energy to the second stage. Brimming with pride and excitement following the release of their debut full-length, ‘Death of a Prince‘, the Leeds-based four-piece perfectly mixed their proggy influences with an extra dose of something heavy, wowing the packed-out room. I’ve made my objections to deathcore known again and again, but Oxford’s A Trust Unclean brought the brutality and then some. Leaning more to the “death” than the “core”, A Trust Unclean blistered through a set that seemed to end all too quickly.
Canadian prog-metal upstarts Oni have been making waves since the release of their self-titled debut last year through Metal Blade Records. The only metal band in the world, as far as I’m aware, to employ a xylosynth into their sound, Oni are definitely something different from your average metal band. I first saw Oni supporting Devil You Know at the start of the year, and was underwhelmed to say the least. Their performance this time around was definitely better, but still far from perfect.
Tech-Fest 2017 was my first exposure to Ænimus – how they’d never crossed my path before, however, is a mystery. Coming only slightly behind Beyond Creation for band of the day, Ænimus were outstanding. Just as comfortable delivering punishing breakdowns as they are noodling their way through shreddy riffs, the Bay Area five-piece delivered an absolutely crushing set of savage tech-death for the unsuspecting Tech-Fest crowd. Ænimus have a new album, ‘Dreamcatcher‘, which is currently being mixed and mastered, due out later this year – keep your ear to the crowd for it, if the new track they played is an indication then ‘Dreamcatcher‘ is going to slay.
Sweden’s modern deathcore veterans Humanity’s Last Breath are a perfect example of how to breathe life into a dying genre. Though the Swedes do employ many of the over-played tropes of death metal, it’s all mixed with an atmosphere that is truly unsettling, fantastic lyrics and periodic blasts of pure death metal that really set Humanity’s Last Breath apart from their peers. Despite technical difficulties during their set, the Swedes delivered brought down a miasma of evil, dissonant atmosphere over Tech-Fest, transforming Newark Showground into an unsettling and brutalizing hellscape for the duration of their brief set.
Ingested’s brand of slam has always been head and shoulders above their peers in the genre, with the group possessing a flair for song-writing to compliment the sheer brutality of their sound. While Ingested are great musicians and performers, I found myself growing a bit bored by the end of their set. Undeniably solid slamming death metal, Ingested could do with something a little more to spice up their sound. Bored was not a feeling that was really possible during Igorrr’s set, however – somewhat terrified, baffled and impressed are all valid feelings, but bored certainly isn’t. A “collective” of musicians from varying genres of music, including metal, electronic, opera and classical, Igorrr delivered art to Tech-Fest. No bands across the whole weekend were as polarizing as Igorrr, with those who experienced their show referring to them as either visionary, original and interesting, or garbage. Though their sound is hard to listen to for any extended period of time, original and interesting definitely describe their set to a tee.
Hands down the band of the day, and a very strong contender for band of the weekend, Beyond Creation were utterly spectacular. One of the few 10/10 performances of the weekend, there isn’t really anything that could be said to fault the Canadian tech-death wizards. Perfectly mixing the groove and ferocity of more classic sounding death metal with unparalleled technicality and a subtle dose of melody, on paper Beyond Creation are the perfect tech-death band. Live, however, the Canadian quartet transcended perfection into something more divine. Following the disappointment ofObscura failing to live up to the hype I’d built for myself, I had apprehensions going into Beyond Creation’s set. Those apprehensions were set alight in a blaze of face-melting, rib-rattling fury. If their performance at Tech-Fest is the norm for Beyond Creation, then one thing is for damn sure – they need to headline a full UK tour immediately.
I’ve never bought into the Northlane hype that seemed to sweep the world. I enjoy metalcore, but their albums just never did anything for me – there’s nothing wrong with them, as such, I just don’t “get” them. One thing that is clear from even a casual listen to Northlane, however, is that these Australians are one of the most passionate and energetic bands in the scene. This unbridled passion and energy transfers into their live show seamlessly, and is amplified ten-fold. Though their music isn’t my ttheir live show was out of this world and couldn’t be faulted. Their unwavering energy felt like the perfect way to close proceedings for a successful Tech-Fest – roll on 2018!hing,