It’s the time of the year to buy 30 packs of sausage rolls and cleaning wipes, and re-acquire a taste for warm beer – it’s festival season again! While I’m sure you’ve heard about the big metal festivals that are going on all over Europe, today I will be focusing on one of the UK’s newest fests that, while only having been going for 2 years, is quickly becoming one of the more prominent festivals in the UK metal scene.
Things are looking good for UK Tech Metal Fest (11th-15th July) which now has a second stage to showcase some of the best progressive and tech metals, and “Djent” bands on the scene at the moment, including Scar Symmetry, Veil of Maya, TesseracT, Chimpspanner and Monuments. Veil of Maya and TesseracT (like almost all the bands on the line-up if I’m honest) are both famed for their perfectly tight live sets, the first showing off gruelling Tech-Death riffs and the latter being famed for its ambience and groove, but both are sure to give an amazing live set though technical intricacies and godly vocals. TesseracT, having gone through multiple line-up changes regarding vocalists and releasing a second full length album, Altered State, will really be trying to wow the audience with arguably their biggest gig to date, and prove to the sceptical Dan Thompkins (ex-vocalist) fans of the band that their new vocalist Ashe O’Hara can fill the huge shoes left for him. Judging from the new album, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Instrumentalists will also be popular for the weekend, where Chimpspanner will be gracing the stage with his fantastic virtuoso guitar playing, showing that all you need is groove. And maybe a few awesome leads. And solos. And more groove. Drewsif Stalin, the guitar-playing YouTuber, will be showing off some of his beastly reworks of pop songs such as One-Direction and Katie Perry alongside some of his original tracks. Working on his new solo album, the one-man band will be proving that complexity isn’t necessarily everything.
Xerath are another band that could prove to be good. Having recently done tours with Testament, Decapitated and Sylosis, Xerath have shown themselves to be the undisputed masters of ambienty-techy awesomeness. Maybe a small niche, but after 2 full studio albums they have really proven themselves to be a staying force in the scene despite issues with their line-up. However, the festival is not all about ambience and elegance of music, as Heart of a Coward will be continuing with their blistering assault on the UK metal scene by showing people that there is something oh-so satisfying about a crunchy beat down, creating a huge punch with absolutely monstrous vocals from Jamie Graham and quirky guitar and drum rhythms. Heart of a Coward have gone from only strength to strength, and are almost guaranteed to be one of the bigger bands of the upcoming wave of new British metal acts.
And finally, Monuments will be playing an exclusive set to those with early bird passes on Thursday night, alongside some smaller acts such as Bloodshot Dawn. Monuments, having released their longingly awaited full length album Gnosis at the end of last year, after having some line-up issues (I’m noticing a trend here…), are back on the road and ready to melt face with their signature palm muted sound and tasty off-the-wall hooks.
So, a brief summary of the weekend: Groove.