Live Review: UK Tech-Fest Day #4 – Sunday 8th July!

Sunday, day 4 and the sun is out. It’s hot, we’re tired and sweaty but well up for it with some fantastic bands on the bill today. Opening up are Leeched [7/10] who make enough noise as a trio to take on any quintet. These dudes are Napalm Death for 2018 and smash the daylights out of their instruments. Their drummer is caked in tattoos, sporting a collection on his head and face and there is a mid-set moment where he looks as though he’s actually going to eat the kit.
Cognizance [7/10] from West Bromwich open up the Winspear stage with some full on Death Metal and demonstrate some impressive sweep picking skills.
Stomb [7/10] receive a heroes welcome on the Waghorn guitars stage. The Paris, France instrumental progressive metal quartet are touring off the back of 2017’s “Duality” EP and go down well.
The Surrealist [6/10] send us deep diving into ambient sound scapes of progressive instrumental music fused with eastern promise and plentiful tapping. The Cartographer [8/10] have travelled from the nearest of places in Derby and deliver Technical Deathcore a plenty. “Godless” is a simply stunning track. They will do about be back in future years playing to bigger crowds. They are another with a back tracked second guitar… Conjurer [7/10] summon demons with their dual vocal attack while their bassist headbangs so hard his neck must be made of rubber. The problem for them is the sound is muddy and it causes their songs to merge. Glaswegian’s Lotus Eater [10/10] are a band we reviewed just over a year ago and have waited this long to see. They don’t fail to deliver smashing their entire EP and new song “Branded” in fine fashion with spin kicks and moshing going off in the pit. Sensational. We will see them again at Fat Lip in Bristol later this month. Bloodshot Dawn [7/10] have a guitar with blood red LEDs embedded in it which makes their frontman look like a Christmas tree. Their technical death metal is punchy enough but lacks that special something.

Crepitation [10/10] on the other hand double bluff us with a grindcore track followed by some techno beats before slamming into some… slam. They’re hilariously good fun, unpredictable and don’t take themselves seriously. There is even a good cop, bad cop vibe between their pair of frontman and the whole thing is just one incredible piss take.
Cyclamen [6/10] from Japan flatter to deceive. They take the stage as a quartet but quite clearly have a back tracked third guitar and bass. What they do on stage is fuse Periphery melody with eastern wonder and then crush it all with screamed gutterals and bombastic guitars. The Hirsch Effekt [7/10] hail from Hannover Germany and mashup the styles dramatically from a Progressive Metal underpining.
Liverpool’s Loathe [10/10] are a band that are on the up and up. Their material is of the highest quality and in the live arena they find an extra 10% from somewhere that is infectious. Single “White Hot” has been added to their set as has padding to the TV screens that sit either side of the drum rig and display the sort of abstract art you get in their music videos. Drawing the largest crowd for the Waghorn guitars stage’s final act are Employed To Serve [9/10] who’s metallic hardcore maybe out of keeping with the festival but goes down a storm none the less. Frontwoman Justine Jones vocals are simply throat shredding as the band smash out most of “Warmth of a Dying Sun” to a large amount of two step in the pit. Following on from last year’s “secret headliner” Northlane are this year’s “secret act” Sleep Token [6/10]. The quintet of masked individuals who may hail from London are signed to Basick Records and worship the deity of sleep… There is an accute lack of guitars in their core sound, they instead take a slow build route through off kilter horror story style melodies and synths before bringing in the bass and guitars. They could be playing any number of festivals this summer, they have an epically big sound. It’s just not a sound for this festival and for us it falls short.
Betraying The Martyrs [10/10] on the other hand deliver symphonic Deathcore at its finest, complete with an incredible light show that is suitably fitting for the closing act of this year’s incarnation. Songs like “The Resilient” are big venue filling songs and the main stage is a perfect place for it. Aaron Matts is on fine form and provides plenty of banter with his Parisian commerades….

…..Another phenomenal year at UK Tech-Fest. So here’s a few things that happened that wouldn’t fit in anywhere else! We met Arcaeon frontman Stuart Sarre. Talked to InVisions about their upcoming new album are recording sessions. Got a signed copy of their current album “Never Nothing”. Saw Karybdis frontman Rich O’Donnell hanging around. Met I, The Map Maker and talked Shields. Drank a few beers and got introduced to Strongbow Dark Fruit. Talked to Loathe about their love for Lotus Eater. UK Tech-Fest is down to Earth, there is a relaxed atmosphere and everyone is incredibly friendly. You really can see every band and then meet them. Tell your friends about next year’s incarnation. See you there!

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