Live Review: UK Tech-Fest Day #2: Friday

Day #2 of UK Tech-Fest has plenty of treats in store including some very new bands. Originally called Perception and now incorporating large doses of Post-hardcore melodic elements to create a bastardised version of their older sound, Keepsake [7/10] get the Fireball Whiskey stage off to a sweaty start. It’s an emotive set that is a pleasant surprise. Bringing Technical Death Metal out this early in the day is brave but Abhorrent Decimation [7.5/10] get the first circle pits of the day. They’ve stepped out of the studio where they’ve been working on the follow up their 2017 album but show no signs of rust with a brutal set and “Conspire” is a classic example of what they’re about. It’s 13:00 and we’ve already seen a wizard with a beer can wand, bubble blowing, a wasted dude and a randy pair of teenagers. Oh, wait. Did we mention the paddling pool or giant inflatable rubber duck? Dividium [8/10] are essentially a Tech-Metal version of a full throttle Vanna on steroids from Hull that manage to incorporate some Freddy Mercury moments. Their frontman spends most of the set in the pit surrounded by Headbangers. Elevated to the main stage after last years appearance, Siamese [9/10] hail from Denmark and have a vocalist who brings a Maroon 5 or Justin Timberlake vibe to a band that essentially takes the Fearless Records “Punk Goes Pop” concept and turns it into a full band sound with a collection of unique and fun songs. Also from Copenhagen Denmark are Odd Place [6/10] who are playing the UK for the first time. New single “The Unknown” is a set highlight but after an ambient interlude due to technical issues it all kicks off with band members play fighting, throwing symbols in the air, and pretending to smash their gear up while the final song plays out. Cold Night For Alligators [7/10] suffer a technical issue that holds up proceedings mid-set, an issue they have suffered at their last Tech-Fest appearance. They bring dark moods and synchronised headbanging with progressive DJent inspired grooves akin to The Contortionist. Returning after a years absence, Glaswegian Metallers God Eater [9/10] have grown into a monster. They’ve honed their love skills an slowed down some of their newer material to round out their sound nicely and to their credit pack out the Fireball Whiskey stage. A brand new band Red Method [7/10] bring some Iowa era Slipknot esq atmospherics with a masked 8 stringer, a pair of vocalists and some digital effects beefing up their sound. “Split” and “My Pyschosis” are fine cuts but their insistence on including some more commercial aspects like clean vocal parts seems unnecessary. Annotations Of An Autopsy [6/10] are here off the back of returning EP “World of Sludge” and start their set off with a thunderous rendition of the title track. Stating their purpose is for everyone to have fun and making heavy use of the bass drop, they hammer through a set that is as much Sludge as it is Slam… it just get a bit repetitive. Taking things in a whole new direction are IceFish [6/10] who are a sort of Progressive Melodic Metal quartet with a streak of Hard Rock in them. They treat a modest audience to a drum solo and some Europe inspired synths. Almost missing the event are Canadian Extreme Technical Death Metallers Archspire [9/10] who pack out the Fireball Whiskey stage to capacity before a blistering set that closes with the Star Trek theme. Oliver Rae Aleron’s machine gun vocals are matched by the pummelling kit performance, while the use of scales and arpeggios means there is also some melodic breaks in the otherwise brutal onslaught. Aleron’s dark humour is as extreme as his band and they’re greeted with all the love that Tech-Fest have to give and a flurry of bodies in the pit. Having lost their love for it and gone on hiatus only to return stronger than ever, Black Tongue [8/10] bring the low slow rumble of Downtempo grooves to the Line 6 stage, flooding the place with smoke machine smoke and bathing it in blood red light. “Second Death” is an ironic title to a brilliant track that is part of the bands second life an at the end of the month they will be completing a month of tour dates, first across the UK and then to Mainland Europe. Maryland Death Metal trio Dying Fetus [8/10] are seasoned veterans at this point with 2020 being the 25th anniversary anniversary of their debut “Infatuation with Malevolence”. John Gallagher and Sean Beasley take it in turns to deliver some brutal vocals while Beasley handles the bass like a guitar, such is the technicality of his playing. Riffs a plenty and with drummer Trey Williams like a machine on the kit, they close with the title track of their current album “Wrong One To F*** With” and prove they still have what it takes.

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