Live Review: UK Tech-Fest Day #4: Sunday

Fortunately yesterday’s inflatable genitalia is no where to be seen as some kids appear with their parents to watch Brink of Extinction [6/10] who include in their set the thoroughly enjoyable single “Jekyll & Psyclops”. The Bristol natives have a pair of vocalists who take lines in turn as much as verses for their groove metal set. Playing in front of a packed Line 6 Main Stage Project MishraM [9/10] are a whole different prospect. A seven piece fusion of about 20 different styles hailing from Bangalore India, they smash some Periphery esq breakdowns against some traditional Indian sounds in a melting pot that should sound like a car crash but is done so well that every element has its rightful place. Closing with the epic “Cynic Machine” these gentlemen are going to go a long way. If Evanescence were a progressive band then it would be Sertraline [7/10]. They were formed from the ashes of a hard rock band and it shows while the more progressive elements add greater texture to their sound. Vocalist Lizzie has some decent unclean vocals but they’re hardly used in preference to rocking out. There is no doubt that Borders [9/10] promised to be one of the highlights of the weekend. The Lincoln Tech-Metallers don’t disappoint with a blistering set that includes “Comatose”. When the Tech-Fest hate choir sing “Burn” along to “Damage Everything” while two stepping, it’s a real moment. Familiar Spirit [5/10] are the same band we saw supporting Napoleon on their final tour run. A technical Nu-Metal band that fall short vocally for all the wrong reasons. They have a vocalist with the talent and charisma but his clean vocals fall flat against the backdrop of the instrumental parts. Hull’s Sworn Amongst [8/10] maybe UK Metal Underground scene veterans at this point with 15 years under their collective belts, but they know how to put on a killer show. Their April reviewed EP “Reclamation” is a banger and they waste no time in showing what they’ve got with a crushing set. It’s with a heavy heart that we take in todays last ever show from Carcer City [8/10]. We’ve had the pleasure of seeing them in the live arena 5 times over the past 3 years and each time they have delivered a set that is simply astounding. Today is about a celebration of the band and taking the stage at a quartet they smash though cuts from their third album “Infinite Unknown” at pace, only pausing for singles “Tides” and “Replicant” from their final EP. If this truly is the last time we will see them, then they will sorely be missed. They bring the house down with a final rendition of “Sovereign” that is simply blistering. Mask Of Judus [7/10] have the unfortunate situation of following up Carcer City but do so with aplomb. Vocalist Jo Challen has the sort of range that others dream of. They’re not the only female fronted band we’ve seen this weekend they are a talented one who and are promising a new music video soon. Harbinger [9/10] have a pair of previously unplayed live songs in their set and batter out a set that includes both “Subsidised Slaughter” and “Darkest Days” as well as a host of tracks from their now 2 month old debut full length “Compelled To Suffer”. They regularly line up along the front of the stage leaving a gap in behind them before their drummer before stepping back and bounding around the stage. Harbinger are one of those bands who live and breathe their music, feeling every groove and the fans appreciate that, packing out that while the band play. Glaswegian natives From Sorrow To Serenity [6/10] are here for the second year running with “Reclaim” being out via Long Branch Records this time around. Gaz King maybe a fine frontman and Ian Baird my have hit drums set to kill, shaking the whole building with each double kick but they’re still a band in love with the backing track. They use it for a second guitar and to intro and outro most of the songs and it’s just too much for us purists. Headlining the Fireball Whiskey stage on the final night  are Bristol’s Valis Ablaze [5/10] who include in their set plenty of songs from their upcoming new album “Render” including “Hollow Heart” which recently got the music video treatment. They have a hypnotic quality to their sound and while all the elements are there to sound great but something is missing. Swedish DJentlemen Vildhjarta [9/10] make the ground rumble with slab after slab of chord progressions from “Thousands of Evils” and a Meshuggah Influence. Vilhelm Bladin’s vocals are savage and having invited a dude in a banana costume onto the stage to headbang, he disappears for a couple of minutes breather. The light show is incredible and the smoke machine works over time to create a mists of time, beast from the depths vibe. Slam Of God [9/10] are Harbinger playing a set of Lamb of God covers as they did two years ago with Pantera as Slamtera. All the classics including “Redneck” played to perfection. A fine way to end a brilliant weekend.

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