Live Review: Radar Festival Day #2: Saturday

If yesterday wasn’t enough then we’re back for day #2! As you might expect, members of many of the bands performing yesterday are here to watch the other sets with members of Harbinger, Arcaeon and Valis Ablaze all taking in sets on both days while former members of Fraktions, Break Fifty and Diablous are in attendance.

After a delay due to technical issues with fans being kept outside the venue, BOE [8/10] start day #2 off right with a fine blend of Crossover Thrash. We’re treated to a new song in “Like Vultures” and the band seem far more at home and confident on the smaller stage here than they did on the Fireball Whiskey stage at Tech-Fest earlier this summer. No matter how they try to disguise it with some more technical bridging to or breakdowns Gatvol [6/10] are at their heart an 80’s Rock band. They might amp it up and suffer a few technical issues with the kit drowning out some of the vocals but all those big cleans are straight out of the Hair Metal era.
Cryptodira [8/10] are a Mathcore band with the sort of spasmodic elements that bring to mind Dillinger Escape Plan. Soaked in feedback from the start they bludgeon a packed stage as then throw on some progressive leaning melodic bits that come across like the theme to a film set in the Wild West. At times coming across like organized chaos with child killer second vocals of demonic possession proportions, the New York natives seamlessly move between Jazzy clean sections to Mathcore bludgeoning in 30 seconds flat! Taking a break from writing and recording their debut full length album Arcaeon [9/10] take to the main stage with a quartet new of songs from said debut in blistering form. They go back to “Balance” a couple of times mid-set with “Fade” being nothing short of electric. Stuart Sarre has very much taken those songs, embraced them and made them him own. The new album can not come soon enough, thougth it’s perfectly understandable that they want to get it spot on, especially seeing as “Balance” is a masterpiece. Kaguu [6/10] are a movements based Mexican instrumental trio that are like Napoleon on steroids. Playing their first show outside of their home land they and almost progressive for progressive sake and while it’s technically outstanding it lacks that certain something that gives you some emotional engagement. They happen to be on the “Homebound” Tour with Standards that is headlined by Glaswegians Sithu Aye [7/10] of which this is the first date. Essentially a solo project with Sithu himself writing writing Progressive DJent and looking to emulate the success of the likes of tonight’s headliners. It’s taken them around Europe with the likes of Intervals and they have much to offer.
Flux [8/10] feature in their ranks former Hacktivist and Heart of a Coward guitarist Timfy James as well as current Heart of a Coward bassist V. They play as a trio to a vocal backing track loaded with samples of songs like “Latch” by Sam Smith or “Creep” by Radiohead but put completely their own spin on them with a DJent heavy mix of pummellingly good riffs. It seems to be an extension of what James was doing in the early days of Hacktivist and impresses. Regular Monuments tour partners Vola [7/10] continue to be the surprise package in the live arena. Leaping sub-genres in a single bound, the Danish-Swedish band just love to experiment, crossing Rock with Progressive leanings against an industrial backdrop. They have “Applause Of A Distant Crowd” out now.
Valis Ablaze [6/10] are on the smaller stage and hit their stride with “Paradox” early on. “Hollow Heart” from their new album is an interesting cut as they move through DJentisms highlighted by lead twiddling. They never quite make the use of their vocal range that that could with each song front loaded with cleans. It’s Progressive. New Yorkers Car Bomb [9/10] go off like a Molatov Cocktail on the main stage, their blend of Technical Death Metal and DJent like groove is as brutal as it is infectious. Their rooms maybe part Hardcore part Experimental with a collective love of Faith No More but their sound is as brutal as the they come. How a band this heavy is touring with Animals As Leaders is interesting as they are about as chalk and cheese as it comes. Kadinja [9/10] dropped the joyful “Super ’90” earlier this year and the Frenchmen are at a packed stage 2 which by this point has become the ultimate suana like sweat box. That doesn’t stop the audience from singing, clapping and screaming along as they are much loved in these parts. Billed as being back for “one night only” are No Consequence [9/10] with frontman Kaan Tasan now fronting Heart of a Coward and appearing yesterday. They take the stage as a four piece and break a snare mid set but it’s a phenomenal return with a packed audience and if they did choose to come back, there are plenty who would be listening. They may suffer some technical difficulties at the start of their set but Agent Fresco [7/10] get off the ground with their Tool isms accompanied by some juddering bass and get the kind of heroes reception that is usually reserved for bigger names. The Icelandic quartet push the envelope for Art Rock and touch on both extremes of the genre with emotive ease. Czech Republic DJentlemen Modern Day Babylon [8/10] deliver a masterclass in Technical Groove, working the layers with pounding efficiency with their March released album “Undefeated” at the forefront of their set. Celebrating a decade as a band, Animals As Leaders [8/10] use an impressive laser show with lights cascading from the chandeliers of the Casino roof as the perform a career spanning set that showcases exactly how to keep an audience engaged with an emotive brand of Experimental Progressive Metal. It has to be said for all the praise heaped on Tosin Abasi as a virtuoso soloist, Javier Reyes and Matt Garstka deserve their fair share because as a unit, the band are tight with each player holding up the other like a stack of the finest playing cards.

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