Live Review: Radar Festival 2022 Day #1 (Friday)!

It’s been a couple of troubled years but the second incarnation of Radar Festival is finally upon us with as much of the original line up as possible remaining intact. After half an hour in the scorching sunshine waiting for the doors to open, the first pint of Devil Wears Larger, one of several in house beers created by Disruption is Brewing for the event goes down well. As with the first incarnation of the event, it’s held at the Casino Night Club in Guildford which has been putting on more and more live shows of late, with two stages meaning that there are zero clashes between bands so you can see everything if your heart so desires. There are  members of the sound crew from Tech-Fest and from Alton Lounge Bar behind the boards so we know we’re in safe hands and while officially proclaiming to be dedicated to Progressive music the line up has plenty of variety to it…

Leaving the lights off in an attempt to keep things cool and build atmosphere, it feels later than it actually is in the Casino Night Club as Wolf Culture [7/10] get the show going with blend of Alternative Rock that includes Jazzy moments, warming the crowd up for some of the heavier things to come. Then, as if from nowhere out comes a second guitar and “Continents” gets aired, a bigger sounding track from the Bournemouth quartet before “Nervous” follows suit, so while we were unsure at the start, by the end they have won us over… Downstairs in the Boiler Room Last Hyena [7/10] open the second stage with largely instrumental Math-Rock sensibilities that have a bit of Post-Hardcore buried inside of them. To be fair, the trio shouldn’t be here, they should be setting up a Wedding venue but thet give us a set that will live long in the memory with elegant tempo shifts and sophisticated licks. It’s all about the nuances and they have them in abundance so when “Doctorpus” closes the set everyone is left wanting more… Icarus Dive [7/10] are the second trio of the day and bring angular riffs and an impressive light show with a huge bass sound from a new bassist and an enthusiastic front man in Joe Crook who loves nothing more than to charge around the stage swinging his axe. It’s something of a hometown show for the band who originated in Guildford at one point and they use it it premier some new material as EP “Among the Thorns” has reached its fourth anniversary… Keeping things rolling are Progressive Death Metallers Entro-P [8/10] who have reformed after a decade long hiatus and bring funky bass lines with intricate tapping sections and of course the obligatory demonic vocals. Their drum sound it huge, the double kicks hammering hard alongside the dark and sinister atmospherics the band create. It’s so good that members of Gutlocker are in the audience for it as they tear through their  2011 album “Deeper The Hole” with ease.

Connor Kaminski [8/10] has in support of him a talented array of individuals to perform the tracks he has written as he embarks on his first ever live show. Together they create the kind of Progressive Instrumental soundscapes that belong on film scores with vibrant leads and Technicolor polyrhythmic moments that flow intricately together in captivating and sophisticated fashion. The musicianship is simply jaw dropping so it will be interesting to see if he continues to build the live performances from here… A Progressive Metal eight piece (two vocalists, two keyboard players, two guitarists, drums and bass) who barely fit on the second stage, Viriditas [7/10] flirt with moments of Power Metal in their warm storytelling style. Their vocal harmonics impress as four members of the band contribute with male and female parts intertwined and you cant help but feel that if they had been in the US in the 1970’s they could have been as huge a Fleetwood Mac especially when their most upbeat number “Spinner” closes the set with six string funky bass lines and Moog keys… When Devil Sold His Soul [7/10] signed with Nuclear Blast we were astounded but as both vocalists sing each others parts without the microphone to their lips it becomes clear just how much these songs and this music means to them in what is a dynamic, bold, brave and emotionally raw performance. Their ambient influenced Post-Hardcore has tinges of Black Metal on some of the newer cuts and unlike the last time we saw them live they have a lot more elegance about them. Whether that is down to the new material, the higher sound quality or we simply caught them on an off day, this afternoon they are in their element… Quite what Press To Meco [7/10] are doing playing the Boiler Room second stage we’re not sure but the their isn’t breathing space for the number of fans who are hear to see them. For those yet to be indicated, the Progressive chart troubling trio are something of a gateway band, with Metal edges and all three members contributing vocals in eclectic fashion. Watching them perform is intriguing because while they have anthems that could fill arenas they also have a monster in them that is waiting to break loose with violent energy but never quite go all out.

French Nu-Deathcore heavyweights Ten56. [9/10] have travelled 13 hours to be here tonight and after an extended sound check pile in with the heavy hitters to bring out the circle pit, wall of death and even two steppers in a high energy incendiary set that not only decimates the weak but reduces the venue to rubble. “Boy” and “Kimo” are particularly well received during the blistering set on the main stage with the band passing around a bottle of Jägermeister to celebrate another victory as former Betraying The Martyrs vocalist Aaron Matts remains incredibly humble and thanks everyone for putting on the show. Describing his set as the pallet cleanser, which in all fairness sandwiched between two of the weekends heaviest bands it probably is, Mike Dawes [9/10] performance something very special. Playing the acoustic guitar in ways hitherto unimaginable he runs through Van Halen classic “Jump” and “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye with a packed like Sardines in a can capacity audience singing every word. Between and even during songs he entertains with a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and jokes all the while, strumming, tapping and finger picking, using every single part of the instrument to make wonderful sounds. It’s been five long years since we last witnessed Buster Odeholm’s nightmarish vision Humanity’s Last Breath [9/10] in the live arena and the Swedish Extreme Metal quartet do not disappoint as they blast through a set of violent dark intensity including “Abyssal Mouth” and “Dehumanize” that leave the crowd baying for blood. How vocalist Filip Danielsson wears a hood throughout the performance in the heat of the venue remains a mystery but he doesn’t uncloak even for a second as the band deliver slab after slab of joyous brutality…

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