Live Review: Tech-Fest: Day #3: Saturday!

Saturday may be a day with showers on the weather forecast but the beauty of Tech-Fest is that the stages are inside interlinked hangers with a merch and bar area between them meaning that the weather isn’t a factor that counts against enjoying any of the bands. After yesterday’s Metal buffet, today is a shade heavier with Death seemingly at every turn…

Blasting away the cobwebs of the night before Manchester’s Only The Righteous [8/10] put a marker in the sand and bury their flag in Newark despite being a man down with cuts like “Diaphony” and blistering Metalcore energy, winning over the crowd early doors. Enduring a couple of momentarily technical issues Where Oceans Burn [9/10] bring the DJent fuelled Metalcore with flavours of Polaris and impress with cuts like “Manifest” and “Hollow Heart” getting the sing-a-long treatment. The second band from Manchester of the day may not get a circle pit but it’s only because it’s early on day #3 and not because they don’t deserve it. Multi national DJentlemen He Knows [7/10] may not get to share the stage too often but they do so a twitch stream every Tuesday so they’re sharp,  ready and very happy to be here. From their pair of well received EPs “Know Your Enemy” goes down well even if it’s not a Rage Against The Machine cover and the obligatory “see you next…” Joke goes down well. Bloodstock regulars Krysthla [9/10] are on a little bit early for our liking but they’re already on the Jameson’s and hammer out cuts from “Worldwide Negative” gaining the first circle pit of the day with their firebrand Metal style. “Zero Sum Game” has become a staple and the quintet waste no time in decimating the weak as stalwarts of the Underground Metal scene who remain undefeated as necks get snapped. The heaviness falls away for Axiom [6/10] a Progressive trio who specialise in instrumental dream scapes and while they aren’t our cup of team one can only admire the talent in the musicianship of their performance… and their beards.

Nottingham Technical Metalcore quintet The Five Hundred [7/10] don’t waste any time in melting our faces with a blistering collection of cuts that shake the concrete floor in front of the  the main stage. After bassist Andy Crawford has stalked from side to side like a Lion eyeing up his prey, he appears at the centre of a wall of death during the bands final cut, still managing to play along Despite the turbulence. The bleak haunting lyrics and tapping sections of lead are stunning and it’s all ove too soon. Either something goes tragically wrong during their set or The Hirsch Effekt [7/10] intended to be invisible during ninety percent of it as they are hidden by the smoke that only makes the strobe lighting visible. What we do actually see if them early doors is their drummer doing some frog leaps during an enthusiastic display. The German self styled Artcore trio blend an eclectic mix of Death Metal, Hardcore, Chamber Music, Jazz and pretty much anything that takes their fancy to create their sound, not only slipping through the cracks of subgenres but genres themselves. If you’re unfamiliar, check them out though be warned, they can take some getting used to. One of those bands who we’ve been wanting to see for a while are Blind Summit [9/10] who combine all the heaviness that you crave with soaring melodies in clean vocals… And the contrast is staggering. DJent augmented by programming and a crisp clean drum sound, they play to a packed Pins and Knuckles stage with “Like Water” going down particularly well, that bomb blasting sequence of extended breakdown is just awe inspiring and met by seas of swaying bodies. Mexican quintet Anima Tempo [8/10] are a Progressive Death Metal act who love a long gestational period for their albums, having released three singles since their 2016 debut “Caged in Memories“. They’ve embellished their sound with ethnic touches and the seemingly endless supply of intricate solos is really special, as is the five string bass played with no pick in operation. He even manages a few surprise tapping sections that change things entirely…

There is definitely a call to say that  Monasteries [10/10] are on the wrong stage because not since Archspire appeared there a few years back have more people crammed in, a testament to how in demand the Technical Deathcore act are. They maybe missing a drummer but they don’t let that hold them back and instead concentrate on having a good time and giving the best account of themselves possible, the result being anyone who hasn’t heard of them before sharted. “Digital Suicide” is incredible, the vocals aren’t just throat splitting but Earth shattering with Josh Davies (ex-Abandonment, ex-Sentenced) proving why the band hold him in such high regard. A last minute addition to this year’s incarnation of Tech-Fest, there is no question that since the arrival of new vocalist Oli Duncanson London Metalcore merchants TheCityIsOurs [8/10] have got heavier. They may get off to a slow start but by the end they’ve won the crowd over with cuts from their Arising Empire debut “Coma” as well as a few older ones thrown in for good measure including “Low“. Cuts like “Dangerous” bring out the two steppers and while it would have been nice for them to bring out Connor Hallisey from Our Hollow Our Home for “Bare Bones” there will always be another opportunity. Tonight’s Pins and Knuckles stage headliners Vexed [10/10] actually played their very first show here back in 2019 and tonight there is breathing space only for them as they tear a new hole in the fabric of space and time with cuts like “Narcissist“. Tonight feels like a cathartic release for the band following their well documented van issues that left them stranded in France following an appearance at a Swiss festival, all the negative energy rushing from them in the best possible way. Megan Targett probably doesn’t get the attention she deserves for her clean vocals and the bands decision to play personal cut “Aurora” is as spellbinding as watching Jinjer’s Tatiana Shmailyuk perform “Pieces“. Intriguingly they don’t leave it until last, instead sandwiching it between a pair of heavy hitters, something which works incredibly well and leaves everyone talking. Yesterday may have been full of drama but today is a triumph. South African Slamming Brutal Death Metallers Vulvodynia [10/10] win the award for being the heaviest band at this year’s incarnation of Tech-Fest, the six piece annihilating the weak and creating sink holes all over the Globe when they perform. Tonight they’re on fire, smashing through the likes of “Mob Justice” with ease in front of a capacity main stage audience who have come out in force to show them some love. The band thrive on the energy with guitarists Lwandile Prusent and Kris Xenopoulos in particular leading us a merry dance as Duncan Bentley demonstrates the power of the dark side. His vocals are immense and with “Praenuntius Infiniti” they have struck a balance in the force that others struggle to…

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