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

It’s the final countdown… Day #4 of the Tech-Fest weekend begins with an Oat Milk Latte and fortunately today the line isn’t one you need to endure. It’s bean to cup goodness of the highest order and is exactly what you need after that 3am rendition of “Hotel California” by Eagles. People walk past our table with piles of Hash Browns that are looking golden, crispy and delicious… but we’re not here to talk about the breakfast delights that are so right…

Combining 2003 era Metalcore with Groove Metal Eleusis [7/10] get the blood flowing on the Sunday morning showing off a wealth of material including the one single they have out currently in “Surrender” and it seems like the not too distant future could be very bright for them if they play their cards right. Their sound is not only well defined but refined in the fires of winters of discontent during some Global situation or other and leaves us salivating at the prospect of their next single. Tech-Fest favourites Arcaeon [10/10] were one of the major draws of this year’s incarnation of the festival and they don’t disappoint, offering up a new single in “Burn Beyond The Grave” mid set that has an ocean of Groove. Later we find out from bassist Eifion Sweet that while the track is instrumentally finished, they are still playing with the lyrics. The masterpiece of the set is of course the brilliance that is “Origin Of Dreams“, as glorious today as it is on the album and while the band may not have played a show recently, they perform as a well oiled machine. Reaching year six of their journey in this Metal Life are A Titan, A Deity [8/10] who bring the Progressive Metalcore to Tech-Fest with cuts like “Bleak” that remind us why they are so good. They are the product of previously established bands and that shows in the quality of not only their musicianship but their live prowess. As has been the tradition at the event, the band join the masses in playing some new material and it sounds pretty damn good. Alternative Metal act Godsticks [7/10] are arguably the least technical band this weekend but Tech-Fest has always given us a wealth of variety so they’re not phasing anyone. The Welshmen offer up cuts from their current album “Inescapable” including “Time“, their rhythmic energy enticing even if they do lack a solo or two to round out their solid sound.

The highly anticipated return of Bangalore Indian Progressive Metal fusion act Project Mishram [9/10] is another triumph of the weekend with the seven piece the only band who can make the flute sound cool. The embellishment adds a lead part to their funky fusion rhythms with cuts like “Loco Coko“, one about coffee, going down like… a hot cup of coffee from a hot coffee cup (!). It’s a packed house for these guys at the main stage and with good reason as the last time they were here they blew our tiny minds. Today they surpass even our lofty expectations and while it’s a shame that Kmac isn’t here to reprise his role on “Kanakana” it doesn’t stop any of us from loving them any less. June 2020 saw Black Orchid Empire [7/10] unveil a science fiction concept album called “Semaphore“, which many might have considered a risky move but has instead paid dividends in raising the profile of the band and gaining critical acclaim. This afternoon the band are tight and slick in their performance, their Progressive Rock blend making them idea Sunday afternoon listening and a break from some of the heavier acts that have obliterated our ear drums. Let’s be honest, we didn’t see a future for No Consequence [8/10] after frontman Kaan Tasan joined Heart Of A Coward any yet… the band have continued to defied the odds by dusting off their instruments and appearing randomly to treat us, today being no different. They are a quartet of myth and legend and go down so well that they are actually booed when they announce their last song “Citizen“. It seems unlikely that we will get another album from them but the trio that they do have still have plenty to offer and still have as relevant a sound as they did when they first appeared on the scene. Flipping the script entirely and proving that variety is indeed the spice of life, Post Doom Monsters OHHMS [8/10] are a treat for those who worship the riff with extended instrumental passages that bring elements of Sludge Metal and American Blues. They have a new album in the pipeline and joke that it will be with us in a decade even though we had single “The Mephisto Waltz” from it at the end of April. Having called time on their career after the tour for 2017’s “Young Gods” and with members now in Viscera and Magna Carta, the return of the much loved Lincoln Death Metallers Martyr Defiled [9/10] for at least a handful of shows is very much welcomed. Normally a quintet, they take the stage as a four piece with Borders guitarist Gavin Burton lending a hand and cuts like “Sin Eater” go down a storm at a packed main stage with the atmosphere very much that of a homecoming. A blistering rendition of “Flawless” goes off like a Molotov Cocktail, the stuccato riff infestation backed by a full on strobe light show and quite simply it’s the kind of experience that any self respecting Metal Head needs in their life. Long may they keep returning even if just for nostalgic purposes.

Anyone who has been to a Party Cannon [9/10] show knows what they’re all about. Slamming Brutal Death Metal, inflatables and fun. So naturally the Pins and Knuckles stage is absolutely rammed with beach balls getting thrown around, beer getting spilled and people diving into the Mosh pit harder than Thor’s Hammer. Their set maybe short and sharp but they are armed with “Volumes Of Vomit” they get the party going with an intense heat, even going as far as demanding push-ups in the mosh pit during the final breakdown. It’s not just utter madness but total anarchy in the best possible way. Each year at Tech-Fest there is a band we haven’t had the pleasure of prior to the event that leaves us wondering what we have just witnessed. This year is no different as Pupil Slicer [10/10] hit like a shot of adrenaline straight to the vein. Fronted by Kate Davis they offer a one-two punch with the jab of angular Mathcore and the uppercut of Grindcore. If  you’re wondering what that sounds like, think “Calculating Infinity” era The Dillinger Escape Plan on steroids and you get the idea. The London quartet were the talk of the town with the tie-dye t-shirts on their merch stand before their arrival, afterwards it’s all about “Thermal Runaway“, “Mirrors Are More Fun Than Television” and “Save The Dream, Kill Your Friends“. We’ve been waiting to witness Novelists [8/10] in the live arena for a long time and having played a set in France at midday they’re here to perform a second one of the day after a lot of travel. Ex-Alazka vocalist Tobias Rische does a fair amount of talking between the cuts while the band tune up but when each one does hit they are scintillating and loaded with sumptuous melodic solos. “Heretic” is the winner of the set, sitting very well alongside older cuts like “Gravity” from the French DJentlemen…

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