Live Review: Radar Festival 2022 Day #3 (Sunday)!
The third and final day of the extended second incarnation of Radar Festival begins with the journey to the Casino Night Club in Guildford, for which we have the pleasures of a playlist that features some classic Metal tracks from the past 20 odd years including works by American Head Charge, God Forbid and Deftones. What would life be like without Metal? Don’t get us started because while the weather is hot and the beer is cold, today has a lot of fun instore as the line-up looks incredible once more.
The award for having the biggest crowd for an opening band this weekend goes to Phoxjaw [8/10] for whom people have turned out in force early doors. After two years of the critically acclaimed “Royal Swan” they have a now month sold single in “Sungazer” which everyone is talking about and is pretty fitting given the summer weather. Complementing the sound engineer for the bass sound the Bristol quartet bring a live energy with a ferocious tinge and creepy synths, even commanding a wall of death before the closing of their set, a rarity for an Alternative act even if they do seemingly have Post-Hardcore roots. For Alternative Metalcore act Thoughtcastle [8/10] today is a big deal as by their own admission the band are playing to their biggest crowd yet although curiously enough with a sophomore EP recorded with Myroslav Borys at Jigsaw Audio waiting in the wings, from which we’ve had a pair of singles out in “Entropy” and “Devise, Contrive” they still play plenty of cuts from their debut “No Sanctuary“. Not that we mind because those original cuts are played incredibly well, bringing plenty of early bounce to the mosh pit, with “You Saps Keep Your Faith, We’ll Take The Money” and “The Sleep Of Reason, Brings Forth Monsters” going down particularly well, literally all that’s missing is Christina Rotondo reprising her role on that. Take any show and put Copenhagen Denmark R n’ B Metal act Siamese [9/10] on the bill and you are always going to have a party because they’re just such great fun. They’ve travelled a long way to play 30 minutes and spent 3 hours at the border thanks to Brexit but somehow remain in good spirits which is fantastic as there is a great energy in the crowd for them even though it’s early Sunday afternoon. From set starter “Home” to closer “Ocean’s Bed” the band remain a criminally underrated pleasure with set highlight “B.A.N.A.N.A.S.” being the huge sing-a-long anthem, the only disappointment is that they can’t play for longer.
Back at the Boiler Room stage are London all female quartet Hawxx [7/10] who are a band with a huge reputation, accolades and a pair of EPs and a collection of singles to their name. They’re a band for whom the message is just as important as the music with lyrics that muse on subjects like self empowerment and mental health struggles, backing it up with a rhythmic prowess, playing with textures in light and shade. DJent fuelled cuts like “Heart Play Dead” and “Death Of Silence” are impressive (even if some of their technical nuances are lost in the stage sound) and after their speech about making gigs a safe space for women which echoes that of the Festival itself there is no doubt that they’ve won themselves not only a few more fans but a few more friends as well. After appearances at Nottingham’s Mangata Festival and 2000 Trees earlier this summer Palm Reader [8/10] are warmed up and ready to go, offering up a set that is split between cuts from 2020’s critically acclaimed “Sleepless” and it’s 2018 predecessor “Braille“. Post-Metal from start to finish, they’re as thought provoking as they are brutal, painting in textures and shades with each element in perfect balance as extremes push out and their nuances are absolutely flawless live. London quartet Temples On Mars [7/10] have their set cut short as technical issues mean they start late but still manage to win us over with a collection of cuts that float between the Worlds of Progressive Rock and Metal. In so being they manage a rare feat, being accessible without the frustration of falling short in either capacity and their latest single “Sleepwalking Into Extinction” is a real highlight as is the seemingly Bush inspired “Smile” which brings the curtain down on the performance with its quiet, quiet, loud AF approach.
If you didn’t know that The Dali Thundering Concept [9/10] hail from Paris France then you would have no idea watching them live as their vocalist Sylvain Connier spits pure venom with a flawless American accent as the band take the brutality of Deathcore and fuse them to the areal vibes of Progressive Metal. The reality of that self description from the band is an hybrid DJent fuelled poly rhythmic sound with a wealth of complexity that is nothing short of mesmerizing in the quality of the musicianship while at the same time being perfectly accessible. Their January releasing album “All Mighty Men” is the mainstay of their set and while there are no guests to fill in the roles from the record on the tracks they play the band make up for it with their high energy approach. The return of former Harbinger vocalist Tom Gardner to Radar Festival some 3 years after he played the main stage of the first incarnation sees him fronting Nu-Metalcore aggressors Pulse [8/10]. It’s great to see that bridges haven’t been burned as Harbinger bassist Kris Aarre is in the mosh pit for the duration of their set alongside Arcaeon bassist Eifion Sweet and such is their high energy and constant movement, how the band manage to stay on the Boiler Room stage is beyond us. Its abundantly clear from the very start of the set that the band are very into the music they have created an their energy is infectious as the razor sharp angular riffs cut through the sweaty bodies as they’re interacting with the samples that permeate the tunes and cutting shapes. Progressive Instrumental Rock band Poly-Math [7/10] are the kind of outfit that is so experimental you wonder just how they are able to translate their recorded material into what they perform live. Last year they dropped the dark and eclectic double album “The Cadaver Tomb” and already have a sequel in “Zenith” ready for a November release, just before their 2023 tenth anniversary which will no doubt bring a tour. Guitar, bass, drums, saxophone and keys go to making up their sound, full of strange and complex material that is densely layered with quirky time signatures.
Despite suffering a few technical issues with microphones early on Milton Keynes DJentlemen Hacktivist [9/10] blast through a career spanning set that gets a capacity crowd off their feet and bouncing from the very start, so while we lose parts of “Planet Zero” the band not only take it in their stride, but thrive in the face of the adversity. “Armoured Core” and the obligatory Jay-Z and Kanye West cover go down a storm mid set, the solo of the former the moment that confirmed for us that James Hewitt was the right man to lead the guitar attack in the bands new age. It would have been fantastic had they been able to bring Kid Bookie or Aaron Matts on stage with them to reprise their roles on their respective cuts on “Hyperdialect” but maybe we’re being greedy? Old school Hardcore act Cage Fight [9/10] are a band who have come a long way in a very short space of time, their meteoric rise not going unnoticed in these parts. Bassist Jon Reid does all the talking between cuts allowing vocalist Rachel Aspe to recompose herself before another throat shredding performance as the band wear their influences in bands like Biohazard and Slayer on their collective sleeves. Cuts like “Hope Castrated” and a cover of Body Count classic “Bitch In The Pit” go down a storm as the band waste no time in getting viciously straight to the barbed point wit a breathless performance. Expect to see and here them around a lot more in the not too distant future. Quite what the critically acclaimed Australian guitarist Plini [10/10] is doing in Guildford is astounding given he should probably be playing venues like the Albert Hall, but this is a Progressive Metal Festival and his music is the very definition of that. The performance is so spellbinding its mesmerising, the polyrhythmic guitar work astounding and the talents of the musicians that support the man himself should not go un-noted. After all, genius still requires help to go from zero to hero, does it not? “Electric Sunrise” is the moment that everyone is waiting for and when it appears, it brings down the house in with its sheer magnificence and epic grandeur. We’ve said it a few times over the course of this weekend but the Boiler Room stage doesn’t feel like the right place for South Coast Metalcore heroes Our Hollow Our Home [9/10] for an event like this, they should be on the main stage. There are certainly enough people wedged into the space in front of them to prove that and it’s a sweat fest of epic proportions. The quintet have been all over Europe since we saw them last, racking up the festival appearances that have allowed new bassist Lawrence Welling and drummer Alex Rayner the opportunity to prove their worth and to their credit they do exactly that. “Shatterdome” is the first offering from the new line up in the recorded sense and tonight it’s performance is right up there with the sing-a-long anthems like “Better Daze“.