UK Tech-Fest 2017 returns for its sixth instalment this year, promising another weekend of unrivalled technical heaviness and prog goodness. From its humble beginnings in Alton, it has grown to be able to attract some of the biggest names in the prog, mathcore, death metal and deathcore worlds. With Textures, headliners of the first edition, returning for a final UK festival performance, Aussie metalcore merchants Northlane, a warm up party headed by Chelsea Grin, and bands such as The Black Dahlia Murder, Obscura, and Aborted from across the spectrum of death metal leading a stacked undercard, there’s a lot to look forward to. But who are the absolutely unmissable acts?
Making a debut Tech-Fest performance come German jazz collective Panzerballett. Bringing shred interpretations of pieces such as ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Pink Panther’ themes with plenty of sax; it promises to be good bouncy fun. One for the instrumental fans.
On the back of a full headlining tour across Europe in support of the brilliant Aathma – a first for a band from Andorra – Persefone are another making their Tech-Fest debut. With spiritual and Japanese themes across their music, extensive synth use, and progressive song writing mixed in with their death metal, they’ll provide something a little different, and very special, when they headline the Gigantic Stage.
One of many bands on the bill with a link to Basick Records, Belgian hardcore merchants Bear bring the chaos to Sunday’s after-party. Expect constant pits, band members everywhere except the stage and relentless energy. OBEY THE FUCKING BEAR!
The Colour Line
On a similar note to Bear, The Colour Line have a reputation for their chaotic live shows. For those who (like me) have not yet had a chance to verify this live, the band are one of several who are calling it quits and playing a farewell show at Tech-Fest, so take your chance to see them while you can.
It’s taken these Tech-Fest veterans five years to follow up phenomenal debut Februus with the equally impressive La Partition. Combining post-metal atmospherics and savage tech metal riffing, seeing Uneven Structure live is an experience not to be missed.
Going some way to filling the void from The Faceless’ inevitable cancellation are Glaswegians Godeater. Playing tech-death focussed heavily on atmospherics, and with sci-fi influenced instrumental sections, they’re definitely a band worth checking out.
Shattered Skies are there to provide a break from the breakdowns and harsh vocals. The London-based prog act are finally back with a new album, and are back at Tech-Fest. Expect soaring vocals and melodic guitar, and something closer to a poppier Symphony X than Meshuggah worship.
Another for the prog fans comes in the form of London’s Novena. Sounding somewhat similar to Haken is perhaps slightly inevitable when they share vocalist Ross Jennings, but there can never be too much of a good thing. As a band, they are not afraid to detour into extreme territories, but at the same do not confine themselves to them, which is refreshing to see.
I’ll be honest, Rolo Tomassi are far too low on the lineup. Switching seamlessly between mathcore chaos and serene melodies, there’s a reason why the band are so highly regarded in the UK, and should prove to be a highlight.
Crushing guitar? Oui. Glitchy synthwave-esque electronica? Oui. Epilepsy-inducing light show? Oui. Concept album featuring a computer virus that makes everyone Will Smith? Oui. Naked saxophone-playing Gerard Depardieu? Oui. Oui? Oui.