Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Festival Review: TECH-FEST! Part 1

Sworn Amongst. Photo Credit: Ryan Winstanley

When I went last year one of the things everyone said was that TechFest was a community. Now as I came back to the ground and started seeing all the familiar faces, I really got a sense of this. Now in it's fifth year TechFest has just gotten bigger and better. With most communities there is a sense of us and them but with TechFest it was just welcoming. Like saying hello to a friend, this only seems to be an event that nurtures. Now one of my biggest disappointments last year was the inability to arrive on time and being unable to see everyone. TechFest has it's early birds on Thursday 7th July before hitting full force on Friday 8th then continuing through it's line up Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th to finishing early hours of Monday 11th. What started small, again in it's fifth year, has only gotten bigger. TechFest showcases a lot of technical guitar playing and prominent Metal work. It was good to be back.

Once again, thanks goes to all the bands that played and I apologise to all bands that we were unable to feature – though we saw significantly more than last year!


Being that it's just a preview there is a sense that we're not quite in full force yet. Not everyone has arrived and the bands, though exciting and excited, are just like the fun of pre-drinking before a night out. It sparks beautifully but it's not the full effect. Like a gig or any festival the first bands have tough work, they need to push people out there for the entire event to get started.


The first band we saw were Jonestown and they packed a heavy weight to them. Their Metal weighing you down with their powerful bass sound. They were, however, quite a static act and almost felt restricted by their early slot despite the power in their playing.

Facebook: /jonestownbanduk

Sworn Amongst

Sworn Amongst fought against the awkwardness of the start of the festival with some tight and effective playing. The vocalist working hard to get people involved and fill the crowds. They called people out to fight their fight. Things still felt a bit early for them and this only got them so far, a shame as they were quite on point.

Facebook: /swornamongst
Visions. Photo Credit: Gavin K


Visions sacrifice brutality for harmony in a very energetic performance. For so early on in the festival they gave it their all and the knife into heart of the festival was starting to feel less resistance. Sometimes the harmonies felt a bit pushed but it worked for their sound being varied and effective.

Facebook: /VisionsUK

No Consequence
Now veterans of TechFest, No Consequence are very
No Consequence. Photo Credit: Gavin K
up on that stage and by this point in the evening the crowd are ready for them – even on a Thursday. The crowd are psyched to be involved and they hold no punches in putting in a great performance. They show some powerful music and quickly prove why their one of the heavyweight hitters of the evening. We're truly getting under way.

Facebook: /noconsequenceband

It may not have been the easiest but the Thursday night definitely built, the night got strong. This actually made an effective build to a pay off, though this places pressure on the first headliners of the event Napoleon. Now certainly energetic and certainly Technical there's a certain chaos about Napoleon, it almost feels sloppy. However, there is no denying that they have their own power to them. As a headliner they do have some big boots to fill but they are quick to fight their cause with some frantic playing and it feels as if we've started opening TechFest 2016!

Facebook: /Napoleon

Napoleon. Photo Credit: Ryan Winstanley


Make Me a Donut

Okay, I admit, I had to catch them if only for the name alone. Is that bad? Probably. However, with bands like these it really does test their staying power. If they're going to attract you in such a way they better have substance. With some strong, heavy and powerful instrumental work that isn't afraid to explore it's presence upon you this was actually a fairly decent pay off. Tight and effective, quite a surprisingly good pay off.

Facebook: /makemeadonut

Make Me A Donut. Photo Credit: Ryan Winstanley

Continuing Fridays power Harbinger push hard but there's a slight awkward edge to their performance. Fortunately their vocalist reveals that his powerful vocals translate well from record to performance. Their hard hitting music still keeps up with the Metal brutality of the festival and are a good addition to this point of a Friday festival.

Facebook: /harbingeruktm 

No Sin Evades His Gaze

The steady grooves of No Sin Evades His Gaze are quite captivating. The Melody and power combine for a very strong set. This was a point to take up arms and start moving in with powerful thud. They tear it up in a set that flows so well and so powerfully. We're starting to build the metal up.

Facebook: /nosinevadeshisgaze

Plini. Photo Credit: Ryan Winstanley


Now, TechFest puts its emphasis on Technical guitar playing – it's in the name! What can frequently noticed in Metal circles is the power of the complexity with which musicians take up the metal banner. With Plini we start to see this aspect of Metal in full force, one of the true atmospheric metal bands. Plini are strong, tight and full of life. At times there's a sense of a far more Metal Pink Floyd and at others, almost a guitar lesson – which has it's pros and cons. They can certainly play and can certainly impress.

Facebook: /Plini


Now the Friday headliners of the second stage do start to show a certain power that almost grows out of the smaller stage. These guys are less hard and far more atmospheric - more a smoother than a hard hitter. This should not detract from their effect in any way, they're still a force to be reckoned with. The audience connect with it on a level that isn't felt through much of the rest of the festival. They put in a good performance and bring the second stage to a close.

Facebook: /disperseofficial


Intervals offer the second half to what started with Plini. These bands share a lot of members and therefore hold a lot of similarities. However, there are some stark differences. Where Plini's lead felt more technical and atmopsheric, in switching lead to Aaron Marshall we actually see more of a shredder and a bit more fun in the approach to the guitar playing. This feels like emotions that are so similar but completely different at the same time and it's almost like by making the comparison I'm ignoring too much at the same time.

Facebook: /intervalsmusic

Intervals. Photo Credit: Ryan Winstanley

Animals as Leaders

So the Friday headliners, so far it has all been leading up until this powerful punch. Each band creating and building atmosphere and tension and eagerly keeping the audience for that climactic explosion. Delivering this Animals as Leaders just feel like a fairly strong act. Rather static and just sort of there, they give a rather underwhelming performance to music that should be a lot more hard hitting. A headlining slot does carry a lot of weight to it and deserves a great pay off but we just don't really get it here. Perhaps a band to see at a festival but perhaps not as a headliner. But this is just one main day of a building festival with a lot more in store.

Facebook: /animalsasleaders

For the TechFest site see here.

Stay tuned next week for Part 2 and Saturday's TechFest 2016!

Animals as Leaders. Photo Credit: Ryan Winstanley

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