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It seems that every year, Christmas gets earlier and earlier. No, we don’t mean the thing with Santa and jingle balls or whatever: we mean the first band announcements for UK Tech Metal Fest, the annual celebration of technical music at its now pretty much permanent home at Newark Showground.

Last year we had to wait until January for the announcement. but the powers that be have granted us an extra month of excitement to enjoy by today name-dropping 22 of the bands we’ll see at the event’s sixth event.

Headliners are of course the big draw, and UK exclusives from both The Black Dahlia Murder and Obscura will provide an excellent draw. With five previous editions under its belt, it’s vital that the festival caters to attract new audiences to join the fiercely loyal. This year looks to be somewhat more death metal oriented, with AbortedIngestedDyscarnate, Within Destruction, Aenimus and FRCTRD - all Tech Fest virgins – all representing the more brutal side of things.

This is a vital step, really. On the proggier end of the spectrum are returning veterans HacktivistThe AlgorithmCarcer CityExist Immortal and Hieroglyph, and the truth is that there aren’t many prog bands left that Tech Fest hasn’t already booked in the past. What’s left, they’re snapping up with the same astuteness that they always have: both Fraktions and Nycosia represent strong upcoming tech talent, alongside a few unknowns to us including Sarah Longfield and The Fine Constant (Sarah Longfield’s band), who toured with alum fellow guitar wunderkind Felix Martin earlier this year, and metalcore dudes The Royal.

Elsewhere, there’s some potential awkwardness as both Parisian metalcore outfit Alaska and their Brummy genre cohorts Oceans Ate Alaska will be present. Hopefully the latter’s rider is well stocked. All we need now is The Ocean to be announced…

A couple of real highlights for us come in the form of The Arusha Accord and Toska. Much like Tool, Wintersun and Necrophagist, the rumoured TAA album has become a bit of a running joke, but there have been more noises that ever in the last year and it’s highly likely we’ll see it at some point this year – hopefully before July.

As for Toska, well they’re just the biscuits, you know? Simon and I fell in love with them when they opened for Heights (the prog version) back in July last year, and they’ve not disappointed us since. They’re just utterly ridiculous musicians, all three of them, and if you’ve ever wondered what we mean by ‘stunt grunge‘, then theirs will be a set not to be missed.

Tier 1 full weekend and camping tickets cost just £69:99 + £20 for camping, and you can grab them now from Gigantic Tickets.

More as and when we have it. Below you’ll find a playlist of cuts from the bands released so far, as well as a bunch of reviews we’ve published about some of the bands.

The Black Dahlia Murder – Abysmal review

Carcer City – Infinite // Unknown review

Exist Immortal – Breathe review

Toska – Ode To The Author review

Fraktions – Anguish review

Chris

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