Extra! Extra! Get your UKTMF lowdown here!
In the run-up to UK Tech-Metal Fest this weekend, we’re spending the week running down the bands on the bill day-by-day. Check out some bands you might not have thought about seeing, or see what you’re going to miss by not being there!
Here’s Saturday’s listing; catch Thursday and Friday in the links below!
Colours To Shame – 12pm
Described as “The sound of Ronald McDonald hardcore dancing through a jazz band”, you can expect rapid time signature changes, frantic tech, and multiple genre shifts during Colours To Shame’s Saturday-opening set. They have the potential to be really good or really sloppy, and I guess that will really depend on the conditions and the reception.
Joncofy – 1pm
Joncofy fall somewhere between djent, tech and Pelican-style post-metal, with clean vocals used too, and I can’t quite decide if I like, all, some, or none of it. I think they’ve got some way to go to being truly original (the guitars being a particular offender in terms of chugging way too much), so this is definitely a “wait and see”.
Shattered Skies – 2pm
Those with good memories will recall that we debuted Shattered Skies’ video for “15 Minutes” a few months ago. Hailing from Ireland (but now based in London), these guys are melodic and groovy, with vocalist Sean Murphy predominantly a clean vocalist, and an accomplished one at that.
Aeolist – 3pm
Neosis unfortunately had to pull out last-minute, but they’ve been replaced by Aeolist. Admittedly, this late in the day I’ve been unable to find anything about them, especially as their Facebook pages says “debut EP coming soon”. As such, these guys are a serious wildcard!
Xerath – 4:15pm
Orchestral and groovy, the English quartet sound like they’re going to be really, really good. They’re headlining the second stage, and although I’ve not heard a great deal of their two albums, I’m pleased to say what I’ve heard so far has been excellent. A bit “extreme metal” in places, the band are spot-on musically, and vocalist Richard Thomson sounds truly dark and pained, and will set up the evening’s entertainment nicely!
Above The Earth – 12:30pm
Above The Earth are a pop/progressive metal duo, consisting of Aleksandra Radosavljevic (ex-Destiny Potato) and Arsafes (Kartikeya), all of whom feature elsewhere in the festival at some point. Their self-titled debut EP is spacey prog with female vocals, joining Friday’s Destiny Potato in that regard, and in fact fulfil a similar role, in that their expansive tunes sound much like the maestro himself, Devin Townsend.
Featuring Arsafes playing an hour after his set with Above The Earth, Kartikeya are something of a different kettle of fish. Hailing from Russia, they’re much more extreme; pacey, heavy and growlier. Whilst not particularly special in that regard, their symphonic touches are nice.
Kartikeya is the God of War in Hinduism, and it sounds like a label that fits!
Red Seas Fire – 2:30pm
Bristolians Red Seas Fire made the headlines recently over their tackling of the “fake Facebook likes” issue. More than that, however, they just released the first of a series of EPs called Exposition. Neotenic rated it, and rated them live too when they played Southampton’s Takedown Festival. Their vocalist isn’t overly strong on his harshes, but the cleans more than make up for that. If he can pull it off live over the obviously talented musicians.
Drewsif Stalin – 3:30pm
Drewsif came up yesterday too, as he’ll be a part of Friday’s after-party setup, but we expect his main set to be more showy and, as my old editor Alkahest at Heavy Blog Is Heavy once said, “Drewsif Stalin is the embodiment of no fucks given good times”, which is a hearty endorsement.
Disperse – 5pm
Hailing from Polish city Kraków, Disperse are djenty, but they’re pretty damn good djent; the riffs aren’t overly chuggy, being interspersed with some tasty leads, and vocalist Rafał Biernacki has an excellent singing voice. The video for “Enigma Of Abode” is a bit cringey, but hits the spot nicely; looking forward to this one.
Uneven Structure – 6:30pm
We mentioned Uneven Structure, the French atmospheric progsters, only yesterday with guitarist Aure Pereira’s cover of Thursday headliners Monuments’ “Admit Defeat“. Another Basick band, their album Februus is a densely layered and very well polished example of the genre. They split opinion over their live show: it’s not grabbed me the couple of times I’ve seen them, but then again it’s always been on a small stage and there are six of them, and others have absolutely loved it.
Skyharbor – 8pm
With the majority of the band hailing from India, Skyharbor’s attendance at the festival is very exciting. Featuring highly regarded ex-TesseracT vocalist Dan Tompkins as frontman, Skyharbor are one of the best bands on the prog metal scene at the moment, never mind that they were formed far away from its core.
Their Basick Records debut Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos is a blinding record, and although they’ll be missing usual drummer Anup Sastry (himself from America and currently on tour with Intervals), I expect their experience around the burgeoning Indian metal scene to have provided an excellent base for their show.
Veil Of Maya – 9:30pm
Veil Of Maya are a really good, fun-time live band. Whatever you think of their particular brand of ‘Sumeriancore’ (I’m on the fence), they’re accomplished live, and
Bilo Super Jam/David Maxim Micic – Bilo
I’m not entirely sure where Saturday evening will take us, but I do know that Destiny Potato’s David Maxim Micic is a very talented musician, and his 2012 EP Bilo 2.0 was amazing. Wherever this double slot of Bilo takes us, I’m sure it’ll be excellent:
Dan is a Norwegian acapella artist with a big stage presence. The way he moves is…something to behold, for sure. I’ve seen him before and I can’t place where, but he’s done quite a few acapella metal covers, including this one from Sybreed (who were due to play Friday). A definite but welcome curve-ball.
Aleksandra Radoslavjevic/Aleksandra Djelmash
The former and current vocalist of Destiny Potato respectively, and both called Aleksandra, I have no idea what’s going to happen here, but they both sing very well, and here’s them singing “Fireflies“.