Concert Review: UK Tech Metal Fest 2013 part 2 – Shattered Skies, Drewsif Stalin, Uneven Structure, Skyharbor

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Uneven Structure

Saturday: 

Bands playing: Colors To Shame, Above The Earth, Immerse, Kartikeya, Shattered Skies, Red Seas Fire, Aeolist, Drewsif Stalin, Destiny Potato, Disperse, Xerath, Uneven Structure, Skyharbor, Veil of Maya  

Afterparty: Bilo Super Jam – members from different bands.

This was the day when three of my absolute favourite bands were going to play. And I mean hugely favourite bands. So be warned, I might enter fanboy(girl)-mode. For a general review of the festival and the bands from the first day, check out part 1. I will cover the lineup of Sunday in part 3. These three parts won’t include all the bands playing, not even all of the ones I did end up watching; I’ve only chosen the ones I liked the best.

(THE PHOTOS ARE USED WITH PERMISSION FROM AND ARE COPYRIGHTED TO METALWASP.COM)

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Shattered-Skies-ReanimationShattered Skies

Shattered Skies are a really charming and talented bunch of guys from Ireland. They released an EP called ‘Reanimation’ in 2011 and it contains some of the best melodic, uplifting progressive metal I’ve heard in the past few years. Even though their bassist couldn’t make it, they happily went on with their show. Seeing them live put a big smile on my face and even though they only played new songs from their upcoming album, that I don’t know well, it was incredibly easy to like their catchy, rhythmic and fresh-sounding melodies. Ian Rockett gave us some impressive guitar-work and the vocalist Sean Murphy’s voice was powerful and warm, which suits the atmosphere in their music. In the middle of the set they kicked up the speed a good bit by playing a fantastic, and unexpected, cover of Pendulum’s Propane Nightmares’; who would have thought that song would sound so cool when performed by a prog band? This show made me forget how hot it was in the tent; the positive energy from the music and the crowd was so strong. Shattered Skies were amazing live and I can’t wait to hear their new album!

Shattered Skies – “Saviours” and “As the Sea Divides”

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INTENSEDREW-1024x576Drewsif Stalin

I had been looking through Drewsif Stalin‘s videos on YouTube (he’s a so called YouTube-celebrity) before the festival, to see what kind of an artist he was. Turns out he’s been making metal covers of pop songs, is a good guitar player as well as the bearer of an impressive singing voice. He seemed to be quite entertaining and fun, so I decided to check out his live show. He played some extremely heavy, riff-filled songs and one very long track where he took over the mic as well (what a cool voice, I would have liked to hear more of that!). He was joined by the vocalist from Red Seas Fire on a couple of songs. Overall, it was fun to watch, the songs were a nice listen and I hope Mr. Stalin will continue to write music, and more importantly, use his singing voice to a greater extent. Well done!

Drewsif complete show:

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5060244150140Uneven Structure

Now it was time for a band whose debut album ‘Februus’  has impressed me greatly over and over again. They have also recently re-recorded and released their first EP ‘8’, to include a new mix and the vocalist from their debut. I could never have imagined how powerful their music would sound live. It was a sound so crushingly dark and heavy it went through flesh and bones and completely smashed everything. I don’t mean fast-as-hell kind of heavy, it’s more like aggressive-low-end percussive-riffing-kind of heavy. In particular when they played the first half of their set, which was the whole EP ‘8’ from start to finish. You could tell people enjoyed it but as soon as the first song from ‘Februus’ started playing the crowd really woke up and started moving; this were the songs we all know and love. They played the first six songs in the order they appear on the album. With no less than three chugging guitarists, one skilled bass player, a drummer that is working hard and a vocalist that hits every note perfectly, this was a very tight and flawless performance. The ambient melodies in the backing soundtrack we know from their albums added a beautiful, electric flow to the music and is a part of the band’s perfect use of dynamics. These soft passages make you relax and breath a bit, just enough so the contrast of the explosive, thundering parts will hit you even harder.

This was the most intense live show I’ve ever experienced and in such an intimate live setting it was just… wow. I was speechless for a good while when the show was over, I couldn’t even collect my thoughts and comprehend what I had just experienced. Now I know what ‘having your mind blown’ really means…

Uneven Structure complete show:

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imagesSkyharbor

It’s impressive when a band travels all the way from India, only to play a 45 minute live set in front of an audience on a tiny festival. For many visitors, including myself, this was one of the most anticipated shows this weekend.

Skyharbor was started in guitarist/composer Keshav Dhar’s bedroom and quickly became a well known name in modern progressive metal. He started out with instrumental songs, but soon Daniel Tompkins (ex-TesseracT) joined the band and provided vocals on their debut album ‘Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos’, which turned out to be the perfect fit.  For this show, Skyharbor’s drummer Anup Sastry wasn’t available as he’s on tour with his other band Intervals, but they borrowed Mike Maylan (who also played a set with his band Monuments as well as being the drummer for The Algorithm this weekend) and he managed to learn the whole set of Skyharbor’s complex songs in only 4 days! That’s one hell of a drummer…

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Daniel Tompkins of Skyharbor

Due to most of the band living on the other side of the world, and their singer being British; they haven’t had more than a couple of chances to actually play together as a whole band before. This didn’t hinder them in the slightest and it did not affect the quality of their live performance. Which was, of course (did anyone ever doubt this?), absolutely breathtaking.

There were many happy faces in the crowd during this set, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one with serious goosebumps and tears in my eyes after getting over the initial chock of hearing Daniel Tompkins’ sincere and powerful voice in the opening track ‘Dots’.  He’s a very charismatic front man and always leaves a humble, kind and genuine impression. Vocal-wise, there are some extremely demanding screams, high notes as well as low ones throughout the songs and Daniel managed to deeply impress with his range and versatility, doing everything from long, dreamy notes to sharp, edgy and harsh vocals.

The whole band seemed happy to be playing together and they all did such a great job performing both the bass-driven, groovy melodies and the heavy riffing parts, while the stand-in drummer was pounding away like he’s been a member of Skyharbor his whole life. They played all the tracks from ‘Illusion’ in album order and it was truly beautiful. The third song ‘Catharsis’ has nice, driving drums and fantastic rhythm guitars; it really builds up tension through the song and when Daniel released a cascade of high screams at the end… I was standing there with chills all over and my jaw on the floor…  During ‘Night’ and my favourite song ‘Celestial’ I could hear many fans loudly singing along, and so was I; completely drawn in by the intense and emotional atmosphere of Skyharbor’s music. They certainly delivered in every way, and left us with many unforgettable moments from their first UK show.

Skyharbor – Intro and “Dots” 

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About Irmelinis

A friend told me that I was delusional. I almost fell off my unicorn.

Posted on August 6, 2013, in Concert Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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