Metal ground­break­ers brave the Som­er­set el­e­ments

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Lives -

It’s pretty much

guar­an­teed to rain in Som­er­set if you’re plan­ning a fes­ti­val, but tor­ren­tial down­pours can’t de­ter the 5,000 at­ten­dees at the fifth an­nual Ar­cTanGent. In spite of it size, this muddy farm man­ages to re­tain a unique sense of re­mote­ness as it pro­vides a plat­form for an eclec­tic line-up of genre-bend­ing acts. New Jersey’s HO99O9 [7] storm the stage on Fri­day.

Their ex­per­i­men­tal yet ag­gres­sive sound brings to­gether el­e­ments of dub, reg­gae, hard­core and afro-punk, and along with their cap­ti­vat­ing stage pres­ence it all adds up to quite the spectacle. The skies open just as CON­VERGE [8] take the stage, blast­ing Dark Horse to the au­di­ence’s de­light. Despite be­ing packed in like sar­dines, the main stage tent can’t shel­ter more than 70% of the crowd, and many are left out in the cold. There’s a wa­ter­fall pour­ing off the side of the gazebo and yet fans stick it out to the bit­ter end in the ut­terly atro­cious weather, gra­ciously noted by Ja­cob Ban­non. Con­verge’s raw en­ergy is lim­it­less and calms only once mid­way through their set with the haunt­ing Eve. They re­turn to their chaotic pace for the re­main­der of the set, nei­ther band nor au­di­ence able to remain still for a sin­gle mo­ment be­fore the cur­tain call of Jane Doe. Satur­day’s de­lights – aside from a break in the wet weather, in­clude TESSERACT [8], play­ing their fi­nal UK show be­fore re­turn­ing to the stu­dio to record their fourth LP.

The Mil­ton Keynes prog metal out­fit pro­ceed to weave their way through clas­sics old and new with vo­cal­ist Dan Tomp­kins belt­ing through Ashe

O’Hara-era songs as ef­fort­lessly as his own. Lon­don tech-metal sex­tet SIKTH [9] dip into tracks from all three al­bums, much to the de­light of the au­di­ence who can barely con­tain them­selves through opener Suf­fice, the pit-prompt­ing Pussy­foot and new­bie Golden Cuff­links. Texas’s EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY [8] bring an­other Ar­cTanGent to an ex­pan­sive close as their spe­cial breed of or­gan­i­cally woven post-rock sym­phonies mes­merises the crowd. Each song melts into the next, un­til fi­nally Chris Hrasky and co end with the sooth­ing The Only Mo­ment We Were Alone, grace­fully mark­ing the end of a week­end filled with shin­ing ex­am­ples of metal at its finest and most far-sighted.

Con­verge’s Jake Ban­non gives the crowd some­thing to chew over up the delir­ium Ho99o9 dial barn Sikth blow the Ar­cTangent doors off at

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