The ArcTanGent Festival team have produced maybe the finest and most consistent lineup of the year, so if you’re into more challenging natured music from noise to post to prog rock, you’re definitely going to feel at home in the fields of ATG. And if you simply like good old, hard metal, don’t be put off because there’s some of that too. I’ve listed 4 must-see bands playing the festival each day, but this is not an exhaustive list, you could walk around to most stages and find something worth seeing, so I’ve made a playlist too!
Ithaca- Perhaps one of the greatest debuts in the metal world this year has been Ithaca, their album The Language of Injury revitalised the savagery of Poison The Well with lots in there for anyone who likes the vocals of Jacob Bannon. It’s ‘ard melodic hardcore yet thematically progressive and it’s savagery makes this band a massively exciting prospect and importantly, great live.
Conjurer- I’m sure you’ve seen Conjurer’s name forming on everyone from the metal undergrounds lips, and that’s because they couldn’t put a step wrong if they tried. Conjurer are everywhere this year; from Download to 2000 Trees to indeed ArcTanGent, and they’re bringing a fury, metallic proficiency, and bouldering heaviness with them everywhere they go.
MØL- Bathing inspiration from Alcest and My Bloody Valentine, MØL turn it into crushing, epic, expansive shoegaze with a hiss and cry. There’s something stunning and hopeful that lies in the blackened soundscapes of MØL and it’s terrifying that they can create something like that.
Daughters- There aren’t many bands at ArcTanGent (…or anywhere this year) that will reach the dark depths of hell that Daughters do in their music. It’s noisey and industrial, bleak and peak, and although I haven’t seen Daughters before, I’m looking forward to seeing how they conjure up something this lumbering live in the darkness of a headline slot on their stage.
A.A. Williams- If you missed it, we reviewed the A.A. Williams at the beginning of the year and that tells you all you need to know about this ethereal beauty of an artist. Here’s a link, tell me you don’t want to hear that live.
Black Peaks (with Jamie Lenman)- Black Peaks are one of the best bands to come out of Britain in the past decade, no question about it. They manage to be unconventional whilst sounding like a plethora of influences (like Tool and Deftones), its heavy and riff ladened but maintains melodicism. Oh yeah and because lead singer Will needs to rest (Get well soon bud!!), Jamie Lenman is stepping in for vocal duties which is sure to be a very special show.
Slow Crush- Friday is all about the young bands and Slow Crush with their shoegazy 90s indie sounding gloom are gonna remind you why this is. Plainly, this band are an absolute delight to listen to live, even if you’re not in to all things post, Slow Crush have enough pop and instantaneousness to sweep you along.
Toska- Now you’re not going to have to search far for a band of great musicians at ArcTanGent, but despite this, Toska still manage to stand out one of the best, most exciting prog-rock bands at the festival. Like most of the bands I’ve listed, they’re young and in the infancy of their career, but they’ve already showed just how technically excellent they are as they make metallic progressive music with pinpoint accuracy and experimentation.
The St Pierre Snake Invasion- These won we over at 2000 Trees this year as I watched them command an audience like puppets as they smashed through a garage rock, punk set full of strut, anger and importantly, fun. Although there’s fun to be had in listening to post rock, it’s nice to break everything up with the St Pierre Snake Invasion.
Secret Band- On a day that features the likes of Car Bomb, Cult of Luna and Caspian, it feels cheeky to add a secret set into my ‘must see’ list but I have ultimate faith in ArcTanGent to pull something properly exciting out. Let’s just hope that it actually stays secret.
Employed To Serve- If any British hardcore band is going to pull a Code Orange and break out of the underground, it’s got to be these right? I think Employed to Serve have started to realise it to judging by their new album that retains everything heavy and brilliant about them, but throws on an extra layer of catchiness. This may sound like a calculated move but it certainly doesn’t feel like one when listening to new material, ETS deserve to be massive, and they snarl live like they know this.
Meshuggah- We go from a band that wouldn’t exist without Meshuggah, to the behemoths themselves. All these years into their career and they haven’t dropped an ounce of heaviness, maintaining odd time signatures and a thunder to their sound. If you don’t know Meshuggah but like anyone from Gojira to Mastodon to Animals As Leaders, make sure you see them close the festival. And if you already know Meshuggah, then there’s nobody else you’d be seeing anyway!
It’s not too late to get your ArcTanGent tickets! The festival starts on the 15th August, it’s priced well, the environment is lovely and overall it’s just a great place to be. Get your tickets here and listen to the playlist we put together full of bands playing ArcTanGent that we love.