Following on from our highlights of the first two days of ArcTanGent 2019, here’s a quick round up of the best bits of the final day. A full review of ArcTanGent 2019 is to follow soon!
Maybe it’s our bias talking, or more likely it’s the fact that The St Pierre Snake Invasion are one of the best British bands around, but TSPSI play an absolute blinder on the Arc stage. The Bristolian outfit may not have travelled far to get here, but they present themselves as a well travelled and cohesive group ready to begin their stranglehold on the admittedly slowly growing crowd and not let go. As the audience swells during the course of the set, St Pierre come into their own, performing material from recent stunner, Caprice Enchanté with swagger and verve. Damien Sayell remains a frontman extraordinaire, acerbic wit and charm his endless forte, riling up the still sleepy crowd into a frenzy of hardcore. It’s hard to think of a better possible way to start the day.
It is absolute madness that this would be Car Bomb’s first ArcTanGent performance. A band who have made their name with a Meshuggah influence combined with guitars that sound like laser beams, they are about as hard as the festival gets bar Frontierer, and one of the most obviously progressive bands on the bill. What is most astounding about the set, performed in front of a myriad of die hard Fans throwing themselves at the band quite literally, is that it’s the new material that elicits the greatest response. Dissect Yourself in particular reduces the Bixler stage to rubble with its Sci fi soundscapes in amongst a brutal assault of palm muted riffing, and Car Bomb go down as a necessity at the festival. Bring them back again and again and they will deliver every time.
It’s painstaking judging the best set of a festival of the quality of ArcTanGent. One band that get within touching distance of the hallowed top spot is the effervescent, transcendentally beautiful, Cult Of Luna. There are not enough words to truly describe the sensory experience that the band allow we mere mortals to bear witness to. Back-lit and cast in shadows, the band perform a selection of their best material, including the opener and latest single The Silent Man, only going from strength to strength as the set flies by in a flurry of post metal mastery. Genuinely awe inspiring, they are a must see band for every single person interested in music that is emotive, progressive, explorative and at the very least, perfection.
There have been a lot of challenging and powerful bands at the festival thus far. Nothing comes close to the level of violence and attitude of ‘no shits given’ of Employed to Serve. Performing mostly material from latest album, Eternal Forward Motion, the band do not let up in their unrelenting assault. Guitarist and back up vocalist, Sammy Urwin, sees himself in to one of the tents main support beams only to climb it and throw himself back off in speedy fashion, only adding to the chaotic nature of ETS’s anvil heavy attack. Justine Jones has to be one of the coolest frontpeople on the planet, stalking the stage with a cold killer’s stare, instilling the crowd with an icy fear, roaring through the best songs that Slipknot didn’t write. Perhaps the best set of the festival, it was a crowning achievement for a band only going on to bigger and better things.
Good lord. Meshuggah. The undisputed grandfathers of progressive metal, and unfortunately Djent, the band play through a selection of songs from their last few albums. Opener, Pravus sends bodies flying in time with the obscure polyrhythms and things do not calm down from thereon. While it feels a brief set, there is more than enough to sate even the most voracious of appetites for proggy music, with Future Breed Machine being the highlight, of course. Things don’t get much more musically intense and virtuosic than watching the Umeåns play their incredible music, and as Bleed and Demiurge see out the set, the world feels as if its is imploding under the weight of those riffs. Truly a perfect way to end the festival, and the perfect way to silence any naysayers that would dare to undercut Meshuggah prowess.
If you missed our highlights of the other two days, please check them out here: