The UK and Northern Europe are absolutely spoilt for choice this year for festivals, not least because we keep getting new ones pop up left right and center. Radar Festival is one of the new ones, boasting a fine selection of progressive and tech-metal that would make many music fans worldwide swoon. With stiff competition from incumbents like UK Tech-Fest and Euroblast, the organizers had some serious work to do to bring in a line-up that could tear people away from these beloved pilgrimages for prog fans, and safe to say – they nailed it.
Radar Festival takes place inside, which judging by the forecast for this week – was a bloody good idea. The festival has managed to find an exciting venue in the middle of Guildford town (just outside of London) to host two days of riff-laden metal. The adapted casino they are holding the festival in has two stages, with the line-up perfectly skewed, so no punters miss a single act. I’m excited to see how the sound is at the festival, because of the location, yet based on previous gig experiences in Guildford, I’m expecting great things.
Bands and punters are flooding in from across the globe, and attendees will also get the chance to participate in workshops with band members at the show, making the experience that little bit more special. Afterparties running till late on both nights will give people a chance to let loose, and the food available to punters will mean you don’t really need to leave the venue all day!
Introductions aside, let us get down to the lineup and highlight the bands who might slip under your radar…
We love Loathe because their powerful progressive-metal doesn’t try too hard. Similar to Humanity’s Last Breath, the band simply knock out monstrous tracks with killer riffs. When they do take a break from demolishing your ear drums, the cleans are excellent and don’t conform to any metalcore tropes – a trap so many fall into. Live, the band shred, unleashing waves of groove upon listeners, and have rightly won plaudits from across the UK metal scene.
Polar are a local Guildford band who have gone from strength to strength in the scene, and in their material. They craft anthems that make you want to sing along, before they lift off and crush you with groove. Best way to describe the band? Monuments mixed with Devin Townsend style choruses.
Sümer is a band I really wish I had the opportunity to write about, but unfortunately, the Intronaut-lite band haven’t actually released anything new for 5 years. With the new Tool album around the corner, Sümer will hopefully have some new material to play at Radar that sets them apart. It’d be great to see this promising band get more recognition, because their live show is awesome, and they produce really interesting music.
Headlining the second stage on the Friday is the awe-inspiring Toska; a triage of musicians who created one of the instrumental records of the year in 2018, and who continue to inspire multitudes of artists through their YouTube tutorials and theories. Each member is a gear god in their own field and the end result is albums that sound massive, and live performances that are introspective and crushing at the same time. Fire In The Silos is pay what you want on their Bandcamp – don’t miss out.
Cryptodira are, in my opinion, one of the most exciting bands in the progressive metal scene. Their sound is a chaotic blend of Avante-Garde progressive metal with hardcore elements, setting them apart from their peers. Often the band slow down, with deep, thoughtful pieces that succumb eventually to the roaring tide of their metal, but that contrast is absolutely wholesome. The band have been touring Europe with Rolo Tomassi and are finishing up here. Don’t miss them.
Car Bomb probably don’t need an introduction. However, the absolutely ripping new single they dropped the other day earns them a place on this list. The kings of brutal math metal make an appearance at Radar, as they tour their upcoming album. Try not to get blown away.
Another band who likely need no introduction, yet a band who we think everyone should experience once in their life, at least: Agent Fresco are vying for top spot in the deep, insightful prog-rock category alongside Leprous, and have won plaudits in abundance for their last record Destrier. Lets see if they have anything new to offer us at Radar.
We are stoked for the festival, and we hope anyone going is as well! It’ll be a great warm-up for ArcTanGent later this month, and we’re excited to experience a indoor festival geared towards progressive metal in the UK! Drop us a comment if you’re going and let us know who you are excited to see.
Tickets are still available here, make sure not to miss out!