|Event:||ArcTanGent Festival 2022|
ArcTanGent Festival, Fernhill Farm, England, 17-20 August 2022
I think it’s safe to say that festivals are well and truly back post-Covid; this year, we’ve already featured articles reporting on 2022 editions of Roadburn, Hellfest and Bloodstock. However, the one that I had been waiting to return to for over 2 years was ArcTanGent festival, a small/mid-scale festival located near Bristol, UK, with a usual capacity of around 5,000 (although it may have been closer to 10,000 this year). After having a blast at the 2019 edition, I bought my ticket early doors for the 2020 version, particularly given how promising the first band announcement was…
Of course, ArcTanGent festival didn’t happen in 2020, nor did it happen in 2021. Still, a decent number of the originally announced bands remained by the time the 2022 roster was being assembled, and come early 2022, it looked like the organisers were on schedule to book one of the all-time greatest festival line-ups:
Now, as is perhaps to be expected, not every band on that poster turned up to southwest England last month; notable absences included Enslaved (a very late withdrawal), Agent Fresco, The Locust (an inevitability following the passing of drummer Gabe Serbian in April), Car Bomb, Oathbreaker (a particularly painful cancellation for most of my mates attending the festival), Bell Witch, The Fall Of Troy, Hail The Sun, Earthtone9 (who went on an immediate hiatus less than a month before the start of the festival)… the list goes on as I look again at that poster; a pretty spectacular day festival could have been formed purely from the cancellations. Nevertheless, worthy replacements were added instead, and the remaining talent was more than sufficient to guarantee an extraordinary weekend. Finally, the fabled third headliner to sit alongside Opeth and Cult Of Luna never came to fruition (many expected it would be The Mars Volta, a known favourite of the organisers, but it seems that their hiatus ended just a tad too late), meaning that TesseracT were elevated to the Friday headline slot.
Fresh off my Saturday visit to Bloodstock, I (along with a sizeable group of others, the largest cohort I’ve festival’d with) rocked up to Fernhill Farm giddy with anticipation on Thursday morning (there were some bands playing on the Wednesday evening, but I neither had access to the warm-up day nor knew any of the bands playing on said day). The temperatures, in stark contrast to the blazing sun that punished attendees of Bloodstock, were in a very manageable mid-20s range across the duration of the festival, making it far easier to divert all attention towards the music, much of which demanded undivided attention.
Table Of Contents
In contrast to 3 years ago, when I had travelled to ArcTanGent using the festival-organized coach from London that arrived after 3 bands had already finished their sets, I was primed to catch the first band of the day. ArcTanGent has the genius strategy of placing all stages under tent cover, which was desperately needed during the monsoon conditions of 2019’s Friday, but also works nicely as sun protection.
The Arc stage, which served as the main stage
Due to a recently acquired glitch with my phone’s storage that eagerly deletes photos, most of my Thursday pictures were lost to time, just in case the absence of any photos for the first few bands below compared to the rest of the article was puzzling.
Bonnacons Of Doom 11:00-11:30, Arc Stage
Given the honour of the first main stage slot of the festival were northern psych-rockers Bonnacons Of Doom, who drew attention principally for their costumes; the three stringed instrumentalists were wearing metallic discs as masks, while the remaining members took to the stage with vaguely synchronized robed outfits. The actual music was fine for the opening slot, doomy psychedelic rock with a decent enough production, but it was a set that has been buried beneath a multitude of later sets in my memories of the festival.
Fes 11:35-12:05, Bixler Stage
This year’s ArcTanGent was perhaps the most metal-heavy edition yet; in its original iteration, the festival was predominantly oriented towards post-rock and math rock. One of the relatively small number of straight math rock bands in 2022 were Fes, a 3-piece math pop/rock band with all the indie vocals and dainty technical guitar noodling that one would expect for the genre. Without particularly deviating from the norm, Fes delivered some pleasant early entertainment, and rounded things off by lobbing a bunch of fez hats into the crowd.
Pijn 12:10-12:40, Arc Stage
It had been a few years since I’d seen Pijn, and evidently my memory of the band had not endured as strong as I felt it had when I saw them at ArcTanGent. The group’s brand of post-rock/post-metal was more conventional that I remembered it being, and also less vocal-oriented; while there were some cleans or occasional harsh vocals, their set was mostly instrumental, with only the use of the violin standing out as a particularly notable feature. Pijn were unextraordinary, but were nevertheless enjoyable.
Dvne 13:20-13:55, Arc Stage
Now this is where the fun truly begins. This was actually the fourth time within 10 months that I had seen Dvne live; this performance was separated from their appearance at Damnation Festival 2021 by supporting slots on tours with Bossk and High On Fire. The four songs that they performed here were present in each of the other three setlists; however, when a band sounds this fantastic live, that becomes irrelevant. It also helps that those four songs (“Towers”, “Sì-XIV”, “Omega Severer” and “Satuya”) are basically their four best songs, and combined form a fantastic 40 minutes of music. The sound was, as with the other performances of theirs, not entirely optimal, but the keyboards were at least easily audible at the right moments in “Towers”, and the riffs hit as hard as one would hope a Dvne riff to.
Blodet 14:00-14:30, Yohkai Stage
Dvne were followed by a couple of hours with no obvious must-sees before an extraordinary sequence of bands that fell firmly into that category round off Thursday. During this lull, I caught a few songs from Sweden’s Blodet, a post-rock band that formed nearly a decade ago and have thus far mustered up less than an hour of studio material, so they clearly are a patient bunch. That patience came through in their music, during which calm soundscapes wound gradually morph into something a tad more sinister; the accompanying vocals don’t entirely click with the music for me, but are at least delivered well.
Ogives Big Band 15:25-16:00, Bixler Stage
A band that I saw back in 2019 and had pretty much forgotten until I needed something to watch during this part of the afternoon, Ogives Big Band were joined on the 2019 bill by Ogives, a related band of a somewhat ambient persuasion. Ogives Big Band are described on the shared Bandcamp page for the two groups with the following sentiment: no drones, just riffs. The Big Band are a completely different beast to the bog standard version, instead playing high-energy, jagged, psychedelic math/noise rock with plenty of energy, as well as some peculiar stage costumes (shoutout to the guitarist in tennis whites who guested on the last song to add a whole extra level of heaviness to the end of their set). These guys were a blast, and of all the bands I saw here that weren’t already locked into my schedule before I even arrived, Ogives Big Band were perhaps the one I was most glad I opted to partake in.
Cryptic Shift 16:05-16:50, PX3 Stage
When I saw Cryptic Shift at Damnation, they opened with the 26-minute opening song from their debut album, “Moonbelt Immolator”, which pretty much took up their entire set. This time, they had a bit more time to play with, so I assume this song also made an appearance, but I only caught a portion this time around; just as at Damnation, the sound mix was not optimal in terms of picking up on those subtle details within their technical progressive death metal sound, and that muddiness inspired me to leave early and get a good slot of Intronaut.
Intronaut 16:55-17:40, Yohkai Stage
Admittedly, most of my eagerly awaited bands at the festival were ones I had already seen; Intronaut was one of the few that I would be witnessing for the first time. It must be said that this may not be the greatest benchmark to judge them live by, as the sound, particularly early on, was pretty muddy; one particularly heavy song introduction struggled to shine through that sonic blur. On top of that, the singing was not as on point as one might have hoped for. Nevertheless, the technicality was impressive throughout, and when the sound mix cleaned up enough to really get stuck into appreciating the nasty riffs and lush cleaner guitars, they were a pleasure to nod along to. Additionally, as flawed as the sound was here, I was informed that Imperial Triumphant, who formed the other half of perhaps the most painful clash of this year’s festival, suffered even worse, so I was left very satisfied with my decision.
Perturbator 17:45-18:35, Arc Stage
Late on Thursday seems to be the synthwave slot at ArcTanGent, based on n=2; 2019 saw Carpenter Brut dazzle with his audiovisual performance, while his compatriot Perturbator took to the stage this time around. With a live drummer, James Kent dabbled with guitar alongside his electronic responsibilities during the set, and the end result was a suitably heavy sound that served the music nicely. The set drew most frequently from Lustful Sacraments, but the likes of “Neo Tokyo” and “She Moves Like A Knife” were welcome features. Perturbator was a lot of fun, and hopefully future editions will continue with the synthwave sets.
Bossk 18:40-19:30, Bixler Stage
Bossk, the band that you can find at any alternative festival in the UK. One of my friends bumped into one of the organizers of ArcTanGent and thanked him for booking Bossk, to which said organizer replied saying that he would invite them every year if he could. As the band were also at the last edition of the festival in 2019, this is very believable, but it’s also justified; Bossk are a great live band (a good enough one for me to feel comfortable declining the opportunity to see Alcest instead), one who offer some nice heavy riffing (I hadn’t appreciated before this performance how stoner-y the group can get at times), but also some lush quieter moments, with songs from the early EPs still making appearances, even if the bulk of the set drew from full-lengths Audio Noir and Migration. A special treat was a presumably rare live appearance for “Menhir” from the latter record, with Cult Of Luna’s Johannes Persson present at the venue to perform his vocals on this track (unfortunately, although Palm Reader were playing the following evening, Josh McKeown didn’t appear here to do the same with “HTV-3”).
Amenra 19:35-20:25, Arc Stage
It’s Amenra live; you know it’s going to be epic. The band has a song formula that they stick to reliably - an intensely loud introduction, a prolonged muted midsection and then some more fiercely powerful riffs again. The sound under the tent allowed those loud moments to truly crush; the quiet parts were perhaps a tad too quiet, as the mutterings of crowds at the back of/outside the tent could be heard, which was a tad distracting. I found the band to be just as thrilling to listen to as expected, and this was a first opportunity for me to hear some De Doorn material live, although unfortunately “Ogentroost” was not on the agenda. I can’t complain though; this was the first time that I got to see “A Solitary Reign” in the flesh, and it more than met my immense expectations.
Cult Of Luna 21:30-23:00, Arc Stage
In the gap after Amenra, I could have popped over to see Maybeshewill, and given how decent I found their most recent record to be, I was tempted. However, I was starting to get a bit tired, and wanted to both get a good spot and rest my legs a bit before the night’s headliner, Cult Of Luna, emerged. When they did, the sound continued to have some niggles; the drums during opener “Cold Burn” were overbearingly loud, undermining the other instruments a bit. Thankfully, this didn’t persist throughout, which meant that an absolutely stellar setlist subsequently featuring “Nightwalkers”, “I: The Weapon”, “Ghost Trail”, “In Awe Of”, “The Silent Man” and “Blood Upon Stone” (I was grateful for only 2 songs from The Long Road North, and perhaps the two best at that) could sound just as great as they should. Cult Of Luna are a peerless live band, and this set, while not my favourite ever of theirs (2014 and 2019 remain tough to best), made for a brilliant end to what was an absolutely banging first day of music.
ArcTanGent run a silent disco each night of the festival; while I would partake on the following days, I deemed it best to hit the sack early and regain my strength after a long old day 1.
Five The Hierophant 11:00-11:30, Arc Stage
A band that benefitted from the darkness afforded by a main stage placed under tent cover, the ritualistic, psychedelic nature of their stage show would have lost some of its aura in the roaring sunlight. Instead, the droning, groovy, sax-heavy psychedelia of Five The Hierophant worked just as well here as it did when the band played Roadburn earlier in the year, meaning that Friday started the strongest of all the days at the festival.
Hippotraktor 12:10-12:40, Arc Stage
I named a lot of bands that pulled out of ArcTanGent 2022 early in this article, but I left out arguably the most painful absence: Psychonaut. One of my most anticipated features at the time of their announcement, I was gutted to find out that they would not be appearing. I assumed that their withdrawal would also mean the absence of Mechelen brethren Hippotraktor, particularly since both bands share a member in vocalist Stefan De Graef. Mercifully, this was not to be the case, as De Graef and co rocked up and smashed out a crunchy 30 minutes of djenty prog/post-metal, featuring several of the standout songs from last year’s debut record Meridian. With a blistering drum sound and generally one of the most beneficial mixes of the festival, the Belgians made a strong impression here.
Still 12:45-13:15, Bixler Stage
While Hippotraktor’s compatriots Oathbreaker did not ultimately appear at ATG, a band that I compared to Oathbreaker when reviewing their debut did; Still’s combination of black metal, hardcore and post-metal impressed on album, and while it didn’t match up to the standard set by Hippotraktor, their live show continued the very strong opening to day 2.
Møl 13:20-13:55, Arc Stage
The first time I attended ArcTanGent in 2015, I had to miss headliner Deafheaven’s performance due to a last-minute rescheduling of Cult Of Luna. This time, there was no Deafheaven, but Møl sound close enough that it doesn’t really matter. The Danes were clearly enjoying themselves as they got stuck into several cuts from last year’s Diorama; the obvious standout song on that record in my opinion was “Serf”, and it was my personal highlight of this set as well, its immediately memorable melancholic hooks offering a nice contrast to the standard blackgaze fare the band otherwise serfed up.
Covet 14:35-15:20, Arc Stage
The math rock highlight of both 2019 and 2022, Covet’s appeal rests in the virtuosic guitar skills of Yvette Young, so much so that the apparent absence of the band’s bassist barely hindered Covet here. I’m not sure if they used a backing track or not, but there were definitely only 2 people on stage for most of the set, with only a saxophone cameo in one song briefly changing the equation. For the rest of the set, Young and drummer Forrest Rice ploughed onwards with a sumptuous display of delicate guitar intricacy and percussive prowess that offered a serene change of pace from the intensity of the bands preceding them.
Oranssi Pazuzu 16:05-16:50, Arc Stage
All the best black metal bands bring a trombone on stage, or at least one of the best ones does. Oranssi Pazuzu, fresh from an exhilarating tour in Spring with Deafkids and Sturle Dagsland, once again brought their A-game, bewitching listeners with their psychedelic, avant-garde maelstroms of sound. Once again, “Kuulen Ääniä Maan Alta” and its amazing synthwork proved to be the highlight of the show; one can only hope that Mestarin Kynsi’s eventual successor features a similarly enchanting composition.
Bruit ≤ 16:55-17:40, Bixler Stage
As much as a number of bands at ArcTanGent struggled with the sound mix, the vast majority of them made do with suboptimal conditions and started on time. Not so Bruit ≤, who flew past their scheduled start time with no hint of starting. The increasingly impatient crowd got to hear multiple false starts of their opening track as they tried to balance the sound coming out of their monitors (with each of these playthroughs, the sound coming to the audience was pretty excellent, so it surely must’ve been a monitor issue), until finally, 25 minutes after their scheduled start, they actually began their set. The thing is, once they had started, it sounded pretty great; stirring cinematic post-rock with soulful strings came together quite delightfully. However, by this point, it was not long until another post-rock band started on the neighbouring stage, and as such this was an unfortunately brief dalliance with the French group. From my perspective, as much as I can understand the frustration with not having ideal conditions, at some point surely you’ve just got to accept things as they are and start playing, and I’m pretty sure this set could have started 15 minutes earlier without any notable effect on the sound or performance.
Caspian 17:45-18:35, Arc Stage
Thankfully, Caspian offered no delays such as those encountered just beforehand on the neighbouring stage. Instead, they jumped right into a powerful display of engrossing crescendocore post-rock featuring songs spanning their career to date. I don’t have the strongest memory of this set, but I do remember being pretty engrossed throughout.
Rivers Of Nihil 18:40-19:30, Bixler Stage
It’s remarkable how quickly things can change; not long after Bruit ≤ had laboured so much with the sound on Bixler stage, the very next band on the same stage had no such issues; Rivers Of Nihil destroyed the audience with a bludgeoning mix that rendered physical all the crushing intensity of their dense material. Kicking off with “The Silent Life”, the set featured mostly a mix of songs from Where Owls Know My Name and The Work; I could have done with fewer from the latter, but 3 songs were to be expected, and there were enough bangers from Where Owls… to balance them out, even if I would have loved to hear “Hollow” or “Death Is Real” live. One of the highlights of Friday, Rivers Of Nihil brought brutality in the middle of an otherwise tranquil period of the day.
Mono 19:35-20:25, Arc Stage
One of my few regrets from this year’s festival was the amount of time I spent queuing for food before the final two sets of the day, and the amount of Mono’s set that I subsequently missed. I could still hear their signature post-rock display in the background, but I only managed to catch about half of it in a position where I could truly focus on it, and what I did hear was highly impressive, as to be expected.
Scalping 20:30-21:25, Bixler Stage
Now this was an unexpected treat. Although I’d obtained some enjoyment from Scalping’s debut album Void earlier this year, I hadn’t been so taken by it that I would have caught them if I hadn’t already seen Zeal & Ardor half a dozen times in the past few years. Well, my Z&A burnout paid dividends, as Scalping played a far more techno-oriented set than I had expected, and the mixture of rave-ready music played with live instruments resulted in a near-hour of pumped-up bliss. This was a blast from start to end, and left me so buzzed by the end that I assumed it would be the highlight of the day. How wrong I was.
TesseracT 21:30-23:00, Arc Stage
As much as I am a djent fan, I’ve never been that on board with TesseracT; I love the “Of Matter” trilogy from Altered State, but outside of that I rarely visit their music, and the multiple occasions I’d previously caught them live had left me underwhelmed. Still, if there was ever a time for them to make a case for themselves, a 90-minute headline set was it, and to say that TesseracT made the most of this occasion would be a gross understatement. They certainly played the right card to get me immediately on board by opening with the “Of Matter” trilogy, but they followed it up with a huge-sounding, dazzling display that covered the breadth of their discography. The tent provided a great backdrop for their exuberant light show, and god damn did they sound stellar; the heavy riffs were so punchy and groovy. The thing is, even though I had an absolute blast watching this set, it’s not necessarily converted me or overcome my previous concerns; the main point that’s often held me back from truly clicking with the group is the meandering, directionless nature of many of their vocal parts, and I did still feel like the vocal melodies were unsatisfying. It just didn’t matter in this instance, because the actual sound of Dan Tompkins’ vocals were hugely impressive, and the rest of the band sounded immense. Probably the surprise of the festival, TesseracT left not only me, but most of the group I attended with, completely blown away; what a set this was.
Seims 11:00-11:30, Arc Stage
Fresh from a first dalliance with the silent disco, I approached the final day with a growing sense of gloom over the inevitable conclusion of this year’s edition. Thankfully, there were over a dozen sets of reliably good quality separating myself from that tragic event. First of these were Seims, the mathy post-rock troupe that travelled all the way from Australia solely to perform at ATG, and who were granted a second set that I missed in gratitude. The set that I did catch was decent enough, with “Elegance Over Confidence” sounding as good live as it had on record when I first encountered the group last year, but the cover of Blur’s “Song 2” was a bit random, and in general this was an understated opening to the final day.
Garganjua 11:30-12:00, Bixler Stage
I rather enjoyed Garganjua’s 2020 album Toward The Sun, as well as the multiple songs from it that I heard them play the following year at Bloodstock. In contrast, I was a tad underwhelmed by Garganjua at ArcTanGent; a set that seemingly mainly featured either new material or older cuts, as I didn’t recognize much of it, brought a lot of loudness, but I felt it lacked some of the atmosphere and tension that songs such as “Light Bearer” are capable of offering. Ultimately, this set came and went without doing too much for me.
Ithaca 12:30-13:00, Bixler Stage
I was planning to catch a bit of Ithaca, as I’d enjoyed their new release They Fear Us. It seems a lot of people had a similar idea, as the Bixler stage tent was absolutely rammed by the time I reached it, meaning I could only catch glimpses of the band from the outside. They sounded strong enough to justify the attention, but I left early to get a better view of a different band.
Kokomo 13:00-13:30, Arc Stage
In my head, I thought I knew who Kokomo were, but looking back afterwards I realized I had them confused with Nocebo. However, I have actually heard Kokomo and their Monochrome Noise Love album before, and their strain of post-rock came across well under the main stage. The main challenge they had was following esteemed post-rock acts such as Caspian and Mono from the previous day, and in comparison their own efforts were a bit too conventional to be particularly memorable, but it did the job of filling half an hour nicely.
Sergeant Thunderhoof 13:35-14:10, Bixler Stage
I’d been in two minds about seeing Sergeant Thunderhoof after reviewing This Sceptred Veil earlier in the year; as much as I’d enjoyed the mellowness of their longer tracks, I was less taken with their more straightforward rockers. As it was, what I caught of the band here didn’t really strike me as either; it was a pleasant stoner rock/metal sound, but not impressive enough of one to keep me listening for more than a few minutes before I claimed a good spot for Saturday’s early highlight.
Conjurer 14:15-15:00, Arc Stage
By now, I have a good idea of what’s going to come in a Conjurer set; there’s going to be some grotesque riffs, Dan Nightingale is going to yell without a microphone during the pre-chorus of “Hollow” (see below), and bassist Conor Marshall will windmill on stage before getting in the pit and crowdsurfing during the last song (also see below). And yet I make sure to catch them whenever I can, and have done since I first caught them in 2019. Why? Because they’re a fucking sick live band, basically. As much as I get a sense of hometown pride at their rising status (they were in serious contention for ‘most band t-shirts worn by attendees’ award), it’s the quality of their bruising, uncompromising, hard-to-categorize metal that explains why their live shows are so good. They’ve now got a new album, so they were able to spice up their setlist, although I wouldn’t have minded one of the softer songs, like “Basilisk” or “All You Will Remember”; instead, the vicious “Rot” and “Suffer Alone” slipped in alongside old favourites like “Choke”, “Hollow” and “Retch” for what was possibly the strongest performance of the festival’s final day.
Frontierer 15:05-15:40, Yohkai Stage
With Car Bomb dropping out, Frontierer had no competition on the ‘chaotic cacophony of ballistic noise’ front, and what I caught of their set sounded as frenzied as is to be expected. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of their style, and this was not a conversion experience, but I could hear some of the appeal lurking in the music.
Devil Sold His Soul 15:45-16:30, Arc Stage
Following Conjurer on the main stage were a far softer band, with Devil Sold His Soul’s post-leaning post-hardcore bringing the emo factor. With this the third occasion I’ve seen the band within the past 12 months, it’s probably more times than I really need considering my enjoyment of them, but a set that drew exclusively from last year’s comeback record Loss nevertheless featured some personal highlights in “Burdened” and the ever-stirring “Signal Fire”, while “The Narcissist” featured on-stage cameos from the Ithaca and Frontierer vocalists (the latter of whom must have shot over sharpish after his own band’s set finished).
The Armed 17:20-18:10, Arc Stage
After Devil Sold His Soul, I did catch a couple of songs from Elephant Tree, but I would be lying if I said I could remember a second of it. The next band that I can remember are The Armed, whose chaotic stage presence lived up to previous descriptions of it I had heard. I will say that I expected the members to be a lot more camouflaged than they were, given the supposed anonymous status of their membership; it appears they employ other forms of misdirection to maintain their secrecy. The fully visible members drew primarily from recent record Ultrapop for their manic set, one that was rather good fun, although I must deduct several points for the idiot guitarist that chucked his guitar into the crowd at the end, thankfully not injuring anyone from what I heard.
Pallbearer 18:15-19:05, Bixler Stage
Pallbearer were the kind of band that I encounter at most festivals: a band that I’m not particularly into, but that I would have interest in catching during some downtime. At this particular festival, the chronic lack of downtime between bands I actively wanted to see meant most similar acts were overlooked, but I did catch some of Pallbearer in a brief lull before the evening rush. What I did hear of their doom was suitably gloomy, with the sound people getting it right for this one; the riffs carried all the weight one would have hoped for from a doom act.
Wheel 19:10-20:00, PX3 Stage
Everyone’s favourite Tool tribute band began to step out of said obvious influence’s shadow on sophomore record Resident Human, and when watching them here, I found myself thinking less of Tool than I maybe expected. Their long-form, dynamic, technically complex compositions sounded pretty great on the smallest of the ‘proper’ stages, and although (like with TesseracT) my misgivings with the band’s vocal arrangements on record persisted in the live setting, the experience was overall a very positive one.
Leprous 20:05-20:55, Yohkai Stage
The last time I’d seen Leprous was immediately in the aftermath of the release of Pitfalls, a record I’ve not exactly hid my displeasure towards, so readers will be unsurprised to learn that said experience left me less excited for this set than I would have previously been. However, last year’s Aphelion went a long way to making back some of the losses incurred by its predecessor in my book, and this cemented that positive trajectory. Going no further back than The Congregation, this setlist was nevertheless very solid, with only the maudlin of “Below” slightly damping my spirits, while the likes of “Nighttime Disguise”, “Slave” and “The Sky Is Red” showed just what an absolute class act these guys are live, from Einar’s immense vocals to the band’s jawdropping rhythmic precision. I can only hope there’s more of Aphelion than Pitfalls in the band’s future, because given how great the group are live, it would be a shame for the setlist to undermine future encounters with them.
Opeth 21:00-23:00 [actually, scratch that, 21:00-22:30], Arc Stage
Last time out, ArcTanGent concluded with Meshuggah, and its return was again concluded with a Swedish band, and a group with the reputation of Opeth really signalled the festival’s ambitions regarding how big a headliner they could bring on board. Given what Cult Of Luna and TesseracT had managed on the previous nights, Opeth had a lot to live up to, and the inclusion of one track from each of the prog rock era records was a slight handicap on that front, but the likes of “Demon Of The Fall”, “The Drapery Falls”, “Ghost Of Perdition” and “Deliverance” showed what a quality band Opeth were and still are live. Unfortunately, however, there was clearly miscommunication at some point along the line, as the group’s proposed 2-hour set finished at the 90-minute mark, leaving myself and many others grumbling as we eventually realized that Mikael and co would not be returning.
And with that, and one more bout with the silent disco, ArcTanGent 2022 came to an end. Even though the journey back was beset with a puncture and subsequently a prolonged and awkward return journey home, my memories of this festival are incredibly positive. Although I’ve been to festivals with days overloaded with quality bands (the Sunday of Hellfest 2018 immediately comes to mind), I’ve never been to a festival with such consistency and regularity with which one could see great bands knocking it out of the park. Additionally, the compact arrangement of the arena and campsite makes it a very user-friendly experience. Aside from some sound issues, it’s hard to find much negative to say, while listing the positives would add a huge block of text to the end of an already excessively long article, so I’ll finish off by saying: if you’re ever considering making the trip to this festival, I cannot endorse it highly enough. Unless the organizers really drop the ball, I imagine I will be there next year, so if you do attend, I may well see you there.
||Written on 07.09.2022 by Hey chief let's talk why not|
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