Festival Preview: ArcTanGent 2022

ArcTanGent is due to take place from the 17th-20th August on Fernhill Farm outside of Bristol. It has been running since 2013, building a solid reputation in the progressive metal world and winning awards along the way. It could be approaching a decade but we all know Covid-19 pretty much fucked the world for several years, so after a three-year hiatus and a couple of bouts of false hope ArcTanGent is finally returning with its finest line-up so far. With a stupidly diverse roster of bands from the great four corners of the earth, there really is something for everyone. From Perturbator‘s synth-wave, to the melodic prog/death metal of headliners Opeth, Tesseract‘s techy progressive style and the lighter indie rock offerings. While we naively but ambitiously hope to catch as much as possible, these are the ones we are most excited for and intrigued by. 

A Prog Odyssey

Scotland’s criminally underrated Dvne take the audience on a dynamic journey that draws from the likes of Mastodon alongside progressive and psychedelic influences that are beautifully emotive and brutally crushing. Playing the third time slot on the Main Stage on Thursday, their set is an early one! You’ve been warned. We are anxiously still crossing our fingers that logistics will allow us to be there.

Shoegaze Showdown

Thursday is packed full of greats and unsurprisingly there are many cruel clashes. The most painful, though, is between the equally stunning blackened shoegaze French duo Alcest (Yokhai) and UK post-metal outfit Bossk (Bixler) We haven’t quite decided yet so heres a taster of them both.

Blackened Experimentations

Imperial Triumphant (Thursday, Bixler) fuse filthy black metal with jazz to portray the ‘Vile Luxury’ of their hometown. Adorned in golden masks and regalia and with a merciless, punishing sound, they are quite the spectacle. Similar to this sinister group are Finland’s blackened avant-garde Oranssi Pazuzu (Main Stage, Friday) are just as experimental but in a more psychedelic sense, they describe themselves as “a psychic storm that goes unexpectedly wild and colourful.”

Belgian Blues

For many (us included) Amenra from Belgium are likely to be the favourite of the weekend. Having just released their seventh album De Doorn which broke from their Mass line-up they seem to be on a new path, embracing Flemish culture. To witness them is to be part of a cathartic cleansing ceremony as they contrast sonic waves of crushing sludge with heartbreakingly delicate and forlorn vocals inspired by pain, loss and depression. If you have the stomach for an emotional rollercoaster that will pummel your ears and your soul they are not to be missed. Thursday, Main Stage – be there.

Doomy Delights

With a musical career spanning over twenty years, Swedes Cult of Luna have been slowly but steadily growing in popularity, their latest release The Long Road North is quite possibly their most successful so far but there are so many greats in their back catalogue that it’s hard to subjectively pinpoint a favourite. Whatever they play from their expansive discography when they headline the Main Stage on the first day it’s bound to be epic, so you can decide for yourself!

More Jazz Please

The mighty and mesmerising Five The Hierophant from London are another band on the roster who love experimenting, this time with a poignant mix of jazz and psychedelic black metal. Expect monolithic riffs, sultry sax and doomy drone. Not a bad way to wake on Friday morning, catch them on the Main Stage.

Who needs vocals?

Falling under genres of the same ilk, instrumental bands like America’s Caspian and Japan’s Mono conjure ever-evolving post-rock with cinematic crescendos and vast soaring soundscapes of emotional and yet hard-hitting compositions often backed up by orchestral arrangements. Mono have even been touted as “One of the best live bands in existence.” Catch them on Friday at the Main Stage.

Black Metal Blasphemy

Initially a one-man project from Manuel Gagneux, Zeal & Ardor (Friday, Yokhai) became an internet phenomenon through their unholy concoction of black metal, blues and call-and-response chain gang songs, later evolving into fully-fledged band with a killer live show that has earned deserved acclaim.

Instrumental Wizardry

The prolific Jo Quail is set to entrance the Main Stage on Saturday with her visceral and evocative cello playing, having collaborated with a growing number of musicians, some of who are also present at ArcTanGent. Who knows, they may be joining her!

Unparalleled Balladry

The ubiquitous Emma Ruth Rundle (Saturday, Yokhai) has a unique way of captivating and silencing an audience with music so intimate you could hear a pin drop and vocals which feel so vulnerable that it’s almost uncomfortable to hear them. Just as poignantly dark and quietly heavy is gothic UK counterpart AA Williams (Thursday, Main Stage), who contrasts subtly with crushing riffs.


There’s few out there who can manage to be on a par with Deftones but amazingly London’s Ithaca (Saturday, Bixler) do just that. Their latest release They Fear Us is absolutely unstoppable, peerless post-hardcore that has seen them shooting to the top of nigh-on everyone’s favourite for AOTY. We’re also massive fans.

Another Conundrum

The choice may be between two vastly different bands but it’s a shame that folks will have to choose between noise rock duo Lightning Bolt (Saturday, Yokhai) and doomsters gone soft Pallbearer (Saturday, Bixler). Personally, we are opting to see what might be the most insane set of the weekend from the former. We can’t wait to see this relentlessly creative and unhinged two-piece who, according to their own press release, “redefined what it meant to be DIY.”

New Blood or Old Faves?

Because they really are just magnificent Opeth (Saturday, Main Stage) may well win out over Pupil Slicer (Saturday, PX3), but the latter totally deserve a shout out for their obliterating mathy and dynamic as fuck grindcore. Pupil Slicer will be followed by the ethereal and alluring beauty of Her Name is Calla too, so the PX3 stage is not to be sniffed at.

Honourable Mentions

Because we just don’t know when to stop, these bands also deserve a mention: Godflesh (obviously), The Road, Elephant Tree, Tuskar, Garganjua, Bruit and Pijn. There are fuck tons more to see at this stellar event and we especially cannot wait to report back on the great discoveries. See you at the front!

Words: Abi Coulson

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