AUDIO played host to an entire day of technical metal last Friday. The event, entitled Tech Fest Glasgow, showcased a distinct take on the genre that is gaining popularity all over the globe.

Technical metal is already quite distinguished as an individual style, but the term has now also been used to apply to various forms of modern heavy metal.

Friday’s line-up of eight bands, four from Scotland, ranged from hardcore punk to death metal. However, each incorporated tech-metal elements such as detuned guitars, irregular song structures, different time signatures and more atmospheric interludes.

Gary King, vocalist of sub-headliners Nexilva, believes the genre’s progression is encouraging.

“The tech scene is a big family of different bands with different styles and that’s absolutely normal. There’s a calmer vibe at these events. Everyone has a mutual respect for the different bands, although if people want to mosh to our music we’re also happy for them to mosh,” he says.

There were no mosh pits on display, but Nexilva undeniably overwhelmed the crowd with their pummelling sound. A cacophony of blast beats, growls and frantic guitar playing, the Sunderland five-piece were arguably the heaviest band on the bill.

Elsewhere, instrumental Glasgow band Koralis didn’t exactly cause any riots with what was revealed to be their last ever live performance. They didn’t go quietly, confidently running through the majority of their two years of material.

Meanwhile I, The Entity – a local band mostly made up of teenagers – were sonically impressive enough to belie their age. Though not as dynamic or well-honed as some of the other acts on the bill, they attempted to stir the crowd into life with an energetic performance.

The reverential atmosphere wasn’t a feature all night. The Colour Line were a different beast, with their confrontational hardcore antics.

Lead singer, or screamer, Sam Rudderforth managed to climb the bar adjacent to the stage, kiss crowd members, wrestle with amplifiers he’d thrown over the barrier and even lead a rousing refrain of “Jim’ll Fix It.” Were even Black Sabbath so brazen?

Patrick Pinion, of Carcer City, is keen to stress that even though tech fans don’t usually embrace this type of wild behaviour, they’re also “the most open minded”.

Pinion’s band were the most brutish sounding of the night, with generally every song built around a bruising breakdown (or “drop”).

This formula may not particularly lend itself to such an audience, but the band were still rewarded with a huge cheer as they left the stage.

“The tech crowd tend to just nod their heads and enjoy it,” notes Pinion. “As we’ve matured, we’ve grown to realise that a certain type of metal fan prefers to react in that way.”

The same reception was given to bands that are seemingly at opposite ends of the metal spectrum.

Colours to Shame represented the genre at its most spasmodic, charging through different sequences at breakneck speed. Mountains Under Oceans were the opposite. Slow-burning, textural tracks were juxtaposed with occasional polyrhythmic tendencies and syncopations.

Ultimately, the only band that felt like heavy metal “superstars” were Heart of a Coward. As well as inspiring synchronised headbanging, they broke the no mosh pit rule, instructing the crowd to split before running towards each other in a “wall of death”.

Even then though, the headliners still embodied the new school. Coupling passionate vocal refrains with lyrical hooks such as “I will stand by you forever”, they seemed a far cry from the misanthropic metal gods of yesteryear.

Whether the tech scene evokes the same intensity as their more doom-laden counterparts is up for debate, but the sheer diversity on display has to be applauded.