I’m not going to review this EP properly because although it doesn’t contain me as a band member, it does contain fellow contributor Mike as well as my other Poison Dwarf bandmate Phil. They are now part of new band Wort, and play diabolical blackened sludge/doom metal. Completing the line-up is Sanhedrin drummer Sam, who I must say takes my place in this offshoot band and puts in one hell of a shift. Their debut EP ‘Worts N’All!‘ was released recently and I unashamedly can say it rules. Four tracks of face pummelling sludge channelling the usual suspects of Black Sabbath, Bongzilla, Electric Wizard, Dragged Into Sunlight, Grief, Eyehategod and more besides. If I didn’t have obvious bias I’d give it a full review – nonetheless, tracks like ‘KDK12’ and ‘Plumplestiltskib’ absolutely slam with all their misanthropic intensity – I personally love the whole thing and ain’t ashamed to state it right here.
First of all I would like to highlight the predictability of this “review”, which can’t realistically be called a review, because that would imply it was an objective analysis. Attempting to write anything too derogatory about Black Sabbath might be compared to asking a devout Roman catholic to sodomize our good Pope Benedict XVI. This wouldn’t be a good example, because Black Sabbath are the creators, not an implement, secondly, I cannot vouch for the extent of sexual deviancy within the Catholic church.
Due to my poor timing and the journey taking longer than planned, we managed to arrive moments after Funeral Throne finished. Now, with only candles set up around a shrine in the middle of the stage, and droning atmospheric ambience for entertainment, we waited for what seemed like a long time. The ‘scary music’ was unceasingly dribbling out of the PA system, giving a restless and cheap feeling that probably wasn’t what The Devil’s Blood intended. Not to worry, this at least gave me more opportunity to spend over three pounds a pop for cans of lager.
Eventually five very serious looking figures covered in mud, blood and adorned in tight leather pants enter the stage. The frontwoman or ‘priestess’ remains out of sight for the moment, while her brother, the creative and spiritual force behind the band, tightly harmonises and solos with the other two guitarists.
The guitarist closest to me chants to himself whilst staring directly ahead in a way that makes me think he might have seen action in ‘Nam. The Devil’s Blood haven’t ever given the impression that they do this for the love of music. Anyone who’s read up on the band will know that their objective is possibly more sinister and occult; it’s also of much less interest to me. Obviously I can’t speak for all as Ghost’s recent success has shown; there seems to be a lot of people who find it fascinating. Still, The Devil’s Blood were crazy long before Ghost started dressing up as necrotized Klan members and spouting their devil worship. The Devil’s Blood’s explanation of their agenda and belief seems cryptic and long winded, but is basically aimed at instilling rebellious behaviour, and it’s no surprise to me that they ideologically align themselves with the likes of Jon Nodviedt from Dissection, whose beliefs lead him to shoot himself instead of making another fucking album.
The band’s creation of atmosphere is the first thing to be emphasised. Songs seem to be more of a ritual than played track after track. Lengthy build ups lead into a sublime moment where songs such as ‘On the Wings of Gloria’ come in with a spine shattering bass line. This is where The Devil’s Blood’s brilliance, which is their strength of their songs, becomes apparent. The vocalist stands close to the crowd, her arms open wide, beckoning, with wild hair and shrouded in smoke. Her powerful, melodic voice slices through the mix like a razor through flesh. It would be easy for her to over indulge, yet the performance fits the band’s psychedelic rock influenced style perfectly, adding another dynamic that makes The Devil’s Blood special. Another is the bands ambiguity in terms of their musical design, their certainly black metal fans but draw just as much in their style from the likes of Fleetwood Mac amongst an array of trippy 70s rock. I find the band avoids mediocrity and distastefulness completely, even lyrically, on a subject I generally find to be arrogant and stupid. ‘The Yonder Beckons’ was certainly a highlight in the set, with the band at their most imposing, creating a powerful energy to the haunting march of the song, which gives prominence to the bands most powerful weapon which is their musical subtlety.
Unfortunately the electrical atmosphere these moments created did not last, and the band did not attempt to keep it flowing by moving on quickly. Jams inbetween and during songs were far too lengthy; there would come a point where the crowd, nodding along, would expect the start of the next song, and instead were subjected to another five minutes of solo trade-offs between guitarists. I felt sorry for the bassist having to hold onto what shred of a riff they were playing ten minutes ago. Although it would have worked in moderation, there were several point’s when I wanted them to stop fucking about and play a fucking song. It was a shame that these moments had to contrast so much with the great ones, and also with the band’s ability to write songs with none of the bullshit or ego that was displayed live. This, combined with the venues’ consistently bad sound didn’t stop the band from being an impressive, enjoyable experience and I left happy, also I’ll know at what points to go to the bar when I watch them at Hellfest.
The temperature of The Well is lowered as the grim hypnotic riffs flow between rolling drum fills and dark melodies. Ninkharsag have the same trance inducing quality to their music that Burzum have although they don’t follow in the same minimalist vein. They don’t compromise the song for the sake of speed, and the drums often emphasize the groove of a riff giving more weight to the track than endless shred/blast, although there is plenty of that to go around. I felt that the vocals didn’t quite match the power that the rest of the band created but Ninkharsag basically sound how black metal should do, evil as fuck. I was in fact so impressed, the urge to maniacally crab walk around screaming came over me. Unfortunately the ratio of beer to hangover was so far to the latter that by doing this I’d probably have fallen over and died. One black metal lunatic was completely overcome by the performance, he immediately set off out outside and set fire to a pile of leaves. Not quite a church but still.
Colonel Blast bring death metal but not as you’re used to. There’s a lot of shredding and build up riffs to big moments that sound like some sort of post death metal pinnacle, uplifting rather than minor orientated. Amongst these moments there’s moody acoustic dynamics that are eventually savaged by all out death metal, jittering riffs and gruesome vocals delivered by a front man who gesticulated wildly, throwing punches around his unaware band mates, and at several points I feared for the safety of the bassist. There’s often a feeling of moving over several different types atmosphere within one song, all surrounding one moment of sheer power to follow these disjointed parts. Colonel Blast have defined death metal their own way, and it sounds good.
Oblivionized push the boundaries of the term tech death, the speed and ability of the musicians is incomprehensible to me. The complete insanity of what’s going on is probably a little lost in a live show and I won’t pretend that I knew what was going on most of the time, apart from the drums being ridiculously fast. If you like your death metal as intense as possible and have bionic hands, then these guys would be right up your street, or you could combine a CD with strobe lighting and have a useful tool for extracting information from a prisoner of war. I honestly can’t get into what’s happening and the only appropriate action I can think of while listening to Oblivionized, would be to internally combust or lose my mind. The vocalist also adds a strange style of chaos to the noise. Chaos however is what the band are obviously going for and they do achieve it.
The Atrocity Exhibit were up next and they bring on the filth; an unmistakable gravel like tone slaps you in the face and bastardized punk riffs give you that feeling in your gut that only something so brilliantly rotten can achieve. With the same kind of energy that Magrudergrind or Napalm Death can supply, the Atrocity Exhibit make me want to destroy everything in a grind induced frenzy and generally spaz out. The riffs are simplistic nasty, and seldom without massive groove. Obviously dedicated fans of all styles disgusting, the groove sometimes slows up into a sludged out stomp along, while piercing, abrasive screams tap into the feeling perfectly. Amongst the best underground grind bands in the UK, raw as hell and ferocious.
Foetal Juice bludgeon the energetic and appreciative crowd with fantastically sickening death and grind. I however, am sick of talking about the dodgy cunts so that’ll do. (Look at the Cannabis Corpse gig for more on these).
In a welcome change of pace, Wizard’s Beard appear to crush you like some sort of malevolent steam roller, assuming you didn’t have legs and couldn’t escape. The band drops into a disgustingly grim and droning start, each note pulling you further into some kind of sonic nightmare. Screams and shrieks punctuate howling feedback and fill the space between notes. As the tempo increases (not too much) the crowd are drawn in by planet shifting noise. The band are an interesting mix of droning depression and groove laden, schizophrenic blues. The groovier parts have an Iron Monkey type vibe to them, which is even more apparent with the similar all out throat ripping vocal style. While some parts of the set definitely stood out over others, the band has a distinct sound and can be crushingly heavy. One sinister and freakish crowd member of the crowd known as “Professor Big Bulge” described them as “swamp sludge, slow, heavy and powerful”. To be honest, that sums them up.
Hangover defeated, I now faced a new challenge, which was staying upright and functioning with a great deal of beer and some very questionable local chicken inside of me while watching The Afternoon Gentlemen. The realisation that I couldn’t deal with the crowd at this point in time came as I first hit the deck, deciding to retreat towards the back and observe from afar. The Afternoon Gents bring awesomely psychotic violence in the form of music. Shredded vocal chords shout and screech in a constant barrage while relentless snappy punk and grind riffs create a whirlwind of flying bodies at the front of The Well. The bass crunches solo, with fuzz injected twang intermittently preparing you for the next bout of furiosity. The pace doesn’t let up but it doesn’t get boring; it’s kept fresh with stabs of sheer aggression and shredding followed by groove and power that keep the crowd moving.
The band are also pioneers of their self-coined genre ‘Power Joogle Pogger Violence’ which is their well practised art of running whilst playing with the retro toy known as “pogs”, and being angry at the same time.
I always though pirates were about disease, alcoholism and being sodomised but Skull Branded Pirates sound like they know otherwise. Power metal and melodic wizardry forms itself in tales of adventure from the seven seas. Good drinking music and a lot of fun if you’re not a cynical wanker (I am).
The drum kit has been moved from the middle of the stage and now sits amongst a captured audience, who are gathered in a circle focusing intently on two individuals in the centre. From the back of the room you can see no band, and the scene looks like a weird pagan ceremony’s under way, having said that, if I was at some sort of ritual of the earth and universe, I’d want Khudaplaying as well. It must be almost impossible to define this band with a few words and without mind expanding substances but here goes. A great deal of their sound seems to be influenced by post rock, looping, layering and building up to a sound that should be orchestrated by the big bang itself. Post rock however, wouldn’t exactly be a fully accurate description, a great deal of foreign rhythms and styles present themselves, some of which sound Baltic, yet these are still only part of a complex tapestry of sound. Many of the climatic moments do fit the post rock label but there’s no certainty as to how things will go. Psychedelic acoustic twangs ring out in slow spacey moments that build up to die out or explode with energy and percussive power.
‘Kin Hell Fest was a really fucking good day thanks to an awesome selection of bands
At around 9 o’clock in Leeds at the Irish Centre, the stage, which the crowd have been loitering around drinking for a fair while now due to lack of support bands, is invaded by 4 weird looking fuckers. The one with a guitar appears to have a neck-warmer on below a huge fuzz of hair, and an odd throw with multi-coloured horses under a black silk robe of some sort. Next to him are two drum kits which are now occupied, one of the percussionists sporting what looks like half a gimp suit, his fellow stick wielder, the only one that wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. To the right of the kits, more spherical hair nearly makes the stage look like a mirror image.
There’s nothing predictable about the performance, riffs that have the speed of a crippled sloth and the size of a universe suck you into hypnotic daze and the next moment you’l be subjected to a surreal chanting session between Buzz and Jared or a chorus that hooks faster than the finest Peruvian. Old songs such as ‘Lizzy’ are played with new energy and some alterations, and sound a little more like something from the bands newer material. They do lose a little of the raw sludge feel that they had, but gain power, focus and of course quirkyness.
An unexpected twist in this first track takes place when the guitar; strumming instead of the hypnotic prelude quickens, sounding like a Mexican classical guitarist possessed by Jon Nodtviedt and Chuck Schuldiner combined. The track at this point does have a “voice of the soul” feel, with some good fretwork working around the acoustic. I was surprised to learn that the solos on the EP are improvised, they sound like they’ve been thoughtfully written out, and at no point did I think “when will this egotistical wanker shut up?”
Just a quick shout out and a massive thank you to anyone who’s viewed the site lately. Interest in the site spiked overnight when Catharsis PR retweeted Mike’s review of the recent Cannabis Corpse show. We’re really grateful for the extra exposure. It was nice to log in this morning and see the hits it generated.
We’ve excelled over 2,000 unique views for the site since it launched in May. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it’s a big deal for us. Thank you to anyone who’s visited, read the articles, left a comment, submitted anything for reviews, and to anyone who’s put stuff our way so far in general.
Laura’s going to drop any time now, so that break will no doubt be coming soon. I’ll hopefully have some stuff lined up to tide over the lull in activity.
Once again, cheers everyone! Keep visiting We Must Obey, and let us know if you think there’s any improvements you think we could make, or if there’s anything in particular you want to see – hit the Contact tab. And yes, we’ll get round to a logo. Eventually.