Tucked away beneath the rain swept streets of Manchester, we find ourselves at club Alter-Ego, and the stage for the launch of Incassum’s second album, ‘Rite of Passage’. In support tonight are Lazarus Syndrome and Hanging Doll, both of whom, curfew or otherwise, assist in making this intimate subterranean microcosm of metal into an event of amp-busting proportions.
With the EP ‘Flatline’ to their credit, Lazarus Syndrome open their account, and do well in blending down-tuned riffage, alternating vocal styles, and also subtler elements, into a tight and focused presentation which not only pleases the audience, but primes the ear for more.
Hanging Doll further tighten the grip, and on the back of their recent success with “Sacred and Profane” the band just seem to go from strength to strength. Both sonically and visually stunning, Hanging Doll project in spades and excel in holding your attention. Even within the small confines of the Alter-Ego, the alluring vocals, the core metal riffage and the enigmatic compositions all combine into an undulating wave of symphonic metal energy.
After a brief 20 minute change over Incassum launch into their set, and as soon as Sharleen Kennedy bursts into song you immediately realise there is something special at work here. The intricate musical arrangements, interspersed with Kennedy’s signature death-metal growl, gives Incassum’s music a roller-coaster dynamic as it meanders the darker corners of the psyche on the one hand, and then throttles up in a release of total propulsive energy on the other. In the contrasting pieces the vocals project soulfully, and like a siren song the sultry tones lock you into a hold from which there is no escape. The guitar work is fast, furious and riff laden, and the musicial artistry knows no bounds. As the set develops, Incassum’s music get its hooks deep into your senses, and from tonight’s performance ‘Rite of Passage’ will be one of those albums that will undoubtedly deliver something new each time you return to it. Like the ideas, the vibe, and the emotion it conveys, resistance will be futile.
Collectively, from the tour-de-force of talent on display at the Alter-Ego tonight, there can be no doubt that the northwest metal scene is not just alive and kicking, but is punching far beyond its weight!
Review and Pics by Steve Brinkman