The love of music, in the purest sense of both the emotion and the form, is about opening your heart and soul to both, and especially opening yourself to new experiences of the art in order to fully appreciate why it lends itself to your undying devotion. This evening was one of those which proved this very point as, with the rain driving up the street outside with the vigour of Sebastian Vettel on the home straight, four bands came together who, while broadly fitting into the same broad mien musically, each delivered unique and different sonic experiences to the impressive number of fans who had braved the elemental furies to display their devotion to the music they love…
Openers Tome play dark drone of epic proportions, with its downtuned doominess sludgier than the downpipe from my cistern after a night on a combination of Magners and Jager Bombs, at the same time creating beautifully swelling soundscapes with a menacing underlying darkness.
I had heard many friends – guys whose musical opinion I respect – raving about Zlatanera after their debut at this same venue a few weeks’ previously, so was looking forward to their set with anticipation – and it was well rewarded as they stormed through a set of hard driving deep-ended classic metal with a groovy edge. “If you like riffs, stick around” invites their front man, and it is certainly worth taking up said invitation, as they deliver the sort of grinding riffs that worm your way into the deepest corners of your metal metabolism, backed up by stunning drumming and thwumping bas lines by a band who obviously – and importantly – are having fun, especially their lead guitarist, who pulls all the tried and tested shapes without looking tacky in doing so.
Previous advertised as headliners (the gig in fact had been scheduled to feature Liverpulian sludge monsters Conan, but they had to pull out after their touring schedule was changed), The Continuous Battle Of Order nevertheless seemed content to take the ‘special guest slot, even joking introducing themselves as “Hi. we are Slomatics’ – a reference to the fact they were using the headliners’ personally branded backline. This where my opening remarks about opening your ears to diversity come into play, as the duo deliver a set of heavy-as-fuck free from intense progressive jazz inspired by guitarist Hornby’s love of the likes of John Coltrane. With its looped and relooped guitar effects, its sound is chaotic but controlled in its anarchic aural assault, as Hornby alternates heavy bottom-ended shredding with complex tapped sequences, with a result that is ferocious and fiercely hypnotic. It initially may may have been an uncomfortable listening experience, especially for the ‘pure metalheads present, but the pair ultimately win the room over with their rewarding set.
Slomatics continue the diversity theme initiated by their predecessors, with the twin downtuned guitar and drums/vocals combination to produced sludge at dankest, layered in the grime that sticks to your boots after walking five miles home in six inches if the inevitable leftovers from our equally inevitable pending winter… Their howling solos are mixed with deeply dark harmonic riffs, with the guitars producing the sort of low end grunt that many bassists would willingly sacrifice their manhood to be able to produce… The trio take the risk of playing totally new material, from their as-yet-untitled new album (due for release in February), but it demonstrates the need for bands and their music for constantly evolve in order to progress – and win new fans, as I’m sure they did, with many of those present quite possibly unfamiliar with the behemoth that is Slomatics before this evening’s piledriver of a performance.