Conan, Opium Lord and Bismuth
@ The Black Heart, London
5th October 2013
Reviewed by Ashlinn Nash
The final day of summer has officially come to an end with the dimming sunset light over the alleyway to the Black Heart in Camden. When entering the pub The first thing noticeable tonight is the sheer number of underground and just signed bands logos on shirts, secondly the large number of equally unknown back and assorted patches.
With the full doom community gathered together with much anticipation in the bubbling atmosphere of the pub itself. When queuing up to enter the tiny venue that has situated some of the most skull crushingly loud gigs of the metal scene, as the talk turns quickly to the sheer loudness and gravity of bands ahead .The line up for the evening had been altered after a sudden announcement causing the London Sludge outfit Slabdragger to pull out of the gig due to band injury.
Bismuth (3.5/5) have been put to the task of warming up the crowd this evening, as the room filled nicely crowd wise the first rings of atmospherically rich feedback warmed up the speakers. The two piece with a huge sound artillery, Consisting of just Joe on drums whose slow droning drum lines are accompanied by the raw unpredictable vocal styles of female vocalist/bassist Tanya. This minimalism of the bands artillery through raw instruments is quickly surpassed by the fluidity of the effects pedals momentum. The band sound like a cross between Yob, sleep and of course tonight’s head liners Conan with Burzum-esque banshee vocals.
Working their way through 35 minutes of a listening endurance test the set finally comes to a dramatic end with the relaying of feedback as the crowd are divided into two feelings, that of being drained and being excited to see what other treasures that the evening has to offer.
Making them a hard as the lo-Fi two piece leave the stage, next up is Opium Lord (3.5/5) who attack the stage with what seems like a army worth of band members behind them in compare. The five piece from Birmingham. Whose musical style is a dynamic blend of foot on the monitor stomping tunes and a very layered musical journey of soaring hardcore vocals from the front man whose approach to stage performance is to getting amongst the crowd.
As the set delves into throngs of scream based anthems that have certainly livened up the night, with the blend of filthy low slung doom and horrifically beautiful vocal styles. Ending the set with tracks from their current EP – “The Calendrical cycle – Prologue : The healer to universal acclaim. The band have proven themselves to have a power packed energetic live persona that is both impressive and head-bangable.
The Crowd bubbling excitement has now hit crucial point with the head liners now joining the stage, Conan [4/5] have brought their blend of bleak, amp testing tones and a strain on mental energy to conjure up the darkened times and burdens that resonate from the feedback. With I their trademark intense sounds-scapes of catastrophic with a disharmonious accompaniment of reverb drenched buzz filled effects.
The bands energy tonight has been Fuelled by frontman Jon Davis whose vocals are both desolate with brief intrusions of well communicated in the distance clean moments. That wrap their way around the back catalogue and give a new experience within the live context of the on album tracks. With the slowing of pace that comes out like snarling sludge against a barrage of rich textures.
The band tonight worked their way through two new songs that are played here exclusively, the faith for the upcoming album was anchored by the sheer gravity of the performance. Conan here tonight have proven that they have a unique musical combination whose take on the genre shows that they are the underground scene’s heaviest band at the moment.