Eye of Solitude and Marche Funebre
w/ The Day of Locusts and Rong
@ The Black Heart, London UK
29th January, 2014
Review by Caitlin Smith
Photos by Jo Blackened
It’s a fittingly cold night in London as we head to the Black Heart, Camden for a round of some of the finest doom metal Europe has to offer. Teaming up with Infected Brain promotions, both EYE OF SOLITUDE and MARCHE FUNEBRE gear up for the opening night of their first ever UK tour.
Kicking off the night were Rong [2/5]
This band are a bit of a mystery when it comes to introducing them, choosing to keep a very simple description of ‘o_O’ on their facebook page.
It was only half a year ago that this band started playing, and their inexperience was showing that night. Arriving at the gig just as they were supposed to be starting their set had obviously thrown the guys.
Rookie mistakes were a little too common, pulling out both the guitar leads and the microphone at various points in the show.This band did manage to perform where it counts though.
Brimming with energy and enthusiasm, this four-piece seemed to genuinely be enjoying their time onstage.
Rong are a mixture of different metal genres, brushing between death and epic metal, but with an added dose of avant-garde in the mix.
This didn’t translate quite so well from the album to the stage however, with the set sounding like the sound could have done with a serious tightening up. This band could do so much more, but they need to get serious.
The Day of Locusts [4.5/5] have to come in under one of the finest discoveries of the year, and it’s only January!
Taking their name from a novel by Nathaniel West, The Day the Locust dealing with themes of alienation and desperation among odd artist looking to break into Hollywood.
Crawling out of west London, this trio has already shared the stage with some serious talent on the scene, playing shows with Pale Horse and Bast.
Bringing with them what they describe as progressive doom metal committed to making you gurn, the nights performance was already set up to be truly unique.
Despite this promise, there was a disappointing lack of compulsive gurning throughout the set by bother the band and crowd, but the guys proved to be more than entertaining enough without it.
Where most bands tend to fall into one of two categories, with vocals or instrumental, The Day of Locusts seemed to slip seamlessly between the two.
It was real testament to how captivating this band was that I hardly noticed the change. Slipping between songs without a breath to take pause, they churned out riffs in quick succession dripping in groove but mercilessly crushing.
This is a band that won’t be lingering round in the underground for long.
Inspired by the sound of the early 90s and combining that with inspirations including 19th century romantic literature, personal grief and philosophical contemplations, Belgian based Marche Funebre [4.5/5] are certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Having come together in 2007, it’s been a long wait to see these guys play on British soil but 7 years after their initial conception, their time has finally arrived.
Marche Funebre are not a band who rush their music, with a 2 year gap between their initial album release ‘The Drown’ and their latest album ‘Roots of Grief’, released in September.
The care they put into every track though is evident, and while this contains all the usual elements of a death doom project, the passion behind this project spills out of every note.
I can’t say I got really excited listening to their albums, but they immediately proved my ignorance from the first note. This is a band that has serious power live.
Highlight of the set was easily ‘As in Autumn’. Arne Vandenhoeck’s haunting vocals open in a brief melodic moment before falling into a slow death-like dirge.
Returning with vocal accompaniment from lead guitarist Peter Egberghs, their vocals compliment perfectly, resounding over the crushing accompaniment.
The music may not have been complex, but I was captivated from start to finish, a truly stunning performance.
I may have seen London death-doomers Eye of Solitude [5/5] more times than I can count now, but their performance is always the same; truly breathtaking.
It’s been a productive few years for the band, releasing an album a year after their initial debut with The Ghost in 2011.
Headlining the night in the wake of their most recently release Canto III, they didn’t disappoint with the set list, blending a mixture of older favorites in Suffocating Silence and Awoken by Crows, with picks off the new album.
Dressed entirely in black suits, the band have a refined air to their performance.
These are no scruffy death metal kids churning out high-energy riffs, but refined music, crafted so every moment speaks genuine agony.
While it’s true that so much of this is about the music, it’s nice to see a band also taking care of the visual side, after all it is a performance.
Much to the frustration of anyone wielding a camera, they played in almost complete darkness, highlighted by only the smallest specks of light.
Calling this 6-piece a band would almost be an injustice, while individually they are talented, together they bring out a singularly devastating performance.
Pedro’s keys provide an ethereal atmosphere, while Adriano punches through with inhumanly precise blasts from on the drums. Performances are visually emotional for vocalist Daniel Neagoe, who’s impossibly deep and drawn out gutturals sink the listen into pits of despair right from the start.
Perhaps it’s this energy and honesty that make Eye of Solitude both cathartic, but simultaneously truly gut-wrenching live.
Embarking on their first show of the tour, this was a seriously strong opening from both Marche Funebre and Eye of Solitude. Aptly naming their excursions Chants of Grief, the bands tonight certainly lived up to their depressive proclamation.
We leave emotionally battered and bruised, left to suffer the grim march back to our everyday lives.