The Star & Garter, Manchester 13/10/2011
Most of the best experiences I have had at gigs have been surprises, bands that I watched simply out of curiosity not expecting much have often come out and left me floored, Church Of Misery was one of these bands, the first time I saw them in The Star & Garter made me a fan for life. But going into tonight’s line up I knew it was something special. The 3 bands on this tour having some truly great albums and the recently reformed Yob being one of the most consistent bands in doom in terms of producing some amazing music. I knew this simply couldn’t fail to live up to the hype.
First on the bill are local experimental grind four piece Pine Barrens, slightly out of place on this gig. They mix numerous intense sounds from Black Metal to Hardcore. While they display a lot of energy on stage throwing themselves into every note, it is sometimes hard to figure out exactly what is happening, however it is to be expected with the type of music they play often leading the audience forwards into confusion and chaos.
On earlier then most expected are Dark Castle, the duo who have elaborated and improved a great deal their sound on their newest album ‘Surrender To All Life Beyond Form” which most of their set is comprised of. They start off loud utilising ambient tracks to introduce songs. The two don’t say much throughout their set, however they don’t need to. Their brand of sludge is claustrophobic, harsh and dark, it is amazing that the band can get such a huge sound out of just two instruments. It is one of the most devastating performances I have seen. Vocalist Stevie uses both clean and harsh vocals to accompany the apocalyptic sounds on stage. It shows that the band is truly focused on stage as every note is played perfectly. As they finish up the set everyone is left speechless but grinning.
Next on are Kongh, who have a tough act to follow and while they have a good set and are indeed a good band, compared to Dark Castle’s onslaught they seem to be pale in comparison. I remember hearing their second album when it came out and wanting to see the band, however on stage the band seems slightly formless and bland compared to how I remember them on record. Perhaps it is a result of being sandwiched in between two very distinct doom bands, I feel that if Kongh where to play second I would have enjoyed their set a lot more, they just about hold people’s attention but everyone seems to be still reeling from Dark Castle or awaiting the Arrival of Yob.
And when Yob arrive they do it in style, taking the stage at half ten they entertain the audience up until midnight. Opening up with “Quantum Mystic” and remaining crushing throughout. Since most songs are over ten minutes long we are treated to about 6 or 7 songs being pulled from different albums. My memory isn’t the best at most times but I seem to remember a ‘Burning The Altar’ from ‘The Great Cessation’, ‘Ball Of Molten Lead’ from ‘The Illusion Of Motion’ and ‘Prepare The Ground’ from this year’s ‘Atma’ which, along with their Live Album taken from last year’s Roadburn, is what they are supporting on this tour. Yob seem to unite the audience with their outer worldly riffs, filling The Star & Garter to the brim. They are the closest thing you can get to an audio epiphany and I for one are grateful they embarked on this tour.
Scribed by: Drian Nash
Photos by: Lee Edwards