Tag Archives: stoner doom metal

Sleep live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012 : A review in pictures

As I had expected from them, United States-based stoner doom legends Sleep took the audiences at Alexandra Palace to another space with their solid compositions, and they chose to perform songs that made the ones watching them for the first time (including me) want to watch them over and over again. Having inhaled a lot of Sleep‘s original material, some where in the middle just before they started off Sonic Titan vocalist Al Cisneros cracked up everyone, although he was damn serious about it, by saying, “If you have a hashish pipe, please light it at this time“. Neither did I have a pipe, nor do I smoke hashish, but none of these stopped me from getting high courtesy of Sleep‘s foggy music that completely engulfed my mind. From my keen observation I can confidently say that one of the main reasons for the success of I’ll Be Your Mirror, 2012 was Sleep‘s presence on the line-up. Amen.

Sleep’s setlist for the night

Dopesmoker (Part I)
Holy Mountain
Dragonaut
Sonic Titan
From Beyond
Dopesmoker (Part II)

Click on the pictures below to enlarge them. Cheers!

Melvins live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012

Slayer live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012

Wolves in the Throne Room live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012

Bolt Thrower live at BoltFest, London 2012


Day 3 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Purple Turtle : A review in pictures

The Purple Turtle is where the festival finale happened. Read on…

One band that, according to me, had a lot of fans waiting for them was Dead Existence. They were the opening band for the last day of The DesertFest at The Purple Turtle. I had noticed a lot of metal heads (both posers and real ones) wearing t-shirts that carried the logo of the band. I knew they were going to kick ass, but then I had to watch them to decide. Hence I rushed to the venue which is a ten minute walk from the main venue – The Underground. At 4 p.m., exactly how I had predicted, hordes of people had come to The Purple Turtle with beers in their hands (both hands, in some cases) ready to drink some and spill some on the floor.

even Roddy Stone (vocalist, Viking Skull) knows how important it is wear the right t-shirt!

At 4:10 p.m, Dead Existence took the stage. It seemed like a lot of people on stage. There were five members, who slowly started spreading out, getting comfortable with their positions and adjusting themselves since the stage at The Purple Turtle was not-so-big. Now this one here was a metal band so they obviously needed a bigger space lest they hit each other while losing control over themselves. Luckily that did not happen. Dead Existence were from London itself, so it was a home gig for them. They were a straight out sludge metal band with a lot of doom riffing. A lively act who only had to be themselves to be heard. One could see a lot of heads bobbing along to their brand of metal, and I don’t think there is anything else a metal band would want to see when they are looking at the audiences from where they are standing. Well done, Dead Existence!

Wrapping up the entire DesertFest was Viking Skull from Northamptonshire, UK. When I say wrapping up means Viking Skull were the last band playing and the other two venues had already brought the curtains down for this year’s DesertFest. Even the after party was held here at The Purple Turtle. Coming back to Viking Skull, they are very much a band that every heavy metal lover would kill to watch. After watching them live, I can safely say that Viking Skull deserved to headline day 3 at The Purple Turtle, of a festival that payed tribute to the stoner sludge genre because this band drugged the entire venue with right amounts of melody, heaviness and metal. Everybody present during Viking Skull‘s set would vouch for the fact that everything at the venue was in motion when the band performed. Viking Skull was easily one of the festival favorites, and I’d ask you all go check them out if they are playing at a venue near you!

DesertFest Day 3  lineup for The Purple Turtle

Dead Existence
Sedulus
Widows
Cultura Tres
Iron Claw
Samsara Blues Experiment
Viking Skull
Monster Energy / Dalikfodda Party

The gallery has pictures from Dead Existence and Viking Skull’s set. Click on them to enlarge –

And, this was how the opening season The DesertFest came to an end. I don’t know about the day tickets but the weekend ticket were sold out, and the worshipers of southern riffs, rock n’ roll and stoner/sludge/doom metal went back from where they came with shitloads of satisfaction. As for me, my ears are still buzzing due to all the different kinds orgasmic music I took myself through. Here’s wishing the organizers of DesertFest all the best so they can come back with an even more rocking second edition. There are not many of us who love this shit, but I think we are fine this way.

Cheers!

Also, a slideshow containing pictures from Dead Existence and Viking Skull’s set

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Day 3 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Black Heart : A review in pictures

desert storm

The Black Heart was the only venue where they did not have a board outside that carried the venue’s name. So kvlt. I realized this on the last day of the fest. Guess the only way one can reach here is by following everyone who is wearing black, because that is how I entered this venue on day 1. Unkempt metal heads who looked exactly like I did, and that is where I belonged.

Off the five bands that were to play on Day 3 at The Black Heart, I managed to catch four of them. Pretty cool. I’m not trying to sound hurried here but here is the line-up for day 3. I will get to them individually.

Ellie Mathews
Undersmile acoustic
The Death Letter acoustic
Desert Storm
Undersmile
Gorilla

undersmile

The Death Letter acoustic were a two-piece, with both members from Dead Existence. What set them apart was the melancholic songs that were tied down with genres like blues and slow folk rock. It also helped that the band did an acoustic, since their sound and words needed to be heard closely. It wasn’t a pleasant afternoon, since the The Death Letter liked to keep it bleak.

Considering they had ‘desert’ in their name itself, UK-based rockers Desert Storm stole the show by bringing back the golden old melodies filtering it with spaced out grooves, with vocals that were meant for the microphone. Gathering together a lot of front row dancers, Desert Storm taught us how a party should be continued.

gorilla

Undersmile, from Oxford, was a female fronted band. Fronted by, not one but, two of them. They were completely new to me and I had never heard of them. Trust me, when they began playing I thought of it as a joke since the intro was not appealing. Now they were hellbent on taking things at a snails pace, and within moments they gripped me with haunting vocals done by these two pretty ladies accompanied by a drummer and a bassist. So basically they were two couples who had come together to ruin your honeymoon with slabs of sludge and drone. I wouldn’t mind watching them again because I’m sure they have a lot more tales to tell.

Another one of the festival favorites and veteran musicians Gorilla (from UK) ended the festival at The Black Heart. Three members with Johnny Gorilla on vocals, Sarah Jane on bass and Sammy Forway on drums. It was all about heavy metal for Gorilla, taking each listener back in time with not just playing the instruments but feeling the parts intimately and churning out solos like fresh slices of butter. It was a win-win situation on both sides of the The Black Heart stage.

Gallery covering The Death Letter acoustic, Desert Storm, Undersmile, Gorilla

Slideshow too!

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Day 3 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Underworld : A review in pictures

The last day of The Desertfest was looking the heaviest at The Underworld. The first half of the day had a lot of awesome rock n’ roll and experimental stoner bands on the lineup, and the second half saw some weighty metal bands that wasn’t for the weak. To sum it all up this was the lineup for day 3 at The Underworld

throne

Wiht
Throne
Crystal Head
Leaf Hound
Gentlemans Pistols
Zoroaster
Black Cobra
Corrosion of Conformity

For me the day started with the three-piece band Throne (from London). This was the first time, in three days, where I saw a female member in a band. But as the day passed by there were a lot of female musicians that showed their prowess in bands like Gorilla and Undersmile. Throne‘s versatility was very evident in their dark approach towards the doom genre. They took things slowly and that is where their strength lies. Throne has a long way to go, and if they continue to have a consistent approach then things look bright for them, even though the genre they choose to play condemns brightness…

Next up were Crystal Head (from UK). Psychedelic influences woven together with a lot of rock, and projected to defy the rules of gravity. Your head will spin to this three-piece package that is Crystal Head. Post Crystal Head suddenly there was a surge in the number of people wanting to get inside the venue. The reason being two crowd favorites were about to drown the place with loads of music of the highest class – Leaf Hound (from England) and Gentlemans Pistols (British band). Leaf Hound belted out classics, blowing air into the sweating crowd, who in return blew kisses and shouted on top of their voices in support. These mushroom growers were mesmerizing. Gentlemans Pistols took the route of solos and animated stage presence to make it a memorable gig. As is the case with any of their shows, even this one had the band pushing the envelope in terms of giving the audiences several reasons to be present at their gig than anywhere else. I got shot, by Gentlemans Pistols!

gentlemans pistols

Now was the time for some metal to scare the attendees. Three metal bands back-to-back were going to stir up a hurricane, and the only way to escape was to leave the venue. Quietly.

It all began with American band Zoroaster who came and scattered the masses from one end to the other. In the process, drummer Dan broke the drum-kit, of course it had to break since he was pounding it so fucking hard. Good times. Ferocious sludge doom came from this three-piece which obviously could not last forever. Wish it had.

Following up from where Zoroaster left, Black Cobra (again from the US) made it hard for the photographers to just stand and click. The fans ran helter skelter all over the venue, moshing and banging their heads like there is no tomorrow. The band was louder, faster and angrier than ever. Unique sludge sound. Loved them.

The last band for the day was Corrosion of Conformity from America again. They’ve been playing southern riffs since 1981, have gigged like no other band at the festival, but still they took this one as seriously as they would take any other. The venue was cramped during their performance, as the band opened bottles of sludge wine and it was raining cheers and whistles from all over. Corrosion of Conformity put up a great show, and guess what they all looked younger too.

Shots from the performances of all the bands that you’ve read about on this article. To enlarge, click on them

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Day 2 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Black Heart : A review in pictures

I was  not well versed with the music of the bands that were to be hosted by The Black Heart on day 2. It had to be like taking-a-chance since I went there only when I had time to kill. Off the seven bands that were readying themselves to play at the debut edition of The DesertFest, the ones I had the pleasure of watching were Deville Acoustic and Steak. Due to lack of time, and bigger names at the other two venues, the remaining five had to be skipped. These are the times when I ask myself why does the day have only twenty four hours.

steak

This is how the second day at The Black Heart looked –

Deville Acoustic
Steak
Ashes of Iron
Alunah
The Bendal Interlude
Diesel King
Grifter
Into the Void Party

It was 2:10 in the afternoon (which wasn’t felt inside the venue) when this one man band Deville took the stage all by himself with an acoustic guitar. I reached there close to 2:25 p.m. The mood was already in place, the admirers had gathered and I had to make my way through the crowd to reach the front. Deville had only a mike, his vocals, the guitar and his fingers to gather all the claps and respect. Fresh twisted tunes played on an acoustic, clean singing with vocals that gave a perfect platform for his lyrics, and a heart that had the zeal to perform stoner material had the listeners being slapped with chilled water. Deville‘s performance was a divine effort.

London-based band Steak even describe their music as desert rock. Erupting like a dormant volcano, Steak‘s set was full of music with spirit personified, complete with boulders of sludge and stoner rock coming towards you. Getting fuzzier and fuzzier with each song, Steak rotated my head, and had ample grip on melody as well. The performance was straight-forward and laid back, providing foolproof entertainment on a Saturday afternoon. Were we asking for anything more when we left our houses for The DesertFest. Fuck no!

Deville Acoustic and Steak in action on day 2 of The DesertFest at The Black Heart. Click on the pictures to enlarge them

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Day 2 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Purple Turtle : A review in pictures

The Purple Turtle, located just outside Mornington Crescent tube station, was to lay down the carpets for the festival entrants at 4 pm. Since there was Boltfest happening at another venue on the same day I had told myself that I would catch at least one band from each venue of The DesertFest. So, I ran down to Purple Tortoise, sorry Turtle, to catch the day’s first band there – Meadows. I had heard very less music from this band, and I was there right at the center of the venue waiting for them to start playing.

My first thoughts about their appearance was psychedelia with a lot of atmospheric passages, but guess what they knocked me off with a blend of crusty doom metal complete with elements of grind and hardcore, obeying the rules of sludge and stoner genres as well. A lively act on stage, Meadows did whatever damage they could to our necks.

I will leave you with the only picture of Meadows that my camera could capture :

Meadows live on day 2 of The DesertFest

The rest of the bands scheduled for the second day at The Purple Turtle were as follows –

Meadows
Spider Kitten
Iron Witch
Serpent Venom
Dopefight
Herder
Black Pyramid
Slabdragger
Metal Hammer After Party


Day 2 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Underworld : A review in pictures

zippo

With day 1 behind me, time management had become an important aspect for the remaining two days. In any kind of festival holding the schedule and using your time effectively would help you catch maximum number of artists which would not happen if you go to one venue, hold a bottle of beer and keep appreciating the taste of the drink. I had a lot of running around to do on Day 2. Not only between the handpicked Desertfest venues, but I also had to visit HMV Forum. Boltfest was happening there on the same day. Wrong timing, and even though I was sad about missing out on bands like Orange Goblin, Church of Misery, Truckfighters, Slabdragger, Black Pyramid and the like, Boltfest was exclusive with names on the bill that are institutions of death metal. More on that another time, but this is how the line-up looked for day 2 at The Underworld

Zippo
Shrine ’69
Roadsaw
Sungrazer
Valient Thorr
Truckfighters
Church of Misery
Orange Goblin

Italian progressive sludge band Zippo looked prepared to take the audiences on a journey and sure they did!  The sound, feel and texture had me standing in the first row and focusing on the trippy trail they were leaving behind with each moment on their songs. The vocalist Davide was not in the same world as us, he was conversing with some creatures from another world and we were all watching him with undivided attention. Great band.

shrine ’69

By now I had no doubt about the choice of bands for The DesertFest. The event was on it’s way to being a perfect success with an impressive line-up. Shrine ’69 were next. Hailing from Suffolk, the four piece band had several plus points. Firstly they balanced gentle music and energetic instances with ease, and secondly they also had a unique style that also brushed blues. All in all a band I’d want to watch again!

Roadsaw came all the way from Boston, US and brought rock n’ roll gushing with southern riffs along with them. It was only a matter of time before they unleashed a raw sound that occasionally tilted towards the groove side of things. The smoke filled venue had it’s mood lifted by these four like-minded musicians who also carried the attitude to go with their music. One of the best half an hour I dedicated to a band at this year’s DesertFest.

The rest of the bands could not be captured, nor enjoyed since I had to get going for Boltfest.

Here’s a gallery that talks about everything Zippo, Shrine ’69 and Roadsaw did on stage.

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Day 1 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Underworld : A review in pictures

the underworld, camden town

The Underworld is located just outside Camden Town underground station in London, and was an apt selection for an indoor festival like this one considering the venue has played host to several metal gigs in the past. And going by the looks of all the posters that were stuck outside, it does not seem like the venue will be able to take any rest anytime soon. Extreme metal is going to ruin its peace, but hell who cares as long as everyone walking outside is made aware that metal is being blasted inside. It was at The Underworld where everyone had to officially collect their DesertFest wristbands for entry into all of the three venues. The second venue was The Black Heart (just behind The Underworld) and the third one being The Purple Turtle (took me eight to ten minutes of walking from The Underworld, but again it depends on how drunk you are). This venue had the biggest stage out of the three, and was to welcome some of the biggest names from the stoner, sludge, progressive, rock n’ roll scene.

Before I tell you what happened next let me show you the drum-kit’s condition before and after the show on day 1. Gives you a pretty good idea about how the place was brought down.

the bass drum (before)

the bass drum (after)

Line-up for day 1 at The Underworld

Sons of Alpha Centauri
Ancestors
Rotor
Karma to Burn

The first band was scheduled to play at 4 pm and it was none other than UK’s Sons of Alpha Centauri. Only a talented instrumental band like Sons of Alpha Centauri could have attracted so much crowd. And I’m saying that because things had kicked off at the other two venues some two hours back. With a combination of progressive material and doom layered riffs, SOAC did not falter in putting across their strengths. Right after they left the stage California-based Ancestors brought in some real ass-kicking pure stoner/doom metal and served it to the hungry crowd with panache. Heavy at heart and exploding through the speakers, Ancestors must have surprised people who were hearing them for the first time.

Rotor. They are from Berlin, and Rotor is where a weed-smoking beer-drinking  kinda sloshed metal head would like to find himself since the entire process of psychedelic influences on your mind and the grooves to move the rest of your body is explained by them. You find yourself trapped in their music, which is a good thing because you are already very drunk and want someone to take you under their wings. Rotor did just that. Ending the first day at The Underworld were stoner metal veterans from United States of America – Karma to Burn. The venue was full, it was raining alcohol and horns were raised in response to this band’s grip over the intricacies of the genre. Headliners for Friday, they charmed each and everyone in the crowd and gave them their money’s worth by doing what they do best. Enjoyed them till the last minute.

A gallery to showcase the first day of The DesertFest at The Underworld. Click on each to enlarge

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Day 1 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Black Heart : A review in pictures

the black heart, camden

While the proceedings for day 1 at The DesertFest had begun at The Purple Turtle (where I was present), around the same time the other venue The Black Heart had also begun serving quality music to the audiences who had chosen to be there. While I could not be omnipresent at both the venues, I managed to catch a set by Gonga (from UK) at 6:30 pm. To say the least Gonga lived up to their name, as they mixed slow and speedy rock with a lot of grit and determination. They had a peculiar sound that identified itself with the band, making everyone hearing them feel like the stoner desert is a good place to be at. The three-piece band worked its way towards pushing the venue into a trance. The listeners had to find their way back because Gonga had promised only one side of the trip!

The line-up for The Black Heart on day 1 looked like this –

Stone Axe (free set)
Crystal Head Acoustic
Asteroid acoustic
Gonga
Astrohenge
Asteroid
Hard ‘n’ Hairy Club Night

The gallery features only Gonga’s performance, as I could not stay at The Black Heart for long. Enlarge the pictures by clicking on them individually

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Day 1 of The DesertFest, London 2012 at The Purple Turtle : A review in pictures

purple turtle, london

The first edition of The DesertFest kicked off at The Purple Turtle on a rather quiet note with not many people turning up as I had expected to see, but considering it was only 3 in the afternoon I don’t blame many of them. All the nearby pubs were packed with metalheads who made the best use of the Easter weekend by coming for the only stoner / doom festival that matters.

While the larger part of the crowd was getting drunk, and preparing themselves for the bigger bands at this intense, psychedelic, seriously doomed fest, I caught the DesertFest‘s opening band at The Purple TurtlePonamero Sundown. The band had a story of it’s own deploying their stoner-laden riffs to invigorate the crowd so they can wake up, and smell the music. Up next were Stubb, who played the role of psychedelic rockers to the tee and hell nobody wanted to get out of the venue, at least until they were done.

the purple turtle, camden

Trippy Wicked saw two members of Stubb back on stage, with a new bassist to differentiate. While the venue was getting filled slowly, I for one enjoyed their set completely because the vocalist Pete Holland had a bloody good voice to go with the music. The three-piece were trippy and controlled the crowd with their stoner blues stuff. Another band that got the audiences moving were Sigiriya. Involving a very melodic approach towards the whole stoner doom genre, Sigiriya made young and old dance alike. The last band for the day at The Purple Turtle was Lord Vicar. Formed after the demise of Reverend Bizzare, Lord Vicar had experience written all over it. Pure hypnotizing doom metal reaching every ear with an intention to make the head above bang.

The lineup for the first day at The Purple Turtle had the following bands –

Ponamero Sundown
Stubb
Trippy Wicked
Stone Axe
Greenleaf
Sigiriya
Lord Vicar
Orchid
Desertscene Opening Party

Here’s the gallery for day 1 at Purple Turtle so you know how it looked. Click to enlarge

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