First of all folks, I must apologise for my lack of contribution to The Moshville Times for a long while – I’ve been rather busy with uni work, my new job and my work placement for uni. I’ve got a few albums lined up for Oldie But Goldie reviews and I will start going through some of the Band of the Day stuff and start reviewing their stuff too.
So on to the review!
I was a little unsure of what to expect at the gig as the stoner/doom genre hybrid is not a kind of metal I’m overly familiar with. I listened to a little bit of Conan’s new album, Blood Eagle, online before the gig and I thought the music was OK. Not really my thing, and I wouldn’t buy the album, but it was alright. I was unaware of who the support acts would be until I arrived at the venue so I didn’t do any kind of research prior to the show.
First up was local act Bacchus Baracus who simply walked into the venue and just set up their stuff and played. I was eager to hear them as they were supporting Orange Goblin when I saw them in Glasgow with my dad last year but we had missed their set. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed their meaty sounding heavy rock (very much like Orange Goblin’s style). Musically they very simplistic with mostly power chord and pentatonic ideas but overall very enjoyable. The drummer also has the role of lead vocalist and gives the band a satisfying roar and a charismatic main man resulting in a cool live performance.
As for the next local act, Headless Kross, I can’t say the same thing. The band, walked onstage without saying a word with some impressive beards (you could seriously get lost in the drummer’s face forest) and some rather bizarre psychedelic looking 70’s style shirts (similar looking to some of the living room upholstery that may have been available at the time). Fair play to them but the image did raise some sort of questions as to what their style might be. Unfortunately I just didn’t get what they were all about. The music was all just boring to me – super slow (I guess that’s a defining characteristic of doom) simple chord ideas with not much else happening. Then there was the vocalist’s almost black metal-esque, reverb/delay-drenched shrieks over the top of the bass heavy rumble with not a single intelligible word. I feel really bad for giving them a bad review but their music is really not my thing personally and I guess I just don’t get it.
Following Headless Kross was the main support act – Bast. Again their style is much like that of the previous act. Simply walking onstage without uttering a single word and not engaging with the crowd except for a rather shyly mumbled “We are Bast by the way” at the end of their set. Musically they were pretty similar to Headless Kross with low rumbling simple ideas dragging on for a half hour or so with overly reverb-y shrieks on top. What Bast did have to differentiate from the previous band was the occasional more uptempo section with more punky drums and the occasional blastbeat thrown in. This proved refreshing to add a little energy to the rather monotonous music that was seriously making me fall asleep for the majority of the evening so far. The other aspect to Bast’s style was the occasional clean guitar sound swimming in ambient effects which added added an extra dimension to their sound, thus enhancing the contrast between this and the heavy parts. Still overall, the music is definitely not for me however it did prove to be an improvement over the previous act.
Finally the headline act, Conan arrived onstage. Now to be honest I was rather fed up and tired at this point and actually wanted to go home but stayed for the purpose of the review. Unfortunately my pretty crap mood probably spoiled my experience of Conan but they did prove to be pretty decent. The band proved to be a much better live act with a better stage presence and more crowd engagement. Musically, again pretty similar stuff to Bast but slightly more uptempo in general giving the music a little more movement and energy. One thing that really stood out about Conan was their overall sound of the guitar amd bass which proved to be one of the heaviest combined tones I think I’ve ever heard – truly an earthquake-inducing rumble which was really was something else out of this world. However, the music overall just didn’t really do it for me.
In conclusion, if you like really slow, low-sounding, incredibly bass driven, and very simple heavy music with the occasional foray into ambient territory then you’ll love the kind of music Conan, Bast and Headless Kross play (again if you like Orange Goblin-style heavy/stoner rock then you’ll love Bacchus Baracus). As live acts there was a bit to be desired, more so with Bast and Headless Kross than with Bacchus Baracus and Conan.
Despite me not really enjoying the music overall from this show (I guess as more of a thrash/death metal fan I like my music a bit faster and more technical and generally more exciting on the ears and in the flesh such as Pestilence, Demolition Hammer and Sadus – expect Oldie But Goldies soon!), with my only foray into the doomier side of extreme metal being Autopsy, it’s clear that there is a dedicated fanbase who love this kind of music based on what I saw from the folks at the show. I regret that my review has been negative but as with everything in life, things are a matter of taste and each to their own, so it’s great that loads of people love and support the kind of music at this show.
As for me (and I suppose everyone in general when deciding whether they like the experience of something different to the usual things that they like), Mosh said something to me which perfectly describes the experience of Conan and their supports – “you never know ’til you try something new!”.
Note: I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures of the bands from the gig to accompany this review as I don’t have a decent camera, and the camera in my phone is crap (especially in low lighting). Hopefully next time will be better! [MOSH – blame me. I forgot to take my camera along earlier to lend to Sean]