I first discovered Black Moth way back in 2012, when they played on a bill with Turbowolf and Wet Nuns (that was also the first of a few times I witnessed Wet Nuns, so it was quite an important gig for me). Since then I have been a casual fan, seeing them here and there over the past six years, like last year’s Black Spiders “final London show” at House of Vans and at HRH Sheffield. So it’s safe to say I was looking forward to being at a date on their current album launch tour. I have heard a preview of the new album, Anatomical Venus, which also got me feeling a bit excited as it is a very good album. They were joined with main support Grave Lines and local support from Killing Man Jaroh.
Killing Man Jaroh were first up and fuzzing hell! The PA at the Boston Music Room took a pounding straight off the bat. Down-tuned to the point of near insanity, Killing Man Jaroh brought barrel loads of dirty doom and psych sounds. Tons of fuzzy overdriven guitar and bass twinned with a few fuzzed up solos utilising the top strings and a bit of tremelo to add depth to the band’s sound. The vocals too had some choice effects applied for that vintage psych vibe. The final number was my personal favourite of the set, opening with a simple bass drum beat and some equally simple guitar chords to create an ominous feeling before bringing in the extended sludgy doom, perfect for some slow and steady headbanging.
Having recently signed to New Heavy Sounds (the label Black Moth released their first two albums through) Grave Lines are working on a new album to follow up their 2016 release, Welcome to Nothing, which was a brutally macabre, doom metal experience so I expected more of that tonight. Aside from the opening number, “Blind Thamyris”, all of the numbers played by Grave Lines tonight were new tracks that, I assume, will be on a future studio recording (at least I hope so, because they were pretty good).
Heavy and aggressive, Grave Lines brought the angrier side of the doom spectrum to the stage. I especially liked the song “Self Mutilation” as it began with an almost folk vibe, nice and gentle, before things got really heavy really quickly with a huge drop! The brutal assault on their amps continued, with non-stop sludgy riffs from Oli on guitar and fuzzy basslines from Matt on bass. Julia Owen’s (you may recognise that name from the band Throne) superb drumming, including a huge bass drum sound, gave the band just enough structure to keep the sound from devolving into a continuous sludgy blob. Vocalist Jake Harding was intense also, at times headbutting the microphone and performing in such a way that I think he only has one emotion: despair! Great stuff.
Now, suitably rattled by some very big and heavy basslines vibrating through the venue, we were all warmed up for Black Moth. With their third studio album due for release within the next month, Black Moth were greeted by a very welcoming crowd in Boston Music Room and proceeded to play a well formed set covering well known fan favourites and a few new tracks from the soon-to-be released album.
Album launch gigs are always good fun, especially when you have already heard the album and are keen to hear some tracks done live, and this one was no exception. The band on stage looked like they were thoroughly enjoying the gig, and that was reflected by the crowd as both parties threw themselves into the music and showed plenty of movement. Jake Harding from Grave Lines joined Black Moth for a number as well, which fans always like as it’s something that will probably only happen on this tour making it a bit more special.
I loved how the guitarists, Dave Vachon, Jim Swainston and Federica Gialanze, leaned out to the crowd as often as they could, bumping fists and really interacting with the fans. I’m sure drummer Dominic McCready would have done the same if not behind a drum kit. It’s a simple thing, but it does break the invisible wall that sometimes exists between band and fans. I couldn’t really fault anything the whole night, apart from the single colour lighting (but that’s a photography gripe). There was an issue with the drums during the rendition of their new single “Sisters of the Stone”, but even that was met with jesting from the crowd and led to a bit of improv from the guitarists to keep the party going as the problem was addressed.
The lack of seriousness was good and the party vibe wasn’t just at the front of the venue. I moved to the back of the room at one point of the gig (as I wanted to write a few notes and doing that directly in front of the stage is a bit odd) and I saw people dancing with each other and having a great time near the bar.
Black Moth have had a bit of a lineup change since their previous album, bringing in Federica on guitar a couple of years ago. In fact, each of the three albums have had slightly different line ups, and this current lineup seems to have a marginally heavier vibe. The things I love about Black Moth are still there, the psychedelic vocal effects and lyrics, the rhythm changes, varied tempos, and guitar solos but the sound just feels a bit heavier. Even older numbers from the first album, like “Blackbirds Fall”, have a punchier feel when played live now. I’m sure that was a contributing factor when a bit of a mosh pit broke out for the penultimate number, “Honey Lung”, with that energetic mood continuing into the finale, “Pig Man”, from the forthcoming album. Hair flying, guitars wailing, balloons bouncing around, all in all a great gig!
Photos by ShotIsOn Media
- Severed Grace
- Tree of Woe
- Lover’s Hate
- Screen Queen
- Sisters of the Stone
- Blackbirds Fall
- Honry Lung
- Pig Man
Killing Man Jaroh: facebook