Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Dragged Into Sunlight / Bossk / Sunsmasher / Headless Kross - Audio, Glasgow

I was anxious to see openers Headless Kross as they'd just released a split 12" with Bradford's foulest, Lazarus Blackstar, and any band that keeps such company has got to be worth a watch. Their set was different to what I expected, their sound being closer to the stoner-doom of Sleep and Weedeater than the crusty, sludgy mess I had anticipated based on their choice of band to split a record with. Their meandering, psych-tinged stoner grooves shook the already loose ceiling panels of the venue, the harsh vocals threatening to bring them down entirely.
I'm so glad Glasgow is producing bands like this nowadays, and I'm definitely looking forward to giving their recorded material a spin.

I haven't seen Sunsmasher play for way over a year now, and when they open with Mujeres Libres from their Mammothian/Loud/Cult EP I'm happy to hear they're still as devastatingly heavy as ever.
Attacking his bass in between bursts of bile into the mic, bassist Phil is a sight to behold, coming across like a crazed street preacher with access to high-level amplification, while guitarist Neil strangles mangled blues out of his strings. Whenever they get another recording out, look out for it, your bleeding ears will thank you for it.

Recently reformed Kent post-metallers Bossk seem to have been just as big a draw tonight as the headliners, with a few people in the crowd barely able to contain their excitement at finally getting to see the band live for the first time in years.
As soon as they launch into their first song, the excitement is fully justified, as the band weave together achingly pretty instrumental passages, offset by harder-edged sections that put the 'metal' in post-metal. Personally I hate that term, but it does describe what Bossk do so very well, and if you're a fan of the genre and you don't have a copy of .01 and .02, what the hell are you doing?
At one point their own intricately woven melodies fade out to the sound of crashing waves, and... wait... is that a Fleetwood Mac cover?! Yeah, it is. The most unexpected place to hear 'Albatross' ever (well, second to its appearance in those Marks & Spencers ads years ago).
With new material being recorded this year, look out for the continuing triumphant return of Bossk.

I last saw Dragged Into Sunlight at the 2012 edition of Roadburn, where their set time was eaten into by the amount of stuff being set up on stage, and as much as I appreciate their aesthetic, if fannying about with skulls and candles cuts 2 songs out of your set, is it really worth it?
Luckily tonight there is minimal fannying, the candles are lit, the funeral fog (well, smoke machine...) drifting past the goat skull altar and enveloping the room, creating an appropriately suffocating atmosphere.
The anonymous members take the stage, the steady hum of that ominous Matamp backline builds, the samples lead into the familiar intonation of " pleases serve you..." and Boiled Angel is unleashed.
This term is overused in descriptions of extreme music, but a Dragged Into Sunlight set truly is an assault on the senses; the near-constant strobe light rendering you unable to even glance in the direction of the stage, the sheer volume seeming to actually force the sound into your ears, the whole time your lungs filled with the acrid stench of more smoke than even the most ardent weedian can cope with.
You don't merely watch or listen to a Dragged Into Sunlight show; you survive it.

I, Aurora erupts from the howling, smoke-spewing thing on stage, and I can feel other victims of the show thrashing heads and limbs against my back. It's kind of hard to tell if they're enjoying themselves or if I might be feeling a few people's death throes. Either way I'm transfixed by the beast with five heads before me.
The set is culled entirely from Hatred For Mankind, with not even the similarly harsh Part II from their recent masterpiece Widowmaker given an airing, though its not like I expected DIS of all bands to conform to any expectations others may have of them.

The candles are snuffed out, the feedback howls, the smoke dissipates, the stage empties, and the crowd drags themselves out to sunless night.

This was one of the best shows I've seen in Scotland, the whole Dragged Into Sunlight set sounded incredible, as did every band tonight, so credit to the venue's soundman for being able to capture the aural assault that DIS unleashes without losing any of the sheer sonic force. I hope there are more shows like this in Scotland now that its beginning to foster a strong homegrown doom scene, as well as continuing to attract touring bands from all over the world.

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