Thursday 15 May 2014

Live Review : Nomad, Battalions, Conan, Church of Misery, The Star & Garter, Manchester, UK, 1/5/2014

Church of Misery Setlist The Star & Garter, Manchester, England 2014

Battalions are a new band on my radar, A four piece from Hull, UK.  There is a tone of Corby sludgers Raging Speedhorn about them, massive riffs set against throat shredding vocals. Indeed during their 3rd song, a two vocal attack adds further credence to this reference.  For the record, RS owns.  There's a southern flavour to their blend, Tennessee style and potent enough to corrode steel. The natural harmonics added to the riffs brings variety and yet their set is rich in groove. One’s to watch for sure.  

Conan burn through a short set but it's blistering.  I say it every time, but the drums are what hold this all together and he is metronomic in his precision, against a back drop of Colossal heaviness. It is in wonderment why they haven't been added to the Government’s nuclear deterrent. The seismic shift would wipe out the whole Pacific Rim. Fresh from there recent euro tour, they are devastating and cohesive beyond words. As a spectator, you wanna head butt someone in the face just to relieve the pressure on your brain. It is phenomenal stuff and they just do not disappoint live. What' is striking to me, is that the addition of the new songs and more progressive elements, adds greater dynamics to their performance. Not only allowing Paul O’ Neill to unleash his full repertoire, but by moving away from their earlier more droning sound Conan have added further appeal to their sound and performance, making their set more engaging and less a demonstration of power alone.  Conan remain as loud as interplanetary thunder and are band not to be missed. 

Japan's favourite mass murderers, Church of Misery (チャーチ・オブ・ミザリー, Chāchi obu Mizarī) arrive to a packed room armed with their toolkit to slay, be it occasioning actual bodily harm with drums, axe, bass.  But let us not forget, the charismatic vocals of Hideki Fukasawa too. Their only crime is bringing the doom to ManchesterChurch of Misery play together and slay together. There's an exuberance and unmeasured confidence in their performance, with a sound which is crystalline. The crowd is subservient to their incantations of horrors, an audience kneeling in the Church of Misery, mesmerised by the fuzz and classic Sabbathian riff, forged from the GOD Iommi himself.

Tonight’s show feels Epic, it’s like a throw back performance, harking back to the golden age of rock.  A Sabbathian serial killer soundtrack. Tracks such as ‘Lambs to the Slaughter (Ian Brady/Myra Hindley)’ are inherently dark in content, yet, heavily versed in metronomic groove, down tuned riffs that saunter down swagger Ville.  The music has an arrogance about it, exuding so much charm, you feel submissive to their manoeuvres, falling victim as everyone did this evening, to the power of the riff.  

 ‘Born to Raise Hell’, is a real highlight, the crowd lapping up every blood soaked lick and drum fill, underpinned by the talismanic performance of Fukasawa.  He is a real focal point and the guy exudes star quality.  The line ‘Born to Raise Hell’ seemingly a mantra to tonights crowd to lose control and let yourself go, it is a truly stunning tune, which encapsulates what Church of Misery are about. No nonsense, no pretense, just a captivating and charismatic performance. 

Words by: Aaron Pickford
Pictures : Jez Walshaw