Monolord

support Salems Pot + Wizard Fight
author EW date 25/02/15 venue Black Heart, London, UK

The upstairs at the Black Heart may only be a small, stuffy venue but cram in three stoner/doom bands, a megaton of riffs, a whole heap of beards and a liberal execution of Britain's stringent smoking laws (by those attending, not by the venue in case any lawyers are reading) and what you have is a most entertaining evening headlined by two rising Swedish acts.

Wizard Fight

First up though, British sludgy trio Wizard Fight who brought the heaviest and most visceral sound of the night's acts to the party, wrapping this into a style that managed to be both musically languid yet vocally abrasive. The lack of diversity and finesse that was to come later is to be expected for a band in it's relative infancy (formed in 2012) but that tactic hasn't stopped the likes of Conan rising far, an act with whom I drew comparisons while listening to the bouncy bass tone and all-round thumping musical attack. Coming away from their set blessed with any sense of musical enlightenment was never likely a possibility but Wizard Fight dutifully set the tone with this commendable effort.

6

Salem's Pot

My prior experiences with Salem's Pot were limited to the few tracks from "...Lurar Ut Dig På prärien" in the build-up to the gig which suggested to me a band high on the psychedelic and stoner influence and low on the doom, yet, one song in and my expectations were totally confounded. The band's opening track (sorry, no titles noted) peddled the best leading doom riff I will hear live in a good while - the dry execution of the slow, considered style got my head nodding instantly to the unusual sight of the band's five members all performing in masquerade masks providing a slightly bizarre spectacle, even if sadly no hint of jester-based revelry ever appeared in the music.

In evidence of the widespread influence taken from Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard that dominates this genre, the heavy reverb on the band's dual vocals provided a notable point of interest and link back to British bands past, one that worked for the most part although I feel Salem's Pot could have sacrificed a little of this to further the psychedelic edge of the songs that didn't often rise above the masses. However this was of little concern to me on this first occasion of seeing the band as 45 minutes later of faithful adherence to the temple of Sabbath was enough to provide a most enjoyable, if slightly odd, show.

8

Monolord

Although it ploughed no new furrows in it's stoned and doomed vibe, last year's debut LP "Empress Rising" from Gothenburg natives Monolord has remained a part of my listening habits, hitting just the right spot whenever I need an easy-going modern-day stoner record. With new album "Vænir" currently sitting in my review pile and a debut London show to boot it still came as some surprise to witness the adulation granted the threepiece from the 100 or so sweating away in the rafters of the Black Heart, but an hour of tight and taut performance surmised to me why. The bustling tones emanating from Thomas Jäger’s guitar in new tracks like “We Will Burn" generated ample adherence to the templates of Sleep and resonance with more recent acts like Windhand - dissonant, strained and warmly inviting - but the highlight of the show was Mika Häkki’s bass sound. Thumping and powerful was his performance, often spent standing atop his monitor that I suspect those of a lesser height than I would have had no trouble viewing in a venue notorious for it’s low stage rise.

Though providing less in the way of variation than their countrymen the hour of Monolord passed swiftly, helped by a rather freeform take on Sabbath’s ode-to-smoking classic "Fairies Wear Boots" and a crushing rendition of "Empress Rising" to close. There is little to be said for the finer aspects of the Monolord performance, save that their unprepossessing attitude towards the stoner genre generated the kind of feel-good factor that is all too often missing from many of the metal gigs I attend. Top stuff.

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