Church Of Misery

support Dogmatist
author AP date 03/04/12 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

Church of Misery has been making frequent visits to Denmark in recent years, but for some reason I have never had the time or interest to go check them out. Turns out this has been a catastrophic miscalculation, as their concert tonight will doubtless rank among my most memorable shows of 2012, as we shall see.


As if often the case with concerts at Loppen, the duty of warming up the crowd has befallen a local act known as Dogmatist, whose music has been described elsewhere as hardcore hysteria. Judging from the songs presented to us tonight, this is to be understood as a mixture of hardcore punk, black metal, thrash and sludge, with the vocals orienting themselves toward raspy shrieking not unlike Darkthrone, the drums pummelling with d-beat based arrangements, and the guitar and bass blasting out simplistic crossover riffs. This is hardcore of the dirtiest, nastiest, sludgiest kind, and Dogmatist make no audible attempt at sounding different, let alone ambitious, during their 30 minutes of set time. Strangely, however, their last song for the evening is completely detached from this formula, and consequently also the best, and most noteworthy. In it the trio slows things down and breaks into an acidic stoner jam that, with the exception of the unchanged vocal style, sounds extremely similar to Red Fang. Should Dogmatist choose to embrace this type of song more readily in the future, there might even be the odd chance at breaking free of the deepest, most obscure underground of Danish music.


Church Of Misery

Prior to this show, I had admittedly been under the impression that Church of Misery was a doom metal band. As such you can imagine my surprise when the band, upon taking the stage, launches an absolutely brilliant stoner/psychedelic/classic rock trip with touches of Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard and Monster Magnet circa "Dopes to Infinity" blazing out of their doom laden foundations. Though most of the bands songs deal with infamous serial killers, the music itself is bright and full of magnificent grooves and jam sessions that have the 250 to 300 fans assembled in the intimate confines of Loppen headbanging in no time. It makes little difference that Church of Misery rarely depart from a trudging tempo, as each packs a genuine wealth of detail to digest. Tatsu Mikami's bass lines are fuzzy and vibrant; Junji Narita's drumming textured and inventive; Tom Sutton's classic guitar playing liberal in style and entrancing in its antics; and Hideki Fukasawa's vocals grippingly powerful. One of the most impressive things about it is that although Church of Misery incorporate a range of influences into their sound, they somehow manage to epitomize each of the genres they dabble into.

It is rare to witness a crowd unanimously descend into a trance, with the only sounds resonating inside the venue those emanating from Church of Misery's instruments. There is no chatter, and very little movement aside the heavy banging of heads in accordance with the band's slowly thumping beats. Add to that a carefully designed light show, with striking shades of blue, purple and turquois mingling with each other in soft arcs, and a band that is as immersed in their own music as the audience, and there is very little to put a finger on that deserves criticism. Once again I must succumb to the conclusion that it is most often the concerts that I have no expectations for, or prior knowledge about, that prove to be the most stimulating experiences. I will certainly be checking these guys out a second time if the opportunity presents itself, and until then, getting hold of their discography.

Photos courtesy of Henrik Moberg Jessen

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