Esoteric

support Procession + Indesinence
author MST date 22/04/14 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

Doom metal isn't exactly the most popular of subgenres in the metal spectrum, but for those in the know, the British funeral doomsters in Esoteric are absolute legends, and they're a band I had been dying to see in a live setting. When Esoteric's tour with Procession and Indesinence visited KB18 in Copenhagen this week I finally had the chance. This also happened to be my first visit to the venue which turned out to be extremely DIY and fairly small - a great place for the type of music that would be playing on stage. After a few beers and far too much money spent on vinyl it was time to start a night of slow and heavy tunes.

All photos by Nikola Majkic

Indesinence vocalist/guitarist Ilia Rodriguez

Indesinence

Indesinence from London were another band I had been looking forward to experiencing live. Their latest record, "Vessels of Light and Decay" from 2012, is an excellent hour's worth of death/doom metal, and as frontman Ilia Rodriguez and crew opened the ordeal with the brilliant "Paradigms" from that record, I was initially impressed. The band played the set with surgical precision, but very few of the modest 20 or so people who had showed up thus far seemed to be taken away by the experience, and I got the impression that Rodriguez was affected a bit too much by the lack of attendance tonight. In the end though, it was Rodriguez who put on a decent performance while the rest of the band didn't seem to put much effort into making this an experience to remember. Guitarist John Wright literally spent every minute of the set staring at his chords, not moving an inch, while bassist Andy McIvor settled with casually nodding along. The set was a varied one, as the more up-tempo track "Communion" demanded heads banging, while closing track "Unveiled" was a lot more introspective, with whispery clean vocals accompanying the clean melodies that make up the majority of the song and frantic screams as the song concluded. Good songs rarely carry a show with next to no performance though, and I was definitely disappointed with what Indesinence had to offer.

5

Procession

Procession

Reviewing these three shows was initially meant to be a joint venture, and since traditional doom metal isn't really my cup of tea I approached Procession's show with mixed expectations now that I was on full reviewing duties. Mixed expectations, but not at all pessimistic, since I had heard lots of good things about Procession and their live shows. The predominantly Chilean band, with their Danish guitarist Jonas Pedersen, sport a classic metal look with tight jeans and tattoos, and their image really fit their style of music. Procession's music, heavily inspired by the likes of Black Sabbath and Candlemass, is slow and heavy, but also very melodic with lots of solos. The vocals delivered by frontman Felipe Plaza Kutzbach were absolutely amazing, as I knew beforehand from his guest performance on the latest Profetus record. I can definitely see why fans of the genre love the band on record. Although there were considerably more people in attendance for Procession than what Indesinence had, the crowd was still quite small, but the band performed as professionals. You could always feel the music through the demeanor of the band, and although the energetic moving around from Pedersen wasn't matched by anyone else, it was clear that this is a band who always take their live performances seriously, no matter the obstacles. Kutzbach could definitely have done a better job of either engaging the audience a bit more, or work more closely with Pedersen in rotations and interactions (or both!), but overall Procession were a nice experience, and one that I wouldn't mind partaking in again.

Esoteric

For me, this night was all about Esoteric and their special brand of psychedelic funeral doom metal. But as I looked around the room before, during and after the band's set, it seemed as if most people had bought their tickets for Procession as Esoteric played in front of what looked like 10-15 people. An outrage if you ask this writer, but what can you do. On top of being a six-piece, Esoteric also use an incredible amount of pedals for various effects, so the amount of space available to move around on was very limited, but since the band don't exactly play the type of music that requires energetic performances, this wasn't crucial. What was crucial though was that vocalist/guitarist Greg Chandler's vocals, which are quite dominant on record, were too low in the mix. The setlist consisted of songs from the band's last three records, and although I would personally have preferred some more material from 2008's "The Maniacal Vale", I approved of the songs that were chosen.

Right off the bat, the sextet opened with "Circle", one of the band's most highly adored songs and my absolute favorite of theirs. The 21-minute song seemed to be over within minutes, as Chandler performed his vocal duties through his headset while literally walking from pedal to pedal due to the sheer wealth of equipment in front of him. I spent a considerable amount of time with my eyes closed, letting the music take my mind to dimensions of twisted lunacy and agonizing melancholy. This wasn't only because of the nature of the music though; whether due to the limited space on stage, the lack of a proper audience or something entirely different, there just wasn't much in the band's performance that enhanced the experience of listening to the band's tunes at all. The band weren't as passive as Indesinence had been a couple of hours earlier on; rather than a lack of will, it seemed to be a lack of ability to actually physically perform. I won't draw any conclusions as to why, but I'll add to the aforementioned probable reasons that Esoteric's music, with all of its complex experimentation and psychedelic soundscapes, might just not be as suited for the stage as I had hoped. Mind you, it was an experience I'm glad to have witnessed, but I wasn't exactly blown away.

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