Dragged Into Sunlight/Gnaw Their Tongues/Dvne/Mountains Crave/Gloomweaver @ The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Posted by vibrations on 18-01-16

Newish Leeds doom/noise trio Gloomweaver are rapidly developing a more varied, fluid approach to their music, away from a (mostly) uniform slow grind of overdriven bass, drums and heavily treated voice. The music now shifts easily between tempos and moods, singer Steve Myles and bassist Paul Priest in particular benefitting from, and clearly revelling in, the possibilities offered by the headliners pumped up backline.

Mountains Craveare a super group of sorts, containing members of the Leeds hardcore community usually employed in the likes of The Afternoon Gentlemen, Masochist and Gets Worse. The smoke machine works overtime to give their efficient but workmanlike epic black metal (but is there any other sort?) a suitable blasted heath ambience through which some genuinely fabulous epic moments punch through.

If testosterone ever formed a band it would be exactly like Dvne. This Edinburgh technical death metal quartet sport enough fuck off tats, facial hair and abs of steel to keep a marauding squad of Vikings going for months, and a nine string guitar (nine?!? Why nine?) helps to flagellate into being songs so dynamic they can't keep their pants on. They do a song in waltz time but of course it's a waltz with balls as big as a baboon. If you imagine all this puts them on the edge of self-parody you wouldn’t be far wrong, but fortunately Dvne play some of the most exciting rock music (genre be fucked) you’re likely to come across, anywhere.

By complete contrast Dutch avant garde noise trio Gnaw Their Tongues make the kind of music it’s difficult to believe is the product of human imagination. The set begins with an extended recording of a smooth voiced but mad (aren’t they all) evangelical preacher conjuring images of angels and demons in sado-masochistic thrall of each other, from which the impossible music of Gnaw Their Tongues erupts. The bass is relentlessly overdriven to the point of ecstatic incoherence, while the laptop and effects boxes pummel out a deranged kind of blast beat techno that throbs in and out of clarity. It’s not possible to do anything other than stand open mouthed, trying to comprehend what this music is, and how it’s being done. And then it stops.

Few bands subscribe to the idea of the gig as ritual in quite the same way as Dragged Into Sunlight. The room is drenched in thick smoke, stag skulls sit atop massive amps, industrial strength strobes batter the eyes and, of all things, small fairy lights twinkle around the stage. The band, like everyone else in the room, faces the drummer who fittingly is the anchor for all the electric mayhem bouncing around the walls. There is no attempt made to communicate with the audience expect through the embrace of this maelstrom of harnessed noise. Superficially the music is based on black metal tropes but Dragged Into Sunlight strip away all the pretensions to mythology and spiritual transgression of lesser practitioners and merely focus on the raw howl of human rage at the void that lies at the core of black metal. The wonder is that that this brutal, uncompromising, relentless music can at the same time feel so inclusive, warm and loving.

Steve Walsh

On the Vibrations stereo...