Review by Paul Castles, photos by Rich Thompson
Fear Me Music staged one of their typically eclectic all-dayers at the Asylum in Birmingham. Unfortunately with two other gigs happening within a stone’s throw on the same evening the number of punters was sadly spread a little too thinly.
Shebrew were a commanding presence during the early part of the evening. The local three-man stoner unit, featuring two brothers, attacked every song with venom as they served up a menu of rampaging riffs. Frontman Frank carries the whole thing very well and the trio are well worth catching during their travels around the city. They’ll be performing on a NOLA inspired bill at The Flapper in Birmingham on Saturday 12th September.
Next are Skinhorse; a minimalist two-man combo – guitar and drums but without vocals. This in no way detracted from a formidable half-hour or so of menacingly intense grooves from the Hereford duo. Riffter-in-chief Ben was a captivating sight as his convulsions sent his impressive dreads spiralling back and forth as his fuzzed up lines reverberated around the room backed up by Andy’s deft drumming skills.
Iron Void are no strangers to the city, and the Wakefield trio were last here when supporting Goatess at Scruffy Murphy’s earlier in the year. This show was billed as an album launch showcase, although not for their soon to be released second album Doomsday.
The Asylum gig actually marked the launch of their debut full length release, self-titled, which has been handled by Fear Me Music – promoters of tonight’s show. All paying punters received a copy of the vinyl release which along with the chance to see around half-a-dozen bands on the night had to make the £10 entry the biggest steal since Ronnie Biggs was holding up postal trains.
With a spinning red light transforming the stage into something approaching an Amsterdam executive club, Iron Void launched into album opener ‘Tyrant’s Crown’. The focus was very much on celebrating the debut Iron Void album so those of us already familiar with its doomladen qualities instantly picked out early favourites such as ‘I Am War’ and the momentous ‘Mad Monk’.
Iron Void have never been a doom band content to build a set around three songs. Their outpourings are crisper but still unmistakeably doom both in spirit and soul. Frontman Sealey, never without his faithful bandana wrapped around his head, has a great rough vocal style. This in turn works well alongside Steve’s cleaner tones and the two Void vocalists work well together with Damian maintaining a steady throb from behind his kit.
‘Those Who Went Before’ was the perfect tribute to Iron Void’s friend and former Grimpen Mire frontman Paul Van Linden, who sadly died recently. A benefit show is forthcoming at the Rainbow in Brum with stacks of good bands booked.
There was a lighter moment when Sealey put out a plea for some zombie dancing to accompany the song ‘Metropolis – City Of The Dead’. Much to his delight this plea was rewarded with an impressive half-dozen fellas launching into a Walking Dead routine while the doom flowed like syrup on the stage.
‘Burden Of Regret’ brought things back down to a more sedate pace before Iron Void offered a brief insight into soon to be released follow-up album Doomsday, in ‘The Devil’s Daughter’. It hints at an even deeper direction for the band in the future but we’ll hear much more of the new material when the three Yorkshiremen return to play at the Asylum alongside King Heavy on October 28th.
There was also a committed drum solo from Damian that got rid of any cobwebs clinging to the Asylum ceiling.
The whole night ended memorably with a perfectly executed version of Sabbath’s ‘Electric Funeral’.
1. Tyrant’s Crown
2. I Am War
3. The Mad Monk
4. Those Who Went Before
5. Own Worst Enemy
6. Black Mirror
8. Metropolis – City of the Dead
9. The Burden of Regret
11. The Devil’s Daughter
12. Suicide Sorcerer
13. Electric Funeral