Review by Chop and photos by Mark Lloyd
It’s always nice to break yourself into the New Year gently. Three interviews, three bands to analyse, what more could a reviewer want? Before launching into the bands’ appraisals a quick pat on the back for the venue and staff seems in order: always polite, always efficient, guest list always ready and accurate. Thanks to all involved for making this part of the evening run so smoothly. Without further ado, to the bands…
Selected to get the evening under way were local doomsters Alunah. Sophie’s greeting earlier in the evening of a clutched throat and wave meant that everything was crossed for her voice to hold up throughout the set. Initially things went well, but the less said about the last song the better. One song too far I’m afraid, and hopefully there won’t be any lasting damage to her vocal chords. Can’t fault the ‘show must go on’ attitude though. Musically the band was in fine form, and visually the projector onto the bass drum was a nice touch. Four lengthy compositions off their recently released second album showcased the band’s abilities well. Best wishes to Sophie for a speedy recovery!
Set list: Demeter’s Grief, White Hoarhound, Oak Ritual, Belial’s Fjord
Lonely Kamel were playing their first ever show in the UK. On the evidence of this set they’ll be playing a lot more gigs over here, and hopefully soon. Good as Alunah’s sound was, Lonely Kamel sounded massive, with slicing guitar tones and a perfectly mic-ed drumkit. Classing them as a stoner outfit is selling them somewhat short; their three quarters of an hour set encompassed aspects of classic rock, doom, stoner, and blues rock to name but a few. Such was their crossover appeal that they’d have fitted comfortably on a bill with a whole gamut of bands – Wolf, Orange Goblin, and Year Long Disaster sprang immediately to mind. It’s astonishing that a band that have been around as long as they have, with three albums under their belt, have such a low profile over here. If their performances on the rest of the tour are anywhere near as good as this, you’ll be hearing a lot more about these guys. Journalists have a reputation for being a cynical bunch, and much of the time it’s true. Then you witness a set like this, grin from ear to ear, and realise just why you enjoy going to gigs so much. Solid as a rock musically, with a frontman from the Mikael Akerfeldt school of banter, expect great things from them. Absolutely stunning.
Set list: The Boys, Don’t Piss On The Lizard, I’m Your God, Rotten Seed, Damn You’re Hot, Evil Man, Stick With Your Plan, Spacerider
Tough act for The Sword to follow then? Maybe so, but with seventy minutes stage time and the benefit of four albums worth of material and ten years’ experience to draw upon, it proved to be well within their capabilities. Perhaps you could question the selection of songs played, and perhaps the lack of audience involvement and crowd addresses could be held against them, but otherwise this was the best I’ve seen them play since they supported Nebula on The Age Of Winters tour.
New drummer Jimmy has settled in remarkably well; he hits the kit frighteningly hard, whilst utilising considerable finesse with his fills and runs. The dual guitar work and thumping bass is as solid as ever. Being picky, some of the slower material dragged a little, but the more up tempo songs more than compensated for this. All in all a return to form, a quality display to round off a thoroughly enjoyable evening, with the bar set very high for future gigs to surpass. Looks like 2013 could be quite a year!!
Set list: Apocryphon, Freya, Hammer Of Heaven, Tres Brujas, How Heavy This Axe, Cloak Of Feathers, The Hidden Masters, Dying Earth, Maiden, Mother & Crone, To Take The Black, Seven Sisters, Arrows In The Dark, The Horned Goddess, Veil Of Isis. Encore; Winters Wolves.
And you can see more shots from the show here or by clicking ‘play’ below: