Review by Emily Castles
It’s a sell-out at The Garage in Islington this evening thanks to the considerable dual attraction of Ghent’s black metal howlers Wiegedood and the crushing doom delivery of Oregon’s Yob. For these types of gigs, featuring two equally magnificent pulls, it is often a genre-led occasion. ‘An evening of Death Metal’. ‘An evening of True Norwegian Black Metal’. So this is a refreshing evening of contrasting and diverse sounds, unified by combined underlying levels of brutality and darkness.
Wiegedood have the authenticity and rawness of early Mayhem, with staggering melodic interludes of open chords and picking that give the band a near jaw-dropping technical complexity, which looks past 1990s Black Metal foundations. In north London tonight the trio exist merely as silhouettes against a stage of red as though a window through which to gaze into the perilous pits of Satan’s lair. As ever with Wiegedood, there is no conversation and no introductions. No small talk and certainly no jokes.
These are demonic souls cast out of Hell to haunt the people of Earth with their sound of unrelenting pain and misery. Formed in 2014, Wiegedood this year sealed the final slab of their remarkable De Doden Hebben Het Goed albums. Tonight’s set features no more than five songs, although ‘compositions’ may be a more appropriate term such are their sustained attacks, or a ‘soundtrack’ to melancholy. Their 45 minute set left me yearning for more of their Satanic underworld.
They are followed on stage by the esteemed American doom trio, Yob. First formed in 1996 (with a brief hiatus between 2006-08) simply having them back on our shores is cause enough for celebration tonight. Frontman Mike Scheidt suffered a potentially life-threatening illness a couple of years ago and so when their latest album Our Raw Heart was released earlier this year it was greeted with both elation and relief.
With influences stretching back to the likes of Black Sabbath, and even Led Zeppelin, Yob’s long drawn out chords ring out behind the echoing melodic vocals of Schiedt. In contrast to the raw and largely indistinguishable vocals of Wiegedood vocalist Levy Seynaeve, Yob’s sound is more of anguish, groans of misery and despair which could easily provide the backdrop for a broken Heathcliff roaming the bleak Yorkshire Moors.
Towards the end of their set, Schiedt humorously informs us: “We have two songs left…they are short-ish.” Just like Wiegedood, Yob are a band that produce compositions and soundtracks. Their performance is about creating a setting.
As previously mentioned, the new album details and traces a torturous year for Schiedt from which he has finally thankfully emerged into a brighter place. ‘The Screen’ is a beautifully crafted depiction of some of that personal pain and suffering, whilst the album’s exhaustive title track ‘Our Raw Heart’ carries a tangible sense of rawness and restlessness. It is a soundtrack to Schiedt’s personal journey and tonight, unsurprisingly, it proves particularly harrowing.
This was an atmospheric, ethereal evening at The Garage. You do not simply listen to bands like Wiegedood and Yob, you experience them.