Dopethrone + Gurt @ Asylum 2, Birmingham – Monday 23rd June 2014


Review by Paul Castles Pictures by Helen Moss/ABSTRACT PHOTOS

The debilitating heat in Brazil was just one of a myriad of reasons put forward by pundits of the great game as to why, once again, our woeful national football team floundered on foreign soil. Maybe the next time England travel to such a hothouse abroad the pre-nuptials could include a doom night at the Asylum. The humidity was so intense at the closet-like Birmingham venue that even the ice cubes were sweating buckets.

Whether or not a night of doom is what Stevie G and the rest of Roy’s miscreants need at the moment is probably unlikely as the depths of misery being endured by the players would suggest doom is a companion they are all too familiar with at present. Having painted the picture for you of what proved to be another memorable Fear Me Music promotion, it’s down to the bands, Gurt and headliners Dopethrone.

Both were completely absorbing on what was the opening night of their UK/Euro tour and showed why the doom genre is much more diverse than may appear on the surface.


Gurt have been making something of a name for themselves and it’s not difficult to see why. Their wonderfully named debut album Horrendosaurus has enough sludge to fill a swimming pool and under their all consuming crushing sound drowning does appear the only way out.

Frontman Gareth Kelly has a great voice, a really barbed weapon that he uses to memorable  effect. While comfortable bedfellows with the doom scene, Gurt play with more dynamism than most, injecting a real free spirit into their sound.

At the Asylum the pressure levels were maintained at close to max, while they also exhibited their ability to thrash things up with numbers like ‘Sludge Puppies’.

The Londoners are carved from the same stone as the likes of EyeHateGod and their surging riff assault certainly lay down a marker for the evening’s headline act.


Dopethrone hail from Canada although it’s not the nation’s famous Maple Leaf emblem from which they draw their inspiration. It’s a leaf from a very different plant, on which they focus, unless of course they’ve had one puff too many, in which case the picture starts to become distinctly hazy.

Dopethrone’s entire musical catalogue pays homage to their favoured leisured pursuit with song titles such as ’Hooked’ and ‘Storm Reefer’ leaving little to the imagination. Named after an Electric Wizard album, Dopethrone delve deep into the psychedelic landscape and wasted no time in bringing some Montreal mayhem to the Asylum stage.

Colourful frontman Vince seemed to take great pleasure in announcing ‘here’s another one about drugs’ before the trio crashed and clattered their way through more fun and games from the kaleidoscopic playground. The distorted riffs are heavier than a prize bull but allow some daylight to filter through to maintain the vibrancy. Man mountain drummer Borman looks like the kind of fella who if confronted by a grizzly bear on his porch would simply kick its ass while bassist Vyk throws down lines so heavy you could drive a tram on them.


Even though watching a band through a cloud of wispy smoke is now an experience a whole generation of kids will never get to share in, such was the pummeling spirit of the 70s pumped out by the Canadian trio that you could almost sense the smoke circles floating through the air like on some of Indian reservation.

There was more fuzz going on than in an old episode of The Sweeney, while the feeling of suffocating evil and darkness transformed The Asylum into a baying sweating cauldron of Satan worshippers. Occasionally on the opening night of a tour there are few teething problems. On this night they were concentrated on a certain Uruguayan football.

Gurt and Dopethrone were on the ball in every sense.