So, I got the opportunity to attend the relatively new Northern Discomfort Festival (it’s their second year running) at Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen the coming weekend – and after having been unconsciously moping for the last couple of months due to not being able to go to Roadburn (this epiphany came when things got really serious on social media with everybody and his dog getting ready for their yearly pilgrimage – of course that was what was happening!), this actually seems like a perfect medicine…
The line-up for the festival seems impressively varied and broad, getting to several nooks and crannies in the sludge/doom/stoner genres, and I’m really looking forward to visiting the new Ungdomshuset (the old one at Jagtvej 69 was my favorite venue while still living in Copenhagen – and don’t get me started on all the shit that had to happen in order for the power-elite to ensure that it ceased to exist!)
Anyway, I’ll try to make a few preview posts outlining the bands on the line up, and then do some coverage of the festival proper when we get there. (Perhaps I’ll even try my hand at a little Facebook-Live streaming from there – “like” the page over at big brother here to get a kick if/when that happens)
For now though – it’s all about the bands. The festival runs for 2 days, and I’ll divide up the previews into 4 posts (early Friday, late Friday, early Saturday, late Saturday)
Which of course means the 4 bands presented below plays the first 4 sets on Friday
[thrive_headline_focus title=”Ockultist (Sweden)” orientation=”left”]
- Demo 2014 [Demo, 2014] – Listen on BandCamp
- Gray Mass (Grå massa) [Single, 2014] – Listen on BandCamp
- Demo 2016 [Demo, 2016] – Listen on BandCamp
- Present Day Neglect [Album, 2017] – Listen on BandCamp
Ockultist seems to be the perfect way to get the festival started and get everyone in exactly the right mood and mindset for 2 days of sludge/doom/fuzz onslaught.
Playing harsh, abrassive, fuzzy doom, they might not be breaking new ground as such, but they definitely manage to invoke both despair and immense pleasure. As with most doom-trios they let the guitar-bass combo create all the wall of despair and fuzz, leaving the drums to create the variation and propulsion for the music to thrive on.
Add to that impressive throaty vocals to lead us straight to the bowels of whatever hell is in store for us once the current hell of the human condition on this sorry hell-hole of a planet expires.
A bit like being hit right in the face by an orc with a war-mace.
Cleans by OCKULTIST, released 03 March 2016
[thrive_headline_focus title=”Confusion Master (Germany)” orientation=”left”]
- Witch Pollution [Demo, 2016] – Listen on BandCamp
Confusion Master play more of a traditional take on doom, leaning heavily(!) on the early masters, with guitar breaks and solos of a more of a psychedelic orientation, and vocals dripping with frustration and anguish.
Delightfully, they’re taking their time, building their compositions slowly and carefully, resulting in their 4 tracks on their 2016 demo Witch Polution clocking in at a combined 40+ minutes.
The material has got a nice balance of the more straightforward doomy parts and more harsh, dischordant sounds – again underlined admirably by those vocal cries of abandonment and pleas for help.
And going out with a pretty rad take on the Venom classic Buried Alive, the demo leaves me wanting more.
from the album WR#45 CONFUSION MASTER – Witch Pollution
[thrive_headline_focus title=”Shakhtyor (Germany)” orientation=”left”]
- Shakhtyor [Album, 2012] – Listen on BandCamp
- Tunguska [Album, 2015] – Listen on BandCamp
- Phobos [EP, 2017] – Listen on BandCamp
OK – everybody who knows me just a tiny bit knows I’m a sucker for almost anything “post” (except for postal services), and there’s quite a bit of post seeping into Shakhtyor‘s crushing, terrifying instrumental sludge.
On both of their (equally fantastic) albums they eminently accomplishes both the unrelenting listener-enslavement to the repetitive riff, taken to its bludgeoning extreme, while still managing to inject their compositions with a sense of progress and variation, creating a vision that contains both bleakness and beauty.
I will prepare to be hypnotized!
Solaris by SHAKHTYOR, released 24 April 2015
[thrive_headline_focus title=”Guevnna (Japan)” orientation=”left”]
- Demo 2012 [Demo, 2012]
- Aguirre / Guevnna [Split, 2014] – Listen on BandCamp
- Conspiracies [EP, 2015] – Listen on BandCamp
- Black Temple Below / Guevnna [Split, 2015] – Listen on BandCamp
- Guevnna / Self Deconstruction [Split, 2016] – Listen on BandCamp
- Heart Of Evil [Album, 2016] – Listen on BandCamp
Guevnna from Japan are freezing the tempo has been frozen to near minimum in a grinding display of brutal, unrelenting blues-based doom.
Expect copious amounts of fuzz, overlaid with something even more festering and ominous – primarily coming from the vocals and the overall structure of the compositions.
The further you get in their releases, and especially on the Heart Of Evil album, they do speed things up somewhat and in that also hitting on something of a punkish nerve.
Deathbed by GUEVNNA, released 09 September 2015