Sunday, 6 March 2016

Bell Witch, Wrekmeister Harmonies & Welwitsch @Turbo Haus, Montréal, March 5th 2016

Before the end of my spring break, I had a dark rendervous at Turbo Haus for a slow metal evening. The two American west coast bands were accompanied by a local opener

Welwitsch (not even sure about the spelling as it wasn't clear on the event)

A new Montréal band with nothing released yet, this trio plays sludgey stoner/doom but do nothing to actually distinguish itself in the populated doom ocean. The drummer (a member of the black metal band Perchten, I think?) also handles the vocals but those weren't quite convincing, they're in the semi-harsh style that Matt Pike is known for but they lacked conviction and power. The guitar tone was huge and sounded really good and the compositions, while generic, are decent enough and for what I assume were one of their first gigs ever, they knew what they were doing. I'm happy Montréal's doom scene is starting to grow but I'd like some innovation, still they were a good opener.

Wrekmeister Harmonies

The collective formed by J.R. Robinson (guitar, vocals) appeared here as a quartet with the help of Bell Witch's two members on drums and bass and also a woman who handled the keys, some vocals and the violin. Most of their tracks are long crescendos starting with ambient, post, drone moments and finishing with heavy parts influenced by sludge, doom and the likes, the performance offered here wasn't different. For the first ten minutes or so, we were served some very atmospheric ambient with ethereal clean vocals( both male and female vocal chords were used), violin and some clean guitar playing. Things got heavier when the headlining guys joined as the rhythm section! Robinson looked like a madman (the alluring and gentle sort) with his grey beard and his mix of harsh and commanding vocals, he's a strong presence, that's for sure. The song (50 minutes or so?) seemed like a track they wrote for the tour since it's not from their latest album (Night of your Ascension). Even if it was a bit repetive at times and they could be tighter, it was highly entrancing, sombre music and the respectful crowd seemed really into them, it was profoundly quiet for the duration of their set. 

Bell Witch

I was a bit skeptical about how good can a funeral doom duo be live but the Seattle based project were convincing. The perfectly executed six strings bass antics of Dylan Desmond combined with the blistering heaviness of drummer's Jesse Shreibman really brought the experience to the next level. Their set comprised of three long movements such as the 22 minutes opener of Four Phantoms, their latest album, was intense and managed to suck my energy with how emotionally charged it was. Even if they're only 2 guys, there's a large amount of subtleties in their performance, from the intricate bass tapping to the non complex but totally intelligent drumming.

Drained, I rode the metro with the feeling that I've spent an happy evening listening to truly mesmerising music about death.

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