I’ve been noticing an emerging trend where record labels organise their own festivals/gigs/tours, primarily to showcase their roster of bands. Amongst these are Mighty Music, of Denmark, and Rocksector Records, of England. Heavy Psych Sounds has also started to do this, clearly a strategy aimed at enhancing its profile as much as it aims for short-term gains.
The record label, based in Italy, specialises in Stoner Doom and related sub-genres, and in February organised showcase gigs in England (London), Belgium (Brussels) and Holland (Deventer). This review focuses on the England leg of this enterprise.
I’ll be honest here….most of the bands I heard for the first time while preparing for the gig. This is in fact a music niche distinct even from Traditional and Epic Doom. But one of the pleasures of writing for a Metal webzine is discovering new (‘new’ for me, at least) talent.
First impressions were of a professionally and well-organised event. While they entered the venue, punters were politely handed a promo-CD and literature about some of the label’s bands. The merch stand also ran smoothly with members of performing bands seemingly eager to interact with interested fans. The venue was changed twice in a short space of time so I was surprised that this didn’t seem to have been detrimental on attendance figures.
But at the end of the day what really matters is the music. So let’s see how that went….
To the band’s credit, Deadsmoke have a clearly-defined image. A lot of smoke obscured the trio and with strong green lights consistently mingling with that smoke, so what you got was not a band but the silhouettes of three dark demons spewing hellish woes. The downside of this, of course, was that their show was a nightmare for photographers trying to do their job.
I have to say that Deadsmoke played with a palpable passion and intensity and consequentially I quite enjoyed their set.
After their show I shot a few questions at Gianmaria, the band’s bassist, who was surprisingly jovial. Listen to what he had to say…
I felt that the band had a very tight rhythm section and the music was generally imbued with creative attributes, thanks in part to a range of instruments and sounds. Before the show I didn’t imagine I would like Giobia’s set but it turns out they were probably my favourite band of the night.
Before Giobia hit the stage, I had asked them about their music and about their plans for the immediate future:
Flying on the wings of a dirty and grimy sound, the compositions were leaps away from the jamming approach of Giobia and in fact here the songs had their own definite psyche (yeah, intentional pun). This was something the audience seemed to appreciate.
During a conversation I had with guitarist Gabriele Fiori I discovered he is also the owner of Heavy Psych Sounds:
Dead Witches kicked off their show with ‘The Final Exorcism’ and ‘Goddess Of The Night’ but the band hadn’t yet set The Borderline alight. Then, around half-way through their set, they played ‘A World Of Darkness’…from the “Ouija” album of 2017….and from then on the quartet appeared really unstoppable.
Like with Black Rainbows before them, the vocalist of Dead Witches had a tiny element of eloquence missing when communicating with the audience…but other than that, Soozi Chameleone (Dead Witches’ vocalist) was deeply immersed in the band’s repertoire, like an unbound Linda Blair.
Marc Greening was in top form and, technical problems aside, guitarist Oliver Hill also had a great night. I spotted a tattoo of Saint Vitus’ logo on him and that pretty much explains where he is coming from as a guitarist.
Eventually ‘Fear The Priest’ drew the evening to a fitting and triumphant close. If there was an exorcism tonight it must have failed because bands and audience remained as possessed as ever.
All words, interviews and live photography by Chris Galea (© 2019)