Genre: , ,
RATING: 
BANDS: Dead Witches + Black Rainbow + Giobia + Deadsmoke
DATE: 22nd February, 2019
LOCATION: ‘The Borderline’, London (EU)
EVENT: Heavy Psyche Sounds showcase tour

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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….

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The music of Deadsmoke is so downtuned that you’d almost think only dogs can hear the band play. But it turns out that myself and my fellow humans could still discern the band’s sound and what I did hear was some very dark and very scary Sludge.
Deadsmoke

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…

Gian (Deadsmoke bassist)

 

 

Deadsmoke
Deadsmoke
Giöbia had Hawkwind psychedelia written all over them with each item of their set merging into the next. Evoking emotions via spaced-out sonic atmospheres seemed to be the band’s prime objective. Consequentially, the vocals were laden with effects, sometimes to the point of indecipherability.
Giöbia

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:

GIÖBIA (l. to r.): Stefano (drums), Saffo (vocals, keyboards), Bazu (string instruments), Paolo (bass).

 

Giöbia

 

Giöbia
Giöbia
Another trio was up next. Black Rainbows’ Stoner Doom was groovy and lively – this translated into several opportunities for the audience to bang their heads and play air guitar. As they blazed through their set, the band reminded me of Monster Magnet and sometimes even of Orange Goblin. While not sounding excessively tight, the guitar had a tremendous sound and overall the band had a solid presence.
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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:

Gabriele, of Black Rainbows and Heavy Psych Records

 

Black Rainbows
Black Rainbows

 

 

Black Rainbows
This was a special show for headliners Dead Witches since tonight the band launched their brand new album “The Final Exorcism”. In fact they virtually played the album end to end. Dead Witches was formed by drummer Mark Greening, who had previously made a name for himself in bands such as Electric Wizard and With The Dead (the latter band featuring Lee Dorian, of Cathedral/Napalm Death fame). The music of Dead Witches feels like a continuation of With The Dead but with female vocals…so you have a Doom that is dark, caustic and dense with riffs.

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.

Dead Witches

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.

DEAD WITCHES (l. to r.): Carl Geary (bass), Soozi Chameleone (vocals), Mark Greening (drums), the interviewer, Oliver ‘Irongiant’ Hill (guitars)
Dead Witches
Dead Witches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead Witches
Dead Witches
Dead Witches
Dead Witches

 

Dead Witches
Dead Witches

 

Dead Witches
Dead Witches

All words, interviews and live photography by Chris Galea (© 2019)