There’s heavy and then there’s none more HEAVY. Tonight is a chest-beating display of heavy as bravado. Heavy as punishment. Volume so loud and intense you can feel your skull rattle and vibrate and your guts clench to withstand the impact. So good it hurts.
Liverpool doom merchants Conan get things off to a suitably oppressive start. They describe themselves as being as ‘heavy as interplanetary thunder amplified through the roaring black hole anus of Azathoth’, a fact that is hard to dispute when faced with the sonic sludge oozing from the stage. All you can do is submit and nod. Their job is done and the stage and crowd are perfectly in the zone to greet tonight’s headliners, Californian stoned doom legends Sleep.
Described as ‘the ultimate stoner rock band’, Sleep’s legendary status is well deserved. Having originally disbanded in ’95 when London Records, their major label paymasters at the time, refused to release their now legendary hour-long-one-song-drone workout ‘Dopesmoker’, their reputation continued to grow in their absence as guitarist Matt Pike concentrated on High On Fire. However, when the band reformed in 2009 to play an ATP Festival, they stepped effortlessly back into their towering doom boots as if no time had passed at all and tonight, the noise that they make is utterly earth shattering. Opening with two tracks from their legendary ‘Holy Mountain’ album – ‘Draugonaut’ and the title track, Pike, shirtless and wild, unleashes wave after wave of power in-front of a massive wall of amps, obviously enjoying every second of the colossal noise being created. The sound is incredible. Normally a heavy band’s sound can suffer in a venue this size, often reduced to a dull thud but not tonight, Sleep have more than enough power and amplification behind them to destroy.
Playing the first twenty minutes of their epic ‘Dopemoker’ track, the air fills with the pungent stench of weed as the crowd take their cue to fire up their pipes and spliffs and a few hundred stoners get deep within the zone as Sleep continue to pulverise and groove.
An epic gig. We’re lucky to have them back. Long may they continue to abuse our hearing.
It’s not often that you stumble across a band that love sludge, and space cakes, so much they launched a KickStarter to fund a trip into orbit as the first stoner rock trio to jam in outer space. Gnob are that band, and thank green we’ve found them, and their new EP, Temple Of Sinners – a mind-melting home brew of cosmic dirge that is guaranteed to blow your ears clean off.
Sadly, KickStarter denied their proposed £498,000 space ritual fund-raiser, but this bunch plough on to higher realms regardless. Opening track ‘Curse Of The Jester’ takes a treacherous plunge into some seriously evil aural gloop, before coming up for air to breath the kind of vocal you’d expect to find on Master Of Reality. Bridging the gap between this filthy offering, and the bold psychedelic dimensions that lay ahead, though, is ‘Ceremony’. Five minutes of what’s only describable as shamanic, almost recalling the sitar-like noodling prowess you’d expect to hear hailing from the mystic Goat commune.
As if your ears weren’t smouldering already, ‘Temple Of Sinners’ morphs into a ten-minute psychedelic close, building Sleep-indebted riffs to monolithic heights before hurling into a wonderful haze of warped eastern jams.
Hit play below and let Gnob’s sludge ooze (careful) from your speakers. There’s nothing short of a masterclass in the dark arts of sludge, doom and psych to be found here.
Slayer, Guided by Voices and Mogwai have been announced as the headline acts for next years ATP Weekender in London. Slayer are the obvious surprise headliner who will be once again performing performing classic album ‘Reign In Blood’ in full. They will be joined by Sleep and The Melvins and Mudhoney and and the newly-reformed Codeine will be playing alongside Mogwai. Yuck are the first band to be selected as support to GBV so get tickets now before they sell out at the All Tomorrow’s Parties site from today.
The weekender will be held at Alexandra Palace, London on the weekend of 25th-27th May 2012. Friday-Sunday Weekend Tickets will cost £130 – a limited amount of Early Bird Tickets will be available priced at £120. Friday Day Tickets are priced at £39. Saturday and Sunday Day Tickets are priced at £59.
Many stunning artists, DJs and other activities are to be confirmed for the event in the coming months!
If you are big fan of stoner rock then you really need to watch this documentary Such Hawks Such Hounds. The film made by John Srebalus covers the underground rock scene from 1970-2007 and features interviews discussing stoner, drone, metal and the sludge scene from various bands including Mudhoney, Dead Meadow, Sleep, Kyuss and many more.
This is available on DVD, so order one as this is a definite keeper.