Live: Russian Circles / Deafheaven – Speakeasy Bar, Belfast, 26 April 2012.
Anticipation and expectation reign supreme in the Speakeasy this evening, the crowd restless but positive, aware that they’re in for a treat tonight. And boy, are they right.
San Francisco’s Deafheaven are first to creep onto the stage, their reverb laden, slow ambience building to crescendos of brutal intensity, to which even the blackest of metal heads couldn’t help but bang their heads.
These guys tick all the boxes, sounding like the illegitimate offspring from a night of hot pounding between Mogwai’s “Young Team” and Immortal’s “Battles In The North”. It’s hard to imagine black metal with such obviously space-rock, even ambient tendencies, working, yet Deafheaven’s textured catharsis transcends genre perfectly and makes for an epic live experience.
The crowd is bathed in an ocean of fuzz, simultaneously uplifting and aggressive, with seemingly possessed vocalist George Clarke’s guttural, inhuman vocals piercing through the noise like a circular saw. A lot of the audience doesn’t seem to know what to think at first, but by the end there are definitely some new fans in the room.
When the headline act appear it’s to rapturous applause, and it’s easy to understand why. Russian Circles’ latest full length effort, Empros, has been rocking the world of every set of ears it touches, which is good because tonight’s set (cut short due to Guitarist Mike Sullivan having damaged his thumb in Prague) is chock full of it.
Their songs progress like an epic journey from the valley of serenity to the soaring heights of the mega-riff. We, the travelling companions, follow with awe, hypnotized by the intricacies and pummeled by the heaviness.
Every song sounds as if it was the recorded version, all sounds perfect, the only difference being that this is the perfect version, the ultimate. The tones are fuller, the drums hit harder and the bass has become the driving underbelly of this tamed beast.
This is one of those shows that feels as if the songs are playing the musicians. They act as channels for the music into the world, like priests at a pulpit preaching the sermon of the riff to the happy congregation.
Posted by Eoin Boylan
Tags: 26 April 2012, Belfast, Deafheaven, Eoin Boylan, live review, Russian Circles, Speakeasy Bar