Friday, June 14, 2013

...LIVE Report : DOPETHRONE / HUATA / BUDDHA SENTENZA - Heidelberg 31th May 2013 !!!

The 31rd of may – a date that was marked a long time ago in my schedule, as it should have been in the schedule of all doomsters around Heidelberg. The first time that such an event takes place in this romantic and picturesque city! As I have already told Ronan (Huata’s singer) at HDDT in Copenhagen: “Huata and Dopethrone are the first doom bands ever playing in Heidelberg!” (in any case in the past few years)

Correspondingly, the audience grew steadily until Dopethrone’s performance shortly before midnight. There were a lot of faces I have already met at other underground gigs at more or less farther locations indeed, but I have also seen unknown faces and met people who traveled to this gig from other parts of Germany. Small wonder, considering the great lineup and the surprisingly favourable price of the ticket!

However, right after the opening of the gates, the number of attendants is still very manageable. But already when the local support BUDDHA SENTENZA start to paint their cosmic landscapes, a bunch of curious figures gathers slightly cautiously before the stage. It doesn’t take long and the ice is broken – BUDDHA SENTENZAs atmospheric sound takes you on a seemingly endless journey to distant spheres, only to toss you back sometimes to reality with their massive riffs and pounding drums. Their sound may be characterized as a mixture of the several outstanding elements that psychedelic, stoner, spacerock and Black Sabbath have to offer. Combining their diversified, intense sound with the perfectly matched light show, the audience is slowly led through floating soundscapes with psychedelic elements and the “free-spirit-feeling” the guys describe their music with. Amongst others, their songs include “Time Wave Zero”, “Arrested Development” (both from their new release) and “Black Coal Funera”l (from their release in 2009).

After some fresh beer, the crowd gathers in front of the stage again. Soon, HUATA’s powerful sound booms out of the boxes and an intense, rituous experience of occult forces begins. For around 60 minutes  we, the audience, are made part of a ceremony clad in shivering vibes and lead by the distinctive summons of Ronan’s unique voice. Like lambs, we go slowly with the deep vibes – or are grabbed by pounding riffs and straightforward, energetic drum sounds. Actually, I do not care how they do it, but HUATA turn us all into their followers, infuse us with dark forces and let us forget anything but the exclusive microcosm around the Halle02 in Heidelberg. Yet, their sound offers great variety – although there is great diversity in it, the elements are arranged very creatively, so that they create something as a whole. The same it is with their performance – it does not matter if Ronan stays on stage playing the devotional chords on the hammond organ or if he descends and continues his prayers among the audience. In either case, the entire experience is intense without exceptions and this is not at least due to the well-chosen projections above the stage.
Their setlist includes the songs “The Retaliator” and “Hercolubus” from their recent split with Bitcho (which has a stunning cover artwork, by the way!), as well as songs from Atavist of Mann (Lords of the Flame, Thee Imperial Wizard, Operation Mistletoe) and from their EP Open the Gates of Shambhala (Alchemist Reborn).

Right after HUATA’s last song, the merchandise corner fills up with excited attendants, so that there is only little time left to catch a great LP or T-Shirt until DOPETHRONE’s first heavy tones reverberate through the quite ample location. Soon, the first rows are drawn nearer to the edge of the stage and
the space in front of the stage fills up. It does not take long and the dark energy flowing out of the boxes and rolling off the bandmembers seems to seize us all. You see hair and fists cutting the air and you feel how everyone becomes part of the same experience: heavy, suffocating sludge mixed up with the right portion of fast, straightforward parts and a huge pinch of destructive, latent aggression that seems to have been suppressed for too long – a beast, longing now for its release, ready to demolish, full of filthy dark energy. The lighting of the stage and the plain Dopethrone-logo on the wall underscore this atmosphere – no additional projections or light shows are needed (actually, the drummer even asks for dimmer lighting). Just the pure, oppressive, blackened mix of sludge and doom without compromise. 
Without compromise are the vocals as well – crushing, harsh and with eyes shut sounding like some animal’s menace out of the dark. It is really stunning, what a big force can be built up by only three guys hauling the most grimy, pulsating grooves out of their instruments. With songs like Porcelain God, Reverb Deep and Storm Reefer they start their mean, but groovy crusade through Heidelberg’s night. Their setlist is a perfect mix of older songs, such as Demonsmoke or Zombie Powder and the title track from Dark Foil, and powerful new ones like Devil’s Dandruff. Of course, we do not want to let them go after a good hour of being exposed to their great and solid perfomance – as a thank-you, we get our bonus song, the very unique version of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

Although it was hard to let them go and to realize that the whole gig is over, I remember this evening as an extraordinarily great one. Thus, I have to say many thanks to my friends of HERB concerts, who do their best to organize a couple of underground concerts with great bands in the rather dead region around Heidelberg! It was a perfect line-up and a pleasant atmosphere – and, finally, to conclude: a fucking huge evening with great bands who definitely did justice to other doom-infected events and made this first gathering in this region a solid foundation for further ones.

Thanx a lot to Melinda for this cool report, more pictures of this gig will be soon posted  watch out for this soon through her FB page :

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