Wednesday, November 13, 2013


It's been quite a while since I came in Paris for the last time to attend a Stoner/Doom gig; it's not that it's rare to have great gigs in the capital - but most of the time for me, who needs to take the train and got about 4 hours of travelling to get there, it implies to take a day off from work, thus this needs reflection and often concerns bands that I get to see for the 1st time like Wo Fat earlier this year !!! Well, PILGRIM one of the most promising Trad' Doom bands coming out from the US -  playing in Paris with WINDHAND whose 'Soma' is unanimoulsy acclaimed and ice on the cake - my good friends of BARABBAS, this was a mandatory move towards fucking Paris city :) 

Le KLUB was pretty much packed (around 130 - 150 doomheads) and I guess for everyone the whole evening has been pretty memorable ! 
OKLAHOMA SWAMP MONSTER opened the hostilities with an energic set of a bit more than 30 minutes. The trio is young but yet presents serious abilities for a stomping Stoner Rock based on fatty grooves paying hommage to the greatest (Kyuss, Orange Goblin, Down)... but additionally, the guys infuse aptly some breaks of swampy haziness with a slight insidious outlaws flavour which anchors definitely the band's sound with the best US codes of Heavy music. I bought their 5 tracks debut and will probably tell you more about them soon !

setlist : 
Intro - Oklaoma Swamp Monster
One Man Riot
Whyskey Drinkin' Woman
Pallinghurst Morrow
Tactical High
Last of the Mohicans
Poppin Pills one Time Machine

The cellar scene downstairs (used for both opening french bands) is quite small, that's why BARABBAS couldn't play with their usual candles which fit so well with the religious theme of their redemption through riffs and sweat... But that's a detail in the end, cause the guys were ultra-motivated and have played here their best gig of the year. 

The set started with "Horizon Golgotha" and "Barabbas", two classic stonerized Doom pieces of the debut, tonight the buddies slay harsh and I quickly feel the thrill of those memorable moments shared with bloody friends which you remember years later !
Barabbas benefit from a very well-balanced sound, something not always mastered previously and wasn't serving vocals by Rodolphe; this time we can sing, shout, growl all together in harmony and notice definitely that Rod's vocal range is more varied than one can expect from such a molossus ! What better song than the new "Judas est une Femme" to prove it with a true sensibility, the frontman is always at ease and never hesitates to come in the audience, baptized new converted preachers with beer or spite some on others... but on this one (which means "Judas is a woman") the not so rough tattoed giant seduce a few girls with emotion, supported by saint Stephane and his soaring melodies. This is simply brilliant and if "Le Sabbat dans la Cathédrale" (another new song) brings you on another level of overwhelming enjoyment, it's more by its raging up-tempo and neckbreaking chords of crushing heaviness in the long bridge leading to another sonic attack to end the song in a memorable circlepit !!! 
The set ends in an ominous version of another classic "Les 4 Cavaliers", the band is utterly sharped tonight and probably gained more than a couple of new fans; even if they played only two new songs out of five, the guys are now clearly ready for the recording of the new album (starting in januray) which will contain 7 or 8 songs and hopefully should be a fantastic passport to wider horizons on the Live front !!! 

Setlist : 

- Horizon Golgotha
- Barabbas
- Judas est une Femme
- Le Sabbat dans la Cathédrale
- les 4 Cavaliers

Time for the solemn performance of PILGRIM upstairs (both them and Windhand will be playing on the main stage) with the presence of Brad (actually drummer in the almighty Ice Dragon!!!) to compensate the lack of bassist for the tour , after the sudden departure of Count Elric a few months ago... If, logically, Jon "The Wizard"  attracts most of the attention with its aura of grand master of ceremony, one can not forget the human and musical collusion between him and drummer Krolg Splinterfist...

After an excellent debut Album, domestic and Euro tours, Roadburn... the demo era seems very far now and the band gained in maturity, crafting their sound at their image, simple yet racy, crushing and full of misery yet engaging, soaring and infectiously driving !!! 

Considering the band had just recorded its new sophomore album, it was logical to expect new songs from Pilgrim but to have downright 3 new ones was incredible ! I'd say that "Master's Chamber' and "Void Worship" are pure classical PILGRIM Doom with an impressive enhancement on maximized slowification and crushing heaviness. Maybe not as up-beated as "The Adventurer" on the 1st album, "Paladin" sounded a bit different, more of a raging one with hints of northern epic blackness... nice little misdemeanor which remains cohesive in the overall, as the tone keeps always sinister and hauntingly infectious.

Not just for me apparently and again pretty logically, the highlight of the gig was the anthemic "Astaroth", you get time to sit with the track and let Rossi build an incredibly dragging atmosphere, it's not before half way that vocals soar with grace and despaired emotiveness... a fabulous song which in some way is very representative of the band's sound !!!  One can regret the relative short length of the performance which prevented the guys to play the song "Misery Wizard", but this set gave HIGH expectations towards this much-anticipated album due to be released in the 1st weeks of next spring. Much respect and big thanx to PILGRIM for being such awesome wizards of the truest form of DOOM, also much dedicated and appreciative to their fans !!! 

setlist : 
Master's Chamber
Void Worship

Hard to not have a consistent break after both those brilliant performances revigorating at 300% the flamme of each doomsters present ! time for some discussions, drinks and spliffs before getting into the mesmerizing sounds of Richmond's wordly acclaimed WINDHAND... 
First, it's a good thing to see that guitarist Asechiah Bogdan is present and recovered from health problems that imposed the band to play as a quatuor on several dates the week before... Probably this fresh comeback played a little role in the massive sonic destruction the band delivered during this excellent set !? I know Steve Miller gave it a stunning and certainly well-deserved review here a couple of months ago but it's a fact that I didn't took enough time yet to make "Soma" a serious contender on the top of my end-of year list... things could change after their mindblowing performance which luckily for me included a good balance between old and new songs (2 from the debut, one from the split with Cough and 2 from "Soma") ! 

In the days before preceding the set, I had read a couple of somewhat disturbing comments about the vocals of Dorthia Cottrell in Live conditions - being apparently a bit weak, after all she wouldn't be the first to sound too different from the studio works, women as vocalists being sometimes drowned into too massive sounds and/or eventually suffering from thin physical resistance in sometimes hard touring conditions... !? Well, if her tone might have suffered in a few moments of accuracy - but honestly the sound of Windhand in studio is really particular and it's almost impossible to retranscribe such bewitching deepness Live,  I think she was pretty convincing and totally into her set which was not something easy for sure with such a crashing performance from her fellows !!! 

I knew what WINDHAND were capable of in terms of monolithic heaviness but was nicely surprised by the dramatic and tensed strenght they put in; sure this is extremely heavy and mesmerizing but beyond sonic considerations with dissonance and massive fuzziness, there's a palpable energy that keeps you in a delightful state of half transcendencal journey, half neckbreaking captivation !!! Definitely great and as I told them when leaving that's a very cool perspective to know I'll get to see those nice people again at next Heavy Days in Doomtown :)

setlist :
Winter Sun
Summon the Moon

An excellent gig on many points, the sound was very good for everyone, not too loud - just perfect;  I would just regret a pretty strange allotment of time-playing between the bands, PILGRIM playing almost 10 minutes shorter than the opening act O.M.S., that was a bit strange and disappointing 
Anyway, thanx to you all - bands, organizers, friends - for making it definitely a memorable evening of DOOM !!


  1. GREEEAT READING ! Many thanx for the maximum supportum, Magister !


  2. Your live reports are always awesome and informative Stéphane, details of the set lists and great photos too, thanks!