Leading off the night was SOM, a four piece from New England made up of current and former members of Constants, Junius and Caspian. Their sound is heavy and dense with a somber vibe. The four musicians performed in front of green and white lights which created silhouettes of the band lurking in the foggy haze. An apropos setting for a band that has been hailed as doom pop. The thick distorted guitars played out to a battering of drums while the light and airy vocals danced over the music.
Performing a number of songs off their 2022 release, The Shape of Everything as well as one cover from their recently released EP Faith which features 4 Depeche Mode covers. They surely gained some new fans over their half hour set. Their sound certainly piqued my interest and already had me digging deeper into their work.
Following the impressive performance by SOM was the dark electronic artist Gost. Performing live with a bassist that turned back the clock as well as a few heads. There were a few murmurs in the crowd regarding what was to come. Some referred to them as dance-able metal while others could only speculate.
The duo flanked a couple banners that featured three sigils while yet again the musicians were primarily backlit to obscure the view and create a more brooding atmosphere. Gost donned a skull mask while performing on a couple synthesizers off to the side. Lunging up and down while gestering to the crowd and being fully enthralled in the live recreation of his music.
There was a dark retro vibe to the music, a gritty gothic sound that shook the venue. Lots of low end fuzz emanating from the live bass guitarist while Gost handled the rest on the keyboards and laptop.
It was an interesting sleazy soundscape and something that would fit right in at the Ground Zero nightclub just across the river on the north side of town. Squinting my eyes as I noticed the number of people dancing to it almost felt like we were already there.
Katatonia has been a staple in my music collection ever since I first came across their song “Deadhouse” on a Century Media sampler CD back in ‘98. The soothing sound of the harmonized vocals of that song pulled me in. Although, perhaps it was more the tension created by what seems more like disharmony that what so appealing.
Katatonia was originally formed as a studio project by Jonas Renkse and Anders Nyström in ‘91. Those two eventually added more members to the band and started performing live. Over their 30+ year career that included some lineup changes they have progressed their sound and dabbled in new sonic textures while still emulating that darkness that they were based on. From their early days a death/doom band to the more progressive sounds of recent years, they’ve covered a number of styles.
While Nyström is taking a bit of time away from the band Renkse and current company are out on tour in support of their twelfth studio album, Sky Void of Stars. The theme of obscurity reared its head once again as the four members performed on a hazy backlit stage. Their setlist was comprised of material they’ve created over the last 10 years. Focusing primarily on the recently recorded album it was good to hear the evolution of their sound as those older songs were peppered into the setlist now and then.
While the crowd was on the lighter side Renkse and the other bands applauded all those that came out on Sunday night. He commented “Wish we were here on a Saturday. It would have been carnage but Sunday is okay too“.
These Swedish dark metal masters have a way of creating beautifully bleak compositions that keeps me coming back for more. While they don’t often tour this way all that much at least I can satiate that craving by listening to their albums when the urge hits