Playing a set entirely from the new album A Harrowed Dawn (Secret Law Records) the new look Iron Witch take to a stage so dark that if they weren’t making noise you might not have known they were there. In many ways the absence of any real visual spectacle emphasising the churning torment of their harrowing sound, although they might have overdone it with the darkness.
The spectacularly deep bass rumble reverberated everything right to the back of the room. The effect is very much that of sitting inside a house whilst storm clouds flex their muscles outside, powerful, dark and brooding with ominous overtones, punctuated by the tortured roars of Dave Mould, which given the fact you can barely make out his silhouette make you fear for his safety.
The crowd stand close together slowly nodding hypnotically as the doom permeated the marrow of those present, there were a surprisingly large number of kissing couples visible throughout, presumably getting a last one in before the end of days.
The two-piece Black Cobra have a driving relentless energy with pounding beats and powerful riffs which bristles with rough and ready almost punkish energy. With a rock solid rhythm and tight as hell, they play to a larger crowd than Iron Witch.
Driven largely by drummer Rafael Martinez who beats his drums so hard I can only assume they’d somehow angered him recently. Black Cobra have a surprisingly large sound and very big tone to the set, the harsh barked vocals working well with the electric riffs.
Throughout the set the crowd grew larger and larger. However, as their set progressed the sound was a bit too uniform, which coupled with very little in the way of crowd interaction, did leave their set feeling as though it was beginning to outstay its welcome by the time it ended.
When YOB took to the stage there was no doubting who the majority of the crowd were here to see, from smallish crowds to packed like sardines in minutes. Starting off with ‘Ball of Molten Lead’ and continuing with songs like ‘Atma’ and ‘Breathing from the Shallows’ their sound is both bruising and beautiful, wave after wave of riffs wash and crash over the audience in equal measure.
Yob play music which will open your mind, the riffs are so intense that they do this in much the same way as a sledgehammer might. The highlight of the set for most of the fans was their delivery of the epic ‘Marrow’ a song which has taken on almost legendary status amongst fans who’ve seen it performed live. Tonight was no disappointment in that regard: “I’ve seen ‘Marrow’ live, I can die a happy man” being a phrase heard more than a few times in the crowd.
Finishing their wildly emotive set to thunderous applause this was a truly amazing experience. Of special note Mike Schiedt, pausing only briefly to put his glasses on, then almost ran to the front of the stage to begin chatting with fans, and partaking in many a selfie as though it was the most important thing to him right then. That was an especially nice thing to see that the emotional connection felt in the crowd ran both ways.