By Andrew Bansal
October 8th 2015, Complex, Glendale CA: In the leadup to their appearance at this year’s California Deathfest in Oakland on October 11th 2015, longtime German funeral doom metal group Worship completed a short US West Coast tour with support acts Lycus (replacing original main support band Loss) and Shroud Of The Heretic, and visited the Los Angeles area as part of the run, for a gig at Complex in Glendale last Thursday October 8th. Put together by Church Of The 8th Day and The Elegy Ensemble, the gig also featured Volahn as a local support act. This show was booked several months ago, and doomheads as well as Complex regulars were more than ready for a righteous heavy ritual.
Doors opened at 8:30, and a few minutes past 9, Shroud Of The Heretic started proceedings with a compelling 30-minute set that presented contrasting segments of haunting doom-laden melodies and crushing death metal. Based out of Portland, Oregon (not surprisingly), Shroud Of The Heretic has been in existence since 2011, already with an EP and two full-length releases to their name, and have emerged as yet another noteworthy band from their hometown. Despite their sonic darkness, they actually turned out to be the happiesst sounding band of this lineup.
Next on stage was California black metal band Volahn, who were placed above the touring Shroud Of The Heretic on this bill because of their higher local standing, as they’ve been around since 2003, but they ended up being the weakest band of the show. They fogged out the room so much that it was hard for anyone in the audience to see anything around them, leave alone the band members on stage. Many of the attendees exited the room and took refuge in the smoking patio. When a band fogs out the room to such an extent, people lose interest. Musically, Volahn brought the black metal variety to a show otherwise dominated by doom, but did not make as strong of an impact, and the drummer in particular was not able to keep up with his band mates. Volahn stuck out as the odd one, and not in a good way.
Shortly after, Lycus signalled the onset of the funeral doom vibe that would engulf this room for the remainder of the evening. This Oakland, California based band floored the audience with an otherwordly, ritualistic performance filled with hugely ominous sonic elements. Every guitar note was sustained for maximum longevity and impact, and the sound quality during their set was absolutely perfect, doing full justice to their music and helping bring the audience the best possible Lycus live experience. They not only served as a replacement for Nashville, Tennessee doom/death metal band Loss for this tour, but turned out to be a tremendous addition to this show. Lycus have put forth great shows in the Los Angeles area in the past, but none were as powerful as this one.
And lastly, Worship took it to the next level as the music plunged to greater depths of depression and despair. Los Angeles has witnessed funeral doom from all over the world, thanks to the efforts of the local underground promotional entities such as Elegy Ensemble and Church Of The 8th Day, but there was certainly something unique about Worship. The vocals and spoken-word segments delivered in a deep, low voice by ‘The Doommonger’ came across as very discernibly German (not with the language but with its vibe), instantly transcending the audience to hallucinate over mental images of Bavarian landscapes, and even those that weren’t familiar with the fact that Worship hails from Germany, would have guessed so purely based on the vocal stylings. Besides, the instrumentation complemented the vocals brilliantly, and the result was a devastating onslaught of quintessential yet distinct funeral doom.
This was a late show as Worship didn’t start until half past midnight, so while a small portion of the attendance understandably cleared out towards the latter stages of Worship’s set on this school night, those in the front few rows seemed mesmerized, and stayed till the end. All in all, the Complex faithful felt fortunate that the three touring bands chose this venue as a stop along their journey, and the next Worship, Lycus and Shroud Of The Heretic gigs are already in eager anticipation. Doom reigned supreme over Complex yet again.
For full video coverage of the show, visit Arturo Gallegos’ YouTube channel.
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