Bloody Hammers, Ironbird, Lacertilia, Full Moon Cardiff
As part of the Download warm up shows that happen every year before the spiritual meet on the hallowed turf of Donnington. This year the Cardiff visitation was from Gothic doomsters Bloody Hammers and some local support. As I arrived at the Full Moon (a venue I've never been to for a gig) I acquired a beer (cider) and settled in for the opening act.
This, as I have just discovered, was Lacertilla's (plural for a group of lizards) first gig as a whole unit. Made up of members from local acts Witches Drum, Culver, Akb'al, Thorun and SBF; Lacertilia came on to little or no fanfare with the instruments kicking in to some frankly heavy as fuck riffage to kick things off, there was little movement from the band but lots of thick sludgy, psychedelic riffs that took you on a trip, possibly similar to the one that shamanistic frontman Fry was on as he arrived on stage and became one with the music. Musically the band have a lot of similarities with early Orange Goblin with lots of time shifts, trippy blissed out passages and a HELL of a lot of heaviness. There was no between song banter just riff after riff after riff with a Fry jumping in and out of the crowd and head banging with the faithful down the front. This was a wild ride of a show, full of ferocity, some excellent riffage and a feel akin to a great trip. This was a great way to start a gig. 8/10
Next was Ironbird and yet more stoner-like metal this time with a punkier edge, musically solid but vocally awful Ironbird really didn't do it for me at all, they had the look of 'your dad's band' and like a said the vocals were not great. I'll leave it there I think. 5/10
So the main event and after a set up the band arrived on stage looking like a Gothic Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Western hatted Anders Manga, his wife Devallia and their band arrived on stage and started things off with Black Magic and then continued with a set drawn mainly from their very new album Under Satan's Sun with the riff heavy Spearfinger, the funeral dirge of The Town That Dreaded Sundown both coming off the new record. Manga's bass was the lead instrument driving the band along with his down tuned rhythms and his strong vocals, he is aided by the drums of Doza that smash down throughout. On top of the voodoo rhythms from Manga and Doza there are the guitars of Bill Fischer that riffed mightily and powered through the solos, the sound was filled out by the organs and mellotrons of Devallia who brought the creepy Gothic vibe to their doom rock backing. With Witching Hour coming next the crowd were in the bands hand and then the Type O Negative slow burning Death Does Us Part and the freak out of Moon-Eyed People before the set enders of Witch Of Endor and Fear No Evil. A quick off stage swap and then back again for the final two songs to a receptive audience and as the last chords of What's Haunting You rang out there were cheers all around in this diminutive venue with surprisingly good sound. I hope Mr Hutchings will check these guys out at Download!! 8/10