Corrosion Of Conformity

support Pet The Preacher + Sectarian Violence
author AP date 25/03/14 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

Quite some time has passed since the legendary stoner/hardcore fusionists Corrosion of Conformity last graced Denmark with a visit, and given I'm still a somewhat recent entrant to all things doomy, sludgy and stoner, I've never had the opportunity to experience them live despite the regular airtime they receive on my stereo. For me then, tonight is a unique and long-awaited opportunity to finally see them, though I am saddened by the fact that Pepper Keenan - one of my favourite guitarists - no longer plays for the band. I am surprised to find that while the turnout is by no means scant, Loppen is far from sold out - perhaps the allure of this band has faded over the years for some people? Let's find out, shall we.

Photos courtesy of Peter Troest

Sectarian Violence

A somewhat odd choice for an opening act, straight edge hardcore group Sectarian Violence, with members from Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, are just wrapping up their first onslaught of the evening as I arrive at the venue, and despite the fact that this sort of monotonous, metallic hardcore in which message outweighs everything else, is one of my least favourite styles of music, it's hard not to be impressed by the fury with which they deliver it. In a set spanning just 18 minutes, the band manage to churn their way through at least 12 songs, which, with the exception of parts of "Start Again" off their "Upward Hostility" EP (which you can listen to here if you have 6 minutes to spare), boast little by way of variance from short, fast and aggressive.

But there's an intensity to the band's performance that has me spellbound for those 18 minutes, with the vocalist's frenzied stage presence especially funneling the anger and defiance by which this genre is often characterised; and here and there the guitarists bust out southern flavoured fills that add colour to an otherwise rather uninspiring instrumental aesthetic. Given tonight's attendance is not your average hardcore crowd, its reaction is not quite up to par with Sectarian Violence's own intensity, but judging by the enthusiasm with which they are applauded in between every song, I trust I'm not alone in thinking this is actually pretty cool stuff.

7

Pet The Preacher

Over the past two years or so, Pet the Preacher have established themselves as one of the most reliable live acts Denmark has to offer, not least because for them, rock music is a full fledged lifestyle, and they live and breathe it. Tonight they have taken steps to accentuate the dusty nature of their stoner/blues rock by rubbing themselves in dirt, but really, that's simply a fun observation to make compared to the extreme tightness with which the trio performs. It's a little anticlimatic that vocalist/guitarist Christian Hede Madsen's vocals are all too low in the mix, effectively drowned by the otherwise balanced mix of guitar, Torben Wæver Pedersen's groovy bass, and Christian Von Larsen's inspired drumming.

But although Madsen's grainy, manly-as-fuck voice plays a key role in the music, it is his proficiency with the guitar that never ceases to impress, whether it's the mouthwatering slide guitar histrionics in "I'm Not Gonna..." and the song which comes after (the name of which I do not know, as it comes off the yet-to-be-released new album "The Cave & the Sunlight"), his highly organic improvised solos, or his ear for thick intoxicating grooves. Not that his compatriots should worry: it seems that in the new material, there is considerably more emphasis on giving each musician room to shine, resulting in instrumental sections in which Pedersen, Larsen & Madsen's solos intertwine to magnificent effect.

Pet the Preacher are rock'n'roll to the bone, and their passion for the genre is always a treat to behold. That is why scrapping a song off the setlist to perform (probably unrehearsed) an impromptu "Desert" - which didn't even make it to the forthcoming album, so new is this song - or tinkering with the fan favourite "Devil's Door" to produce an alternative version of it, never feels out of place or forced. And despite the fact that they aren't that animated a live act, Madsen's attitude and charisma alone, bleeding through from his many face expressions and the force with which he strikes his chords, is sufficient to keep us wooed. Shame about the low vocals.

Corrosion Of Conformity

It's difficult to even detect Corrosion of Conformity beginning their set, as the trio jams through an improvised sound check straight into "Psychic Vampire", and immediately, it is obvious that one of the most endearing aspects to this band is that for them, it's more about feeling than perfection. That is why what some might consider untight sounds cool and organic when dispensed with a guitar as battle worn as Woodroe Weatherman's, and with the screeches and slides on vocalist/bassist Mike Dean's instrument as profuse and audible as is the case here.

Although the absolutely brilliant title track to the masterful "Deliverance" LP is fully aired early on, most of the Pepper Keenan-era CoC has been omitted, understandably, from the set, with nuggets of that rather more stoner focused period otherwise restricted to medleys where the opening riff of "Seven Days" precedes "The Moneychangers", the first half of "Vote with a Bullet" is infused into "Your Tomorrow", and bits of Black Sabbath's "Hand of Doom" emerge within "Loss for Words". It's not an issue per se, but it's hard not to feel a little disappointed when the Keenan albums rank as my favourites from their discography. Instead, tonight's set is primarily focused on the faster fusions of stoner rock and hardcore punk, and as a result, the performance is extremely lively compared to what one would usually expect in this genre.

Weatherman and Dean are spewing passion with every movement, every charge to and fro and across the stage, every commanding swing of an instrument. And in virtually every song, or at the very least in its wake, there is the stark but intriguing contrast between the fast and urgent, and the slow and contemplative. This is also one of those performances that grow better by the minute as Dean, Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin toggle fifth gear and hit their stride, with the trio "Mad World", "Hungry Child" and "Priest Brains" producing a finale to remember - until, of course, "Technocracy" is played in the encore to thunderous applause.

8

Setlist:

  • Psychic Vampire
  • Deliverance
  • Rat City
  • Holier
  • Seven Days / The Moneychangers (medley)
  • On Your Way
  • Strong Medicine Too Late
  • The Doom
  • Vote with a Bullet / Your Tomorrow (medley)
  • Hand of Doom (Black Sabbath cover) / Loss for Words (medley)
  • Mad World
  • Hungry Child
  • Priest Brains

--Encore--

  • Technocracy

Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Legal

© Copyright MMXX Rockfreaks.net.