Text & Photos: Teddie Taylor
MAKE, Primitive Man and Dragged Into Sunlight affirmed a thought I always have: you don’t need a pentagram or Baphomet to invoke fear. In the corner of a packed Siberia, my head was barraged with layer after layer of heavy, dense sound. Just like humidity can make the air seem thick, the five bands emitted noise that was of substantial mass. I felt surrounded— the music wasn’t coming from speakers, it was growing from the floor, falling from the ceiling and radiating from the walls. Hours after the first damning guitar was touched, I stumbled outside feeling condemned never to listen to my own thoughts again. It was a feeling that doesn’t come from dramatic imagery or anything forced, but from a deep, dark place that makes you more aware of your ephemeral existence in the universe. Throughout the night, I descended through Dante’s Hell from Limbo to Treachery.
Boise, Idaho trio Infernal Coil started the night with a set of songs that I’ll compare to nuclear fission. There was no intro to their set — just a sudden explosion that hemorrhaged power and ruination from beginning to end. The first release, Burning Prayer of Infinite Hatred, is available for pre-order and is as tumultuous as the album artwork foreshadows (and they’re vegan!).
Recluse, the only New Orleans natives of the night, departed from the drawn out gloom that encroached during the night and, instead, produced highly charged, concise moments. With the brevity of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Nails, they took seconds-long songs and packed them to maximum capacity. There was barely time to become comfortable with one song before the next one grabbed you and took you somewhere new.
MAKE, a triad from North Carolina, just put out their third and latest record, Pilgrimage of Loathing. An amalgam of atmosphere and sludge, the group floated between shades of beauty and bedlam. Rather than empty their arsenal at once, they are decisive in when to engage and when to pull back to allow for respite. You travel with them as they delve into dark ravines and climb mountains that then collapse suddenly into an abyss. MAKE create scenery and journeys with their metamorphic sets.
Primitive Man are described entirely by their name. They are three guys who produce primitive, crude songs that crawl comfortably in the depths of Hell. Slow to the point of silence, there’s time to process the demise they seem to foretell. I thought about the feeling of having a thousand pounds on your chest and having to breathe as precisely as possible to stay alive. Like the spine of their split with Northless says, they may not be the fastest, but they sure are the heaviest.
Dragged Into Sunlight are mystery and terror incarnate. Band photos show them donning balaclavas. Their latest album, N.V., opens with an explanation by serial killer Michael Bruce Ross of strangling Wendy Baribeault. They perform facing the drum kit and occasional flashes of light from the back of the stage are the only illumination apart from a giant candelabra affixed with a deer skull. DIS are an entity that thrives on despondency and dread. Records and videos do no justice to the chthonic assault they unleash from the moment their candles are aflame. If you’ve seen the new Netflix show Stranger Things, imagine Hunter S. Thompson’s Raoul Duke venturing into the murky Upside Down — that’s Dragged Into Sunlight. Surely, you enter the ninth layer of Hell at some point.
Dragged Into Sunlight