WoundI didn’t give Coltsblood the best of rides last time I reviewed them, it really was a case of wrong gig and wrong venue as far as I was concerned. I had been told they were much better suited to a more intimate place and was more than happy to give them another try. What a difference. The heaviness was immediate and so was the resulting deafness as bass and drums literally trembled out the speakers and gave us a good shaking. The vocals from ex Conan member John just top it off, angry and abrasive. Change in my pocket was jangling under the onslaught and I hoped nobody in here had false teeth as they were more than likely to end up swallowing them. This was a loud and powerful performance and the distortion behind it billowed out along with the fragrant smell of incense giving us sight, sound and smell all in an overloaded display as they took us further ‘Into The Unfathomable Abyss.’ Drummer Jay really thundered away and at times he did actually fire out some black metal style blast beats, something I must have overlooked last time. At times they slowed down to a near sluggish crawl but the seismic riffing courtesy of Jem quaked around rough and craggy vocals. The singer was giving it the best stone-age ‘just crawled out a cave’ performance but delicately noted were some of the more subtle underlying guitar parts too. A lone chord rings out and we are then slammed violently back into monolithic slabs of granite etched riffs. The effect on the audience was to leave most rooted to the spot, not moving but weathering the storm.

It was down to Welsh stoners Sigiriya to lighten the tempo slightly and although others have seen them recently it has been a long time for me, in fact way back to when ¾ of the band were known as Acrimony. These hardened doomsters with young vocalist extraordinaire Matt ‘Pipes’ Williams have just released a belter of an album in the form of ‘Darkness Died Today’ and quickly launch into opening cut ‘Dragging The Bones’ which chunders in, gets quickly into a groove and heads moving down the front to its beat. Revved up and picked up by the music the melodious crooning vocals hit the right place along with them and it’s great to join in rocking along and swigging a cold one to it all. ‘Guided By Mountains’ has a bit of a folky Americana sort of vibe as far as I am concerned and sets up a dusty desert image in my mind as it breezes out the speakers. Thankfully as far as we were concerned there were no tumbleweeds blowing away in its wake. ‘Return To Earth’ fired out the licks, had bass trembling and vocals burst the sound barrier as they headed off into the atmosphere, totally sublime. The group may holler from Wales but the might behind this sounds straight out of Texas as times, definitely more beef than lamb. I also apologise unreservedly for bleating as they announced their heritage but thankfully it was taken in good humour and we were informed for those that had not quite worked it out yet, that the whole of the new album was being played. Great as far as I was concerned as it meant we were going to get ‘Freedom Engines’ with its momentous ‘See You In Hell’ chorus. Now that’s going round in everyone’s head for days!

Last up tonight on this Candlelight Records showcase are Dartmoor’s The Wounded Kings and guess what? Yep they too have a new album out and ‘Consolamentum’ is its name. This, allows them to take the first part of their hour long set in epic style to the opening number Gnosis from it. Slowing things down to a snail’s pace they filled up the stage and drenched us in their doom filled morass. The fuzz surged and seethed and any ears not already burst filled with the pressure finally we are rewarded by the witchy harmonious tones of singer Sharie Neyland but it was the sheer weight of the music which pretty much knocked everyone over here. Songs seemed to go on forever, indeed the first was almost quarter of an hour long and that’s the way we liked it. It meant that the doom laden gravity was totally involving as it has us swaying in its grasp. It’s not all crushing slowness and stellar psyche workouts got fists pumping and heads banging at the faster parts as they jammed away taking us on a wild stratosphere ride to the edge of utopia. Too much for some maybe and one kind soul decided to drop their guts making those catching the stench really want some incense back here. Not sure why this keeps happening at gigs I go to, the brown note was not quite hit. Sort yourselves out at home people before venturing to shows! Jangling guitars gave us some breathing space (no pun intended) from the more oppressive crush and vocals added that occult rock sort of feel to things. Everything seemed to be turned up a notch, the musicianship was excellent even if the band were hardly breaking into a sweat.  Having felt like a right battering had been given I left at what was the last gasp and started making way home ever so slowly, well that’s the way it felt after this. So a good night all round but for me Sigiriya definitely stole the show with a rollocking performance which in all honesty should have seen them headlining.

(Review and photos © Pete Woods)