AuthorOne-man industrial doom metal act, Author & Punisher, hit the The Underworld on a suitably foggy Wednesday night, bringing France’s Treha Sektori and local lads, Shitwife, into the mix of the second evening of a 16-date European tour.

Original opening act, Jose Macabra, have to pull out, leaving two-piece Shitwife to warm up the crowd. With Author & Punisher’s intimidating set-up of equipment taking up the vast majority of the stage space, Shitwife elect to set up their gear within the crowd, encouraging a circle to form around them, creating a manic, tribal, almost animalistic atmosphere that’s truly infectious. Consisting of drummer, Henri Grimes, and breakcore artist, Wayne Adams, the pairing create a relentless pummelling of monstrous, blast-beating rhythms, crashing cymbals, walls of feedback crescendo, and manipulated guitar samples. The end result is frenzied chaos, that gets the crowd moving and in noticeably high spirits. This duo is an invigorating choice of support act and definitely a band to keep an eye on.

Next up, one-man experimental act, Treha Sektori, provides a stark contrast to the previous band. Invoking atmospheres of suffocating suspense through tidal waves of darkened ambient noise, against a backdrop of unsettling visuals, Treha Sektori utilises his vocals, guitar and array of electronics to quash the party atmosphere into one of absolute darkness. The sounds produced conjure likenesses to the heavier parts of Cult of Luna’s most recent releases, and It’s not surprising to hear that this artist has previously toured with the likes of Amenra and Oathbreaker. A diverse, yet raw performance from a man who is clearly not phased by the fact that an audience who were all dancing mere minutes ago are now rooted to the spot. There’s a lot to take in, and it’s both mystifying and mesmerising.

Finally, the main event gets underway, as San Diego based mechanical engineer, Tristan Shone, takes his place behind four pieces of equipment he likes to call “dub machines”. It’s all part of an arsenal of Arduino-powered machines that Author & Punisher uses to perform his special brand of doom metal. Each of these industrial instruments was designed, prototyped, and built by Shone. There’s Rack & Pinion, a keyboard-like sound controller with six velocity-sensitive sliding keys that can bend and warp sound samples; Rails, a manual rhythm controller and linear actuator that Shone uses like a big, mechanical slide-trombone; as well as other imposing devices with names like “Big Knobs” and “Headgear.” They all output to a software music sequencer and digital audio workstation, Ableton Live, and they’re all meant to be twisted, slid, pushed, stepped up, and screamed into in very specific ways. When combined with his two Ableton computer rigs onstage, Shone produces a near infinite number of terrifying sounds, loops, and rhythms. The sheer force of volume rivals that of Sunn O))) and the reverberations rattle from the teeth right down to the pit of the stomach. The focus and control at work here is palpable, as the noise and machine-like elements work alongside an emphasis on vocal expression to staggering effect. Every part of this performance is a piece of art, not just hearing the sounds created, but watching Shone operating the equipment required to produce them is completely hypnotic. A truly mind bending show that won’t soon be forgotten.

(Review by Angela Davey)