It’s day 19 of SubRosa’s 22 date European tour and tonight the Salt Lake City quintet are hitting up Camden’s Underworld. SÜMER open the show and the local lads provide the perfect display of prog rock meets post metal. Three guitars may seem excessive to some, but the sheer amount of texture and tone on display is proof that for SÜMER this is absolutely necessary. They possess an imposing stage dynamic, which makes their weighty riffs and harmonised clean vocals all the more catchy.
Bulgarian four-piece smallman appear on stage as an unusual sight; bagpipes are honestly the last thing you expect to see at a doom show, however, the unorthodox choice of instrument really works in their favour. Akin to a sludgy sounding Negură Bunget, a wooden flute is also introduced into their performance, adding further folky elements to their sound. Their charismatic frontman’s jarring movements and vocals are reminiscent of Tool and, although they play on for a little longer than they ought to, they are completely captivating to watch.
Darkher make an utterly bewitching debut in the first of three main support slots for the UK. Jayn’s vocals ring out beautifully across the venue, against a backdrop of eerie, spellbinding guitars. They put on a haunting show that makes beautiful use of the little time they have. A likeness to Chelsea Wolfe is impossible to ignore, but there’s enough power and substance in their songs for them to completely hold their own. Their drummer’s choice of stage attire (a Native American chieftain’s headdress) is perhaps a little distasteful, however…
By the time SubRosa make an appearance, time is really ticking on and the band waste no time, getting right down to business. A serene build up climaxes into earth shattering heaviness that takes your breath away. Knowing where to look can feel a little overwhelming, as all five members put on a stunning performance respectively. A rare incorporation of some punishing growls from bassist, Levi, is a surprise that adds some grit to a usually extremely polished live show. Songs from ‘For This We Fought the Battle of Ages’ sound resolute and powerful, fitting perfectly alongside classics from ‘More Constant Than The Gods’. Another stunning spectacle from Utah’s finest, straddling the line between delicate fragility and relentless heaviness.
Review by Angela Davey, Photos Pete Woods