The Black Heart is brimming tonight for Acid King’s sold out gig with local touring chums, Alunah. There’s a tangible air of excitement and expectation as a queue quickly develops ahead of doors. Tonight promises to be a sludge and doom lovers delight as punters prepare to worship at the altar of the riff.

There’s something so unique about this evening’s openers, Alunah. Hailing from the home of heavy metal, one might say it’s in their DNA but there’s an undeniable Britishness about their sound. Ethereal, mystical and with a rare purity and allure, they manage to consistently create rich textures like few other younger bands. With new album, “Solennial” receiving broad music press praise, including a 9/10 from our own Spenny, they continue to take giant leaps forward in creating a sound all of their own. Opening songs “Light Of Winter” and “Feast of Torches” are far more dynamic than some of their earlier works and have a darker aura. A rich, expansive sound descends upon The Black Heart; Sophie Day’s vocals, silky smooth as always, weave their way through some really deep riffs. Older numbers like “White Hoarhound” blend seamlessly with the newer works and it’s a pretty satisfied room taking it all in.

Landing in London in the midst of a busy tour schedule, Acid King seem to have an almost cult following. There’s barely room to breathe in the venue as a gritty, dense dirge almost crushes the air out of your lungs. Cut from similar cloth to Sleep, the reverberating riffs are hypnotic and enveloping. This is more like a psychedelic quest for heaviness conjured with squawls of feedback and haunting, trance like vocals from Lori S that float through the rubbery rhythms. A glance around the room finds heads nodding in unison and arms held aloft in a performance that feels more like a ritual than a gig.

There’s a noticeable sense of satisfaction that lingers in the air as the final, distorted drones fade away. Breath-taking and enveloping, tonight’s performances have been well received. Two bands half a world apart collided with an uplifting, mesmerising and sensory feast that is sure to stick in the memory.

Johnny Zed