YOB, Dark Castle, Dispirit & Worm Ouroboros live at Gilman
YOB and Dark Castle are two of the biggest names in doom today. Both bands are on the incredibly hip and respected Profound Lore label, and have spent the past month touring across the United States. On Saturday, August 6, 2011 these two titans teamed up with labelmates Worm Ouroboros and blackened doom enigma Dispirit at the Gilman in Berkeley for what was one of the best shows of the year. Each band had their own unique sound and aura, which is often a rarity for a four band package. Check out tons of photos of all four bands and a full review after the jump.
San Francisco’s Worm Ouroboros started the show off with ethereal guitars soaked in delay, warm bass and spaced out drumming. The band matches their aural aesthetic with candles onstage and white holiday lights that creep past effects pedals and up microphone stands. Worm Ouroboros are dynamic in that they play long melodic passages with mournful and haunting vocals which seamlessly gives way to sections of booming bass driven doom. Drummer Aesop is a highly capable drummer, proving that he’s capable of bringing the blasts in Agalloch and previously Ludicra, but also can provide considerable atmosphere with nuanced drumming.
Things then got weird with San Francisco’s Dispirit. I’ve seen the band 5 times now and am continually in complete awe of them. Led by doom vet John Gossard, Dispirit traverse the waters of time stretching doom, black metal and ritualistic chant music. In a matter of minutes, Dispirit filled Gilman to the brim with fog and backlit themselves with a singular red light. Some band members turned to silhouette while others disappeared completely into the fog. They played two songs for well over half an hour. Dispirit live can be a disorienting experience between the copious amounts of fog, the low light, repetitive guitar and inhuman howling, it’s easy to get lost in their compositions. Seeing them live always feels like an ancient ritual rather than a musical performance.
The fog went out the door to mix with the naturally occurring Bay Area Fog as Dark Castle set up. I saw Dark Castle one year ago and have been looking forward to seeing them again ever since. I don’t think the band has ever stopped touring since they formed, save to record two killer albums. Dark Castle’s set consisted mainly of songs from their new album Surrender To All Life Beyond Form, which is one of my favorites of the year so far. Being a two piece has absolutely no limitation on Dark Castle being interesting performers, there is always something to watch. Frontwoman Stevie Floyd wields her custom Monson guitar like a weapon as she screams into the mic, occasionally stepping back to headbang like crazy. Rob Shaffer towers over his drumkit as he wildly swings his limbs and brings them crashing back down on the drums. Sometimes he even stands up and brings his full weight back down to his battered kit. On certain songs, Rob and Stevie will lock up on vocals and the sound is nothing short of devastating. Songs like ‘Seeing Through Time’ and ‘Awake In Sleep’ are sure to be live staples throughout the band’s career. I’m already looking forward to the next Dark Castle show, even if it’s not for another year.
“I’d like to dedicate this song to the legacy of Ludicra.” As if Mike Scheidt of YOB didn’t already have the crowd completely under his control. The dissolution of Ludicra hit the Bay Area hard, but instead of moping about it YOB brought the fucking rock. The aforementioned song was ‘Atma,’ the title track from their new LP. Usually after three bands I start to get tired, but Saturday’s bill was so solid that I was very alert and excited for YOB. It’s important to note that Rob has been doing double drum duty for the whole tour, playing two sets every night with both Dark Castle and YOB. Rob’s emphatic drumming complimented the new songs wonderfully and breathed new life into face melters like “Burning The Altar’ from The Great Cessation. Mike’s calm and humble stage banter balanced out his brutal, heavy and insanely loud performance as guitarist and vocalist. YOB got heads banging the hardest. Even though the the previous bands were great, it was clear by the audience reaction that YOB were indeed the headliners.
This was an altogether excellent show. Each band brought something special to the table and helped make this an unforgettable night of doom.
Photos provided by SF Sludge. Click for full galleries of all four bands and many more.