Dragged Into Sunlight - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:

It’s about quarter past six and I’m walking down to my second home and the finest music venue in Leeds, The Brudenell Social Club. It’s a little bit earlier than usual as tonight’s substantial line-up consists of five bands. The bands hail from Leeds, Edinburgh, Liverpool and the Netherlands but they all share a love of extreme metal.

It’s at this point that I realise I’ve forgotten to bring my earplugs but I’m sure my already battered hearing can take a few hours of riff-worship. It’s Friday and things are about to get extremely heavy.

First on stage tonight is Leeds very own, Gloomweaver. A formidable three-piece, the onslaught begins with a recording of monastic chanting before the drums and bass kick in with an impressive force. The bands singer manically paces back and forth like a caged and deeply irritated animal as he screams and wails into a reverb soaked microphone. The vocals are endlessly looped to create a disorientating vortex of noise as the bass and drums lock into some superbly sludgy, doom-laden riffs. It’s a thrillingly uncompromising start.

Billowing smoke starts to fill the room as tonight’s second act, Mountain’s Crave take to the stage. Extreme metal always comes with a certain amount of theatrics and vocalist Danny Heaton, face obscured by hair, strikes some classic metal poses as the band launch into their formidably heavy set. The band combine an appreciation of lengthy post-rock workouts and blast-beat led black metal, Heaton’s vocals adopting that familiar guttural growl as the songs build in intensity. Heaton explains that one of the songs is about seeing the sun for the first time, another about the changing seasons; themes that work perfectly with the bands elemental bombardment.

The lighting turns the stage a distinctly bloody shade of red as Edinburgh’s DVNE step up to play. The band trades in a particularly aggressive form of heavy-as-heaven, progressive metal. Duel vocalists Victor Vicart and Dan Barter take it in turns to scream over the bands relentlessly heavy assault as they bring a mixture of finger-shredding guitar work and flat-out riffs to the Brudenell. Drummer Dudley Tait attacks his kit with admirable venom and propels each song into head-nodding glory. It’s a solid set but things are about to take a significant shift into altogether stranger territory.

The Netherlands Gnaw their Tongues has been a going concern since their inception in 2004, creating terrifying cacophonies of noise from sampling, industrial beats and wave upon wave of noise. Unassuming and not remotely ‘metal’ in appearance like the previous acts, founding member Maurice de Jong stands centre stage with a guitar. In the place of drums and bass, the two other live members stand hunched over a laptop.

The band creates a throbbing, oppressive sound that fills the room with an admirable level of noisy discordance. Maurice rabidly barks into the microphone as the walls of drone and black-metal indebted noise build with unrelenting malevolence around him. To lighten the mood there’s an audio recording of a Biblical quotation, “and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain”. It’s a difficult listen and a thoroughly absorbing live experience. 

With our ears nicely warmed up, it’s finally time for tonight’s headliners Dragged into Sunlight. By this point the room is completely subsumed in smoke, a few candle-like lights are placed around the stage and it’s hard to see what’s on; making the beginning of the set all the more explosive. Strobing white-light fills the stage, the band appears as hunched over silhouettes and the whole thing is a thrillingly arresting spectacle.

Playing with their backs to the audience the Liverpudlian’s let the music do the talking with pounding, remorseless yet strangely euphoric waves of modern black-metal. What the set perhaps lacks in musical diversity it more than makes up for in pure sonic force, the whole set like one monumental slab of abrasive noise and throat-shredding screams. It’s not hard to see why the band has been talked about so highly, their set being a hair-raising, heart-racing dive into the darkness.

Who needs earplugs anyway? 

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