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Concert Review/ Misery Speaks & I The Unlord & Mourning Caress

img  Tobias

An hour before the concert, I am sitting in the comfortable kitchen of tokafi headquarters with „Metal Visions International“ editor Guillaume and we're sipping on „Radler“ (a mix of beer and lemonade) while browsing through the wonderful world of MySpace on the prey for interesting new bands from the realms of Metal. Even though we're restricting our search to South America, the supply is staggering. Everywhere on the planet, riff-oriented groups are proliferating like atomic mushrooms and their technical savvy is as impressive as the professional attitude of their presentation. How on earth, we ask ourselves while getting ready to walk the few metres to the Gleis 22 just around the corner, can a band still carve out a niche for itself in this saturated market?

I The Unlord: Experienced Forces and Fresh Blood
Each of the three acts on the roster tonight has found a different answer to that question. Opening act I The Unlord are hailing directly from Münster and constitute a powerful potion of experienced forces and fresh blood: Guitarist Tobias Buck is an integral member of the city's leading Death Metal formation Neaera (whose much anticipated new album is due at the end of this month), while Drummer Benjamin Kövener is one of those restless spirits who can be found playing with various acts and at different venues in town each week. While Bassist Tom Huschka blends in seamlessly with the other members of the band, the high-pitched shreaks, squeals and screams by frontman Rene Wichmann appear to exist within a world of their own, confoundingly disembodied and in an intriguing contrast to the massive sound of his colleagues.

With influences ranging from Death Metal to HardCore, I The Unlord could, on paper, easily be mistaken for one of the many quartets following in the footsteps of the MetalCore hype of a couple of years ago. During their short but intense session tonight, however, the group effectively demonstrates that it has more than just a few trumps up its sleeves. While Buck remarkably shuns the limelight and puts his formidable talents in the service of the band, Kövener proves himself to be a versatile beast behind the battery, eschewing cliches and drawing a maximum of timbral possibilities from his customised drum set which, among others, includes a giant reverse cymbal. While the band may consider some of the Florida pioneers their influence, their sound is considerably more swampy and slowly-simmering, mostly pumping at a pace which will make you nod your neck rather than bang your head. With pieces marked by progressive structures and clever dynamics, they have managed to create something both instantly recognisable and rewardingly its own.

Mourning Caress: Melodic tradition & a brutal present
The first notes of the Mourning Caress set reveal a lot about their interest in both the melodic tradition Metal is steeped in as well as a harsher and more brutal present. The band create a wall of harmonic riffs and an uplifting groove, while singer Gerrit Mohr screams his lunges out like a madman in search of his sleeping pills. Tracks like Corroded by Fear“ show the potential of a band unafraid of unashamedly rocking while still hammering down their depressive message. We however decide that we need a short break and head back for the kitchen to listen to I The Unlord's debut EP, which is officially a demo but sounds as alive and kicking as any high-budget production and comes at the ludicrously low price of 2 Euros.

Misery Speaks: Deadly serious and incredibly entertaining
Back at the Gleis 22, the crowd is already gathering closely in front of the podium: Even though the club is anything but sold out, Misery Speaks gigs are intimate affairs which have nothing in common with the genre's sometimes anonymous and downbeat live events. Their sets virtually suck audiences in and spit them out again at the end, with no time to reconsider or even to disappear to the bar to get yourself a new drink. With their most recent album Disciples of Doom“ under their belt, the Fourpiece are both proud about what they've achieved and hungry to convince their audience of the record's crushing impact. Their sound is surprisingly transparent yet powerfully physical at the same time, with flying doublebass rolls especially hitting spectators straight into the solar plexus like friendly Chuck Norris-style highkicks.

More than ever before, versatility proves to be Misery Speaks' main selling point. Capable of blasting their way through warp-speed passages of pure mayhem and settling down for tracks of Bourbon-drenched Doom (as in the aptly titled title track to their Disciples of Doom“ full-length), they are in an ideal position to win over any crowd within the blink of an eye. Naturally, the fact that this group is capable of actually writing contagious songs with sexy grooves as well as catchy choruses (check out „The Burning Path“ as an indication of their harmonic potential) as well as their sympathetic stage presence are beneficial to their overwhelming impact as well. And you have to hand it to them: If you can start a show with flashing alarmlights and wearing gasmasks and organise a headbanging intermezzo somewhere half-way without seeming silly, you know you're in for something special. In the first seconds, when shouter Przemek Golomb bursts on stage like a disoriented farmer straight from the cornfields of Texas, calling on the audience to „rock the house“, it may still seem kinda silly. But only a few seconds afterwards, you're caught be the infectious maelstrom just like everyone else. Like few other bands, Misery Speaks have managed to present themselves as deadly serious and incredibly entertaining at the same time and it is this combination which makes them this effective.

Our heads still dizzy and our ears buzzing, we walk back. This, perhaps, is the most impressive insight of tonight's gig: Even amidst the confusing cornucopia of Metal formations out there, there are still bands that can make a difference.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: I The Unlord
Homepage: Mourning Caress
Homepage: Misery Speaks
Homepage: Drakkar Records
Homepage: Gleis 22 Münster

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