[Live Report] Wreck and Reference @ Black Heart (London)


The tube strikes almost made me think twice about coming to this show but that would have meant missing out on seeing a very impressive band, and I’m not the sort of guy who prefers to stay at home if a good show is happening. Sadly, Caïna pulled out the day before the show was due for medical reasons, which means that they were replaced by Terra, a young British black metal trio. I won’t speak too much about them since I missed most of their set and left during The Infernal Sea but I will say that although I thought that despite their lack of live experience, Terra has some potential even if they continue to play some standard cascadian black metal. On the other hand, The Infernal Sea‘s « theatrics » looked inappropriate for a band that did not create any particular atmosphere.

Wreck and Reference

Not doing much research on a band sometimes allows to be pleasantly surprised. Case in point, if I had known that there was no guitar in Wreck and Reference, I might have doubted their ability to create a dense enough atmosphere, and I would have quite wrong. Armed only with a sampler and a microphone, WR’s frontman contorts his mouth like a gaping wound from which the saddest screams comes out.

With two very different instruments, both musicians provide both an atmospheric and an percussive element to the music in the course of two to three minute long songs. Despite the experimental nature of the music, the composition do sound like songs thanks to the intense emotions scrapped from both musician’s mouth and hands.

The experience is quite unsettling in such an intimate setting with not many people. One could feel like in a confessional or trapped in the most cathartic kind of performance art if it wasn’t for the perfectly timed compositions interpreted by the duo. The only flaw of the « show » (as it seems inappropriate to classify something that bleak as entertainment) were the constant stops between the songs.

A higher level of communion could have been probably been achieved between the musicians and the audience if each compositions was not followed by some awkward silence.

Nonetheless, this short concert justified all the time it took to come back home. Wreck and Reference offered the perfect type of performance, intense and emotional, surreal and real all at the same time. Like visiting one’s personal nightmares but with the protection of music to make it meaningful.

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