For it’s sixth edition, the Doom over London festival had decided to take things up a notch and expand from a one day to a three days event spread over three venues! In comparison, the previous lineup only had thirteen bands whereas this one had over fifty bands spread over three days. Nearly four times the number of bands. Sadly, the crowd did not seem very large every day and its likely that the organizer lost some money in this edition. However, it would be a shame if their boldness brought the festival to an end as it was very well organized with an excellent selection of bands.
Nevertheless, I have to come clean and admit that the first day was not appealing to me and that, on paper, only a few bands were really interesting. The presence of Hooded Menace had excited my curiosity on Saturday’s line-up but otherwise I was only mildly curious about the other bands. I still decided to come with a friend and spend my weekend around Tufnell Park despite the rain. A perfect weather for a weekend of Doom.
The first band of the afternoon for me was Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard at the Aces and Eights, an English quartet playing some solid stoner doom. Despite the accumulation of cliché in their name, making it the end of level boss of all cliché in doom metal, the band has its own identity with a soft spoken singer, some solid riffs inspired by Sleep and remarkable drummer. The band is quite young but they have a lot of potential, and a good number of amateurs as testified by the reasonable crowd already there to see them at 17:30 in the afternoon.
Slabdragger was next at the Boston Music Room and despite catching the end of their set, the English trio made a good impression to my ears. Their enthusiasm for playing stoner was over the top, as proven by the distorted face of the singer each time he opened his mouth in front of his mic, but also infectious. I promptly came back to the basement of the Aces and Eights were another crowd had amassed to the see the joyful stoner of Wizard Fight. Despite not being as remarkable as MWWB, their set was still quite enjoyable and made the doom metal of Officium Triste quite dull in contrast. Not only was I not in the mood for some sad songs, but the vapid keyboards made their songs even more lifeless. I quickly escaped to find the Death doom of Ataraxie. I had heard of the frenchmen for quite a long time now but it was my first time hearing them and they made a good impression. The quintet is obviously very experience, except for singing in English without an accent, and their songs are varied, going from slow doomy riffs to fast death metal parts.
I then tried to see Alunah but not only could I only hear them over the heads of the many punters filling the Aces and Eights but their guitars were too thin to be heard. Despite all of that, it was hard to deny the quality of their songs even with the strong singing voice of Sophie Day, the drums and the bass to hear. One to catch at another occasion.
Bossk was next and they also left a very strong impression. With probably the loudest sound of the day, their postcore takes the best out of Isis circa Panopticon and gives it more muscle and more distortion. The genre has been explored to death but these guys make it more relevant than ever without overusing the same cloudy melodies that every NeurIsis bands on the face of the earth made laughable. Their new full length just came out through Deathwish and they will be also opening soon for Cult of Luna. Definitely one to watch out for.
Hooded Menace was then going to ring the end of the day for me and they did not disappoint. The finish quartet does not tour Europe very often but I’ve still managed to see them twice before and they constantly improve. Thankfully this third time did not disprove the rule and their performance grew in quality after two songs. The material from Fulfill the curse is still as massive as before but the new song from Darkness drips forth is equally as impressive and as epic. Their previous performance at the Dome did not benefit from a great sound but this time they sounded massive and powerful, making up for their lack of stage presence. Nonetheless, it has to be said that bass and singer Markus Makkonen is getting better despite singing behind his long air, which makes him look like a cousin of It from the Addams Family, and finally showed some charisma when prompting the crowd to raise their horns. Hooded Menace is finally becoming more than just a studio band and they have a lot to offer. Now, if they could tour more often and play longer sets, we would be even happier.