18th October 2015
Review By Toria Morgan
The Exchange is no stranger to opening its doors to the metal community of Bristol and tonight was just such an occasion. To most people’s excitement the mighty Bell Witch were in town, accompanied by Ulcerate and Ageless Oblivion on their tour.
First up was Ageless Oblivion, a band I had previously seen play Bloodstock this year and absolutely loved. They fall under the category of death metal but their style is distinctly technical, definitely a band to be enjoyed by the music buffs. These guys hail from Hampshire and not only have bags of talent, are a great bunch of lads to boot. The band is made up of Steve Jones on vocals, David Porter on guitar, Gareth Nash on guitar, Sam Chatterton on bass and relative newcomer Noah See on drums.
The first impression of the band is that they know what they’re doing. They take to the stage and play with precision and a cool confidence, pouring their souls into performance regardless of how many are in the audience, be it ten or a thousand. Their music attracts attention and drags people away from the bar to stand in the audience and watch, the same thing happened at Bloodstock. The band played on the Sophie Lancaster stage and passers-by were drawn in like music moths to their flame. Before the first song had ended at Bloodstock the audience had grown and was packed before long, it even kept growing throughout the set. Their sound could be described as a blend of Morbid Angel and Nile, with a hint of Neurosis, along with accents of their own unique sound. These guys are definitely the ones to watch.
Bell Witch were up next. It seemed that these guys were the reason that everyone was here as crowds gathered to immerse themselves in the doom and gloom of American band Bell Witch. A band named after a Poltergeist in Tennessee folklore. Their band is a two piece, comprised of Adrian Guerra and Dylan Desmond though Adrian Guerra it seemed had been replaced by Jesse Shreibman tonight. Their genre is simply Doom. Music that creates an atmosphere in the room, true it makes you feel something, like dread and mild anxiety, but it just goes to show the power of the sounds they make and it is well received by audience.
They sound like ghosts, I don’t know how else to put it. They evoke displacement, as though the music is the pain of a ghost, or can also be interpreted as the feeling of being a ghost. Helpless and in an endless isolation. Despite all the gloom that this band bring to the table, the audience like them and they are enjoyable to watch. They are described as ‘funeral doom metal’ and are quite something to behold. The power drives right under the skin and awakens feelings of unease and dread, I can see how this band would appeal to the bereft or those with a deeper pull to understanding the realness of the world. They don’t hold back and the experience is one I won’t forget!
Bringing the night to a close, Ulcerate took to the stage. The New Zealanders have been operating under the name Ulcerate since 2004, its members include Paul Kelland on vocals and bass, Micheal Hoggard on guitar and Jamie Saint Merat on drums. For a three piece, they sure do pack a punch.
One thing I have to mention is the sheer force of front man and bassist Paul Kelland’s voice and the impact that bass of his has on the chest. It seems to resonate through the very eardrums of everyone in earshot. In keeping with the night, these guys bring their own brand of doom with them, their songs are panic inducing, oppressive and all round dark, and it seems that a whole lot of people in their that night loved every second of it.
The majority of their set was from their most recent album Vermis, described as ‘unpredictable’ and ‘teeth rattling.’ These guys certainly hold a great fan base in the industry, and were very enjoyable to behold. They are the kind of band that make you feel and watch with a slightly slack jaw, they leave you questioning.
Over all the night was a good one, Ageless Oblivion being the stand out band for me personally. I fully recommend giving this band some playtime on your musical device of choice, they do not disappoint!