Bleak metal tonight. Thin crowd early on. DSBM? Post-hardcore? There was a time when I might claim to be able to draw a line here between the two. Tonight I am not sure what, which side of that dichotomy I am to expect. We begin with melody, gentle blast beats, tremolo picking, almost soaring, but unmistakably bleak and depressive. Vocals on the post-hardcore side, which is really the only safe characteristic to orientate oneself about. Fashion is increasingly meaningless in these scenes, especially in a cutting edge fashion epicentre like London. Here it just doesn't matter - you can dress like whatever flamboyant caricature or zoo creature you like, and unless you start screaming or physically accosting people, no one will pay you any mind. Strongbow, Okocim and MJ on the menu tonight. Feedback. Not as blatantly suicidal as some genre mainstays over on the black side, like Xasthur and Leviathan. Nobody is screaming in pain as if locked in the agonizing throes of suicide in progress. Terra could approach hardcore - the drumming is active and varied enough, the vocals fit, but the guitarist's rhythm hand never stops moving. Blasting semi-darkness, rather than blackness. Depression and contemplation, no hint of revenge or masochism or evil for its own sake. DSBM in all its melancholy tends to show traces of the horrid path taken to reach this place, and so this band cannot bear that label. They show no sign of evil, only a devastated realism crafted during a strictly temporal existence. A populous plane where ample ammunition can be found to destroy a soul, riddle it with the searing lead bullets of daily life in the western world.
So... is that good or bad?