Switchblade, Kongh - A doomy black cloud over the red light district
Couldn’t think of a better way to spend the Friday evening watching two three-piece sludge/doom bands from Sweden in our capital city! Even though we both didn’t know the two bands that well, we decided to kick off the weekend in the heart of the red light district!
Kongh from Sweden (not to be confused with Kong, the progressive metal band from the Netherlands!) was the first to open the night at 20:30 sharp. There were only a handful of people in the venue, which unfortunately stayed that way during the evening. Guess we’re dealing with more party people here in Amsterdam instead of quality music listeners? The band really gave everything they had though. Their second full-length album Shadows of the Shapeless just got released and for the next 50 minutes or so the band showcased mostly tracks of this album like ‘Unholy Water’ and ‘Shadows of the Shapeless’. Their sound can be compared to bands like Unearthly Trance and Ramesses while their fast parts have more of a Motörhead flow to it, especially live. Especially the drummer turned out to be a piece of gold and it was fun to watch him play so slow but so heavy at the same time. Their long tunes (some last for around 15 minutes) really grabbed me, ranging from extremely slow to faster parts with even double kicks, and some post-rock like melodic parts in between. Check this band out!
Next up was another three-piece from Sweden called Switchblade. I had never heard of this band nor checked them out on CD, but with five full-length albums out now, I think it’s time to give these guys a listen at home as well! I thought we were dealing with another (hard) sludge band and the first few minutes were only an intro, but Switchblade turned out to be more of a drone/doom band, rather than sludgy. Think Neurosis cooperating with Sunn O))) with a slight black metal feeling over the vocals. It was really hard to get into the music as their tunes were even longer than Kongh’s, and way slower and more drone-like, but from the second track on it really grabbed me. It would have probably sounded better if they played before Kongh, but I’m glad to have seen them live. After this performance I’m very curious about their full-length albums, which, funny enough, are all five self-titled albums!
The sound was pretty good (and loud!) and the Winston is a nice venue, completely renovated compared with the last time I’ve been there. I hope to see more of these sludge/doom shows in the future, with hopefully a more packed venue!