OHHMS and SVALBARD team up to lay waste to Glasgow
If you’re ever feeling uninspired by heavy music, nights like this double-header between Canterbury post-doomers Ohhms and furious Bristol metal crew Svalbard will sort you right out. Seconds into Ohhms’ asphyxiating, angular opener The World tonight, their perplexingly-named bassist Chainy Chainy wheels himself too quickly across the stage, resulting in a stray cable dragging down his whole ampstack. Proceedings aren’t derailed, though. As the livewire lad grabs a mic and launches himself headfirst into the front rows, chaos is embraced, and the whole room is invigorated. Brilliant Bristolians Svalbard wield that visceral exhilaration as well. Following on from the doomy classic rock of Ayrshire openers Deadeyes and the sludgy excellence of Edinburgh tech-metallers Sapien, their sprawling soundscapes and wild-eyed anger are like pouring petrol on an already scorching fire. At the centre of it all, vocalist/guitarist Serena Cherry is the crucible around which the fury of songs from their awesome new It’s Hard To Have Hope album pivot. Even struggling through a sketchy mix, songs such as Unpaid Intern and Feminazi?! fill this confined space with an ocean of noise, rage and atomic energy.
Ohhms frontman Paul Waller is a different breed, though. Working himself into a barefoot frenzy, he injects a sense of retro swagger and individualist mischief. The Magician shapeshifts with remarkable sleight of hand between charging ferocity and ponderous expanse, while Bad Seeds (cheekily dedicated to “big pharma”) diffuses its hopelessness in a hallucinogenic haze. Even The Hanged Man – which packs a Godflesh-meets-sabbath bludgeon to close out the set – can’t snap us out of his hypnotically unhinged, lurching, happy-clapping grip.
It’s a killer showing from two bands currently setting the British rock underground ablaze. Be grateful to live in such exciting times. SAM LAW
Svalbard: This is ‘Bardcore