DOWNFALL OF GAIA/HEROD
MAMA ROUX’S, BIRMINGHAM
It’s hard to imagine heRod fitting in anywhere better than a venue decorated to look like a vibrant New Orleans street, their mix of Eyehategod-style sludge and Sabbathian doom mired in underground nastiness yet also proving transcendental. doWnfaLL of GaIa are a visceral force to behold, their post-black metal assault reaching its full power when live and loud. That said, the band’s backing tapes between songs let them down some, dipping to become little more than background noise rather than allowing seamless transition between songs. the oCean suffer no such issues; the set is a flawless exercise in atmospherics and mystique, frontman Loïc Rossetti keeping the crowd on their toes when he unexpectedly leaps into their midst from atop a stack. For a band who shirk the prog tag, they execute a masterclass in the same kind of titanic soundscapes and performance that has made Gojira so beloved. In pulling off the anthemic Silurian: Age Of Sea Scorpions and crushing Ectasian, complete with guest snarlings from Herod’s Mike Pilat alike, The Ocean are seemingly set on the same underground-breakout path as Opeth and Gojira before them.