|Wann:||Back to Calendar 12. Mai 2018 – 13. Mai 2018 (all-day)|
CITIES OF MARS:
Sweden’s Cities of Mars may not initially jump out as you as you first listen. As a doom trio mixing in heavy psychedelic overtones and even classic metal melodies in the spirit of Black Sabbath or Uriah Heap, you might just lose them in the traffic of artists traveling similar roads. However, all credit to the band and its label, ever a connoisseur of original musicians, with this self-awareness, and for shaping a concept from start to finish.
Dubbing itself „a heavy band with an integrated storyline,“ Cities of Mars makes its proper debut this year with „Temporal Rifts,“ coming after its 2016 EP, „Celestial Mistress,“ and two tracks in 2015. However, its collection is all based on the same concept, a broad and ancient conspiracy that is unearthed by Russian KGB cosmonaut Nadia, who lands on the planet Mars as part of a covert mission in 1971. With an assist from Monolord’s Esben Willems on production, Cities of Mars offer promise at an invigorating premiere.
Cities of Mars has gotten comparisons to the band Sleep at points for good reason. Their distorted, stoner-esque orchestration and other flourishes may spark visions of that San Jose trio. Still, Cities of Mars presents a few areas of its own to be excited about.
First and foremost, it is storytelling. You’ll have some quick catching up to do if you are not familiar with the tale, because Cities of Mars pitches you right in. Vocalists Christoffer Norén and Danne Palm together do a respectable job at conveying affairs, which, as you can guess, get fantastical and spaced out. „Envoy of Murder“ is a good instance of this. Johan Küchler’s drums lead the way as the story comes down to lyrics that feel mirthless in emotion. But in „Gula, a Bitter Embrace,“ there is a growing determination, as the trio strike a thicker and faster doom rhythm. The eight-minute „Children Of The Red Sea“ manages a sublime trance into something that feels like truly memorable doom. Gentler chords grow insistent, as the bass swells and vocals float in an otherworldly way against the guitar strings caging it. The composition here harkens somewhat to Below the Sun’s spectacular summer release, but Cities of Mars feels bold in its own way.
The album closes with the psychedelic „Caverns Alive!“ It follows the same footprint of some other cuts – lighter open, churning build – and yet the band keeps it sounding fresh. Such, however, might be the biggest question for Cities of Mars. Where does a band whose name and music come from a single concept go after this? Space is, of course, infinite. And as you will come to appreciate, Cities of Mars‘ unique songwriting and evolving musicianship have much to offer to the doom scene. Without giving away the story, fans will have to simply await to which planet this innately discrepant act flies the next light year.
Formed back in 2011 by Mattias Ottosson and Adam Lundqvist, the goal for Nekromant (then called Serpent) was not difficult to understand. Sick and tired of both the new-„metal“ scene and the overly pretentious retrohipsters, the boys commenced in a series of jamming/drinking sessions in the metropolis Mjölby, located in the east part of Sweden. Playing hard rock with a monstrously heavy, blues-laced beat was the goal then, and it still is. Although these sessions resulted in both a full album and an EP, it was not until they joined forces with Jocke Olsson, a hard-hitting drummer with roots in both heavy metal and other types of music, that the powertrio we now call Nekromant (Serpent) was born. The year was 2013 and the band had now relocated to Vänersborg, since all three was born and raised there. The chemistry was obvious. The first tracks of what would become the album „Nekromant“ started to take form, as well as the gritty, honest and heavy sound of the trio. During the fall of 2013 Serpent conducted their first live gigs, and soon many more followed. After many chaotic gig-weekends (and a few broken bones) the trio had become a powerful live act with solid tracks and a confident sound. A new album was needed. In the spring of 2015, Serpent along with their trusted sound engineer Charlie Johansson entered Studio N3 in Trollhättan, Sweden. A couple of days later Nekromant saw the light of day for the first time, a collection of the best and most powerful songs the trio had written during their time so far. A collaboration with Transubstans Records was initiated and the band is now more ready than ever to bring their heavy blues-metal out to the people.
DOORS 20:00, SHOWTIME 21:00