Khanate Roadhouse, Manchester, 26/11/2005

Fri 2nd December 2005

Support from Atavist


A freezing winter night in Manchester, the perfect setting for some crushing, heavy music. We arrive at the Roadhouse to find a death metal type band playing. The singer kept saying they were called Allejam or something incomprehensible. Decent metal band, but apart from the five friends of the band at the front, everyone stood around patiently waiting for following two acts.

Atavist take to the stage with a nice green light shone down on them. For the next 7-8 minutes they play some very nice melodic stuff, no vocals. Then, what everyone is waiting for, the house lights turn red, the singer begins a bloodcurdling scream and the guitars and bass launch into a devastating noise. What follows, is extremely slow, heavy, and earth shaking sound (at one point it was a little hard to breathe due to the bass levels) lasting several minutes and leaving the crowd drained of all energy. A little later, Atavist begin a second fast song with riffs pummeling with great intensity due to the contrast of the past 15-20 minutess of (almost) drone. As the set drew to a close, the singer thanks the "two support bands" - arrogance, yet by this performance, justified.

Wondering if Khanate can top Atavist's performance, we wait at the front of the stage in suspense. As Khanate take to the stage, I overhear a guy next to me saying "We're gonna die, we're actually gonna die!". They do not dissapoint - Stephen O'Malley's constant churning riffs, mixed with plenty of feedback, and an excellent emphasised performance from the drummer (even using a huge "gong" as one of his drums). Having only heard the first Khanate album all the way through, I was mildly surprised in how similar they are to Sunn0))) - the songs take you on a journey to the depths of hell, and trap you there for a good 20 minutes each time! The chap in front of me was slumped over the front barrier, head in hands most of the gig (the music, rather than the beer, being the culprit this time). The most striking feature of Khanate is the screeching, Gollum-like vocals. The singer, using a wide range of mic effects, stands with his side to the crowd throughout the whole performance in pretty much the same position (think lightsaber fight), constantly screaming in such a way that the vocals crash into the music. After 3 songs (about 70 minutes), Khanate end the torture and leave the stage to a very impressed, happy crowd.


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