The way the two Sera Timms-fronted bands are set up, it’s hard not to compare the dormant (currently writing) Black Math Horseman and this new release from cerebral trio Ides of Gemini. Each share her soothsayer’s vocals that are tempered and resonant and they are most importantly, instantly, recognisably unique.
The similarities don‘t stop there; stripped down compositions with little embellishment, cymbal adverse heavily rhythmic percussion and a plough-like pacing, letting the music dig in thoroughly. Yet where Black Math Horseman are the doomsayers and deerslayers with their more prominent Om-isms and Tool riffs, Ides of Gemini are more perilous, there’s a leaner edge to their stargazing in comparison to the former’s earthenware.
They retain the weight-baring percussive strengths, this time provided by Kelly Johnston, but they don’t vent as regularly, the pacing is still a walk. It is when J. Bennet’s jangling riffs sear with a more blackened tone Constantinople steps up in to a rare gallop that they sound at their most ominous and threatening. ‘Reaping Golden’ heaves a great magnitude of heavy and Sera Timms’ gloomy divinations complement handsomely. It is without doubt that Timms is the centrepiece of this trio. Her bass works well in tandem with the sparse percussion forming a strong rhythm section of which everything relies, BMH and IoG are more rhythm than anything else. Her vocals are achingly beautiful and makes Constantinople stand out as a contender for a few year end lists. The end of the world never sounded so exquisite.
They only have their first EP up on Bandcamp, but it’s a good taster of what makes this record so good.
Sungrazer are a band I have been overwhelmingly charmed by over the past year. Their 2011 record Mirador grooved and psyched out in all the right places and actually landed top spot on my list of last year. Their 2010 self-titled EP with it’s gorgeous artwork turned a few heads while Mirador excelled them to the point of LP-buying status. For someone like myself, that’s quite a heady status.
So when on my travels up to London for the inaugural Desertfest Sungrazer were high on my priorities for seeing. But that took a bit of juggling. I remember when I first heard about Desertfest, and like a lot of people really, I felt as if someone had gone about tailoring their festival to suit my taste. The line up was incredible: Black Pyramid, Greenleaf, Truckfighters, Roadsaw, Stubb, Samsara Blues Experiment, Rotor, Sons of Alpha Centauri, Asteroid, Trippy Wicked, Dopefight. Those were the bands I saw, along with Sungrazer, yet I can’t bear even thinking about who I missed. To check out the full line up head HERE
It is easy to say that after a few years of going to Bloodstock, an outdoor festival with a focus on good death metal, and then experiencing Desertfest, that Desertfest is probably the best festival experience I’ve had so far. The venues were a good size and there wasn’t ever a squash. The people were so nice and friendly and ready to help. I even miss one of the bar men from the Purple Turtle venue. The sound was great, never a problem. And finally all the bands were just really, really cool. I loved recognising band members in the crowd supporting their fellow music-makers, I loved their attitudes on stage, always so welcoming and pleased to be there. As disparate the metal scene is, I feel the stoner rock scene is so much more of a community. It’s weird thinking how the some of the bands were part of the crowd and how part of the crowd was in some of the bands.
Anyway, I was lucky enough to drag my girlfriend to the front of the stage before Sungrazer got on and made sure to grab a good place for a few photos. I have to say Sungrazer killed it live, they debuted a new song ‘Dopo’ which was very cool and riffy and they were cool enough to give me the set list which I have tucked away in my LP of Mirador.
After the jump you can see a few photos of Sungrazer’s set. If you can ever see them live. Do it. They’re fucking great. (more…)