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Acid King and Alunah at The Black Heart, London - live review

The Gospel - live

Crowd shot
(Image: © Katja Ogrin)

Birmingham’s ALUNAH [7] are on a mission, they just don’t sound bothered if they complete it, mapping out a holding pattern between seeking enlightenment and classic doom torpor. Flowing over a bedrock of Saint Vitus-fried fuzz, Sophie Day’s vocals carry a hint of Jex Thoth and SubRosa, but while the band persevere until their cyclic grooves release slowly winding leads, they’re never quite rapt enough to reach a genuinely mystic level. Their cover of The Cure’s A Forest gives it a beefed-up, molasses treatment without ever actually sounding lost in a forest, although a closing Belial’s Fjord is a redemptive psalm. San Francisco’s ACID KING [7] are very different live to on record. More drawn out, Lori S’s vocals more intermittent, they’re an expanding wave of psychedelic satori, as riffs sound like they’re being incubated over aeons, luxuriant and near-tantric. The room is ecstatic but there’s only so much zen you can take before you need a payoff riff or time/ space-obliterating magic that AK promise yet never deliver.

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.