Catching this spattering of Monday night punters off-guard, The Day Of Locusts send huge rumbling guitar lines and sludgy waves rumbling around The Unicorn.
Their propensity for dropping hammer-heavy notes and letting them linger sits finely against a progressive way of thought; their song structures leaning close to the progressive lineage of Pink Floyd.
Channelling the coarser, earlier work of Baroness with a bluesy streak akin to the sadly missed Wet Nuns and slashed through with sounds as diverse as sludge and country, Suffolk’s Old Man Lizard are equal parts mischievous and brilliant. Their as-yet unnamed new song about Edward Mordake, a 19th-century man whose second face on the back of his head caused him to take his own life, is as sweetly poignant as it is shocking. This quick-step between darkness and levity, set against a mishmash of musical influences, gives OML the edge over a pool of bands that are increasingly producing identikit heavy music with a southern drawl.
Swiss quintet Kruger, who are currently playing their last-ever shows, open their set with a cathedral of noise, a seismic, bass-heavy wail of penitence similar to the likes of Amenra. Songs from their latest album, 2014’s Adam And Steve, waver between punky thrash and post-metal ambience, contrasting stark aggression with segments that are rife with expectation. Frontman Renaud Meichtry certainly ramps up the sense of unpredictability. His confrontational live persona demands absolute engagement from his audience, as he thrusts his body into an increasingly feverish crowd, leaping onto his knees before finishing off the set by hugging everyone present.
In contrast to this emotional battering are the studied but cosmic krautrock musings of Dutch headliner Monomyth. Their late start might not suit a reduced audience, but for those sticking around, they offer a lesson in tight, twisting post-rock that sits simply and refreshingly at the peak of a heavy line-up.
Aesthetically, they have the look of studio-dwellers, with guitarists Thomas van den Reydt’s tangled locks framing an expression of pensive concentration. The music emotes for them, as the references to Pink Floyd expose themselves in the swirling nebulae of Collision and Vanderwaalskrachten’s melancholic organ and piercing guitar. Van den Reydt effortlessly slips between the necks of his double-headed axe, and rumbling riffs swiftly become galaxy-shifting squeals puncturing the repetitive, post-rock bass lines.
Last-minute venue changes and start-of-the-week blues may not have provided the biggest boost in attendance for the Dutchmen, but their lively sensibility and feel for grandiose atmospheres sets the week off rather smartly.