SubRosa live review – London, Underworld

Delirium-inducing journeys to the dark side with SubRosa and support act Darkher

Subrosa live in London, 2016

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The dark, doomy folk of singer-songwriter DARKHER [8], aka Jayn Wissenberg, provides a perfect prelude to Subrosa.

She’s just released first album Realms, and though the project is her own, she’s joined onstage by a guitarist and drummer who look like they’ve raided a dress-up box with a cowboys and Indians theme. Denser than on record, even without a bass, live Darkher’s sound has added heaviness that sometimes overpowers her spellbinding voice, as it’s one that deserves more attention. While Darkher deal in the eerie elements of the pastoral, Salt Lake City’s SUBROSA [9] invoke a different, more primal side of the natural world. Their fourth album For This We Fought The Battle Of The Ages is inspired by the Russian dystopian novel We,fitting perfectly with the band’s apocalyptic, mesmerising doom: crashing drums, erratic, electric violins and Rebecca Vernon’s gutwrenchingly emotive cries. Many Subrosa songs begin with a sweet softness; Beneath The Crown starts with vocal harmonies between Vernon and the two female violinists before the songs roar with a primitive surge into unabashed heaviness. All five members coil, shake and bang their heads in distorted positions while attacking their instruments. Subrosa are one of the most unique bands on the extreme scene today, squashing any accusations that doom equals dull.

Hannah May Kilroy

Hannah May Kilroy has been writing about music professionally for over a decade, covering everything from extreme metal to country. She was deputy editor at Prog magazine for over five years, and previously worked on the editorial teams at Terrorizer and Kerrang!. She currently works as the production editor for The Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Guardian, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer.