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Black Breath, Black Math Horseman @ Spaceland

Converge, Coalesce, Gaza, Touche Amore (replacing Lewd Acts) and Black Breath: an unstoppable bill, right? Wrong. El Rey Theatre, which looks like this, is no place for this bill. It has chandeliers, a shitload of security, a stage barrier, and other deterrents to a good time. Life makes me miss Black Breath and Touche Amore. Gaza leave me colder than when I entered. They don’t know what to do with a stage so big, it’s practically its own venue. Coalesce do better, but even up close, they’re far away. Hardly anyone is moving. This place is beat. My colleague J. sends me a text message. Black Math Horseman go on in 20 minutes. It’s a few miles away. I am so there.

I get to Spaceland as Black Math Horseman start up. They’re headlining, so their fog machine is hard at work. So are their reverb units. The guitars are reverbed, the vocals are reverbed, and I can hardly see anything. The room is practically an ’80s 4AD record. Singer/bassist Sera Beth Timms is a she-wolf in a fancy dress. Boots, black bangs, the works: she’s spooky. Her ghost of a voice has some PJ Harvey in it. If David Lynch were directing, I would pick up some disaffected-looking chick – or she would pick me up – and we would go to her mansion on Mulholland Drive. I would wake up the next day in my own bed wondering why my hands were bloody. Thankfully, David Lynch is not directing. I remain single and not a murderer.

Black Breath have also fled El Rey. They’ve popped over to Spaceland to play a surprise set after Black Math. About 50 people are left when they go on – and they’re happy. The singer says something about chandeliers, a shitload of security, a stage barrier, and other deterrents to a good time. “Fuck!” He spits angrily. He is relieved to be here. The band rears up, then strikes. Holy shit. This shit is heavy. It is profanity. It is fucking and goddamning and all that is great about heavy music. Entombed have come back to life – there’s a band out there masquerading as them, never mind them – as some hardcore band ripping people to pieces. Girls pound beers and headbang. I try to wrench my torso from my waist. The singer grabs my head and shakes it. I grab his hair and shake it. Sweat coats my hands. It’s a reflex. Open hand, close fist, clench, release. Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop. The singer looks apologetic. “I’m sorry, we can’t play 10,000 more”.

Black Breath – “I Am Beyond”

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— Cosmo Lee

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Black Math Horseman

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Black Breath

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