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Live Report: Church Of Misery/The Gates Of Slumber/Evoken

Church Of Misery/The Gates Of Slumber/Evoken
Cameo, Brooklyn, New York, 5/25/12

Tucked behind a nondescript bar on North 6th Street in Williamsburg, the Cameo Art Gallery is very small and sounds very, very good. A formless piece of “art”, which looks like a thousand long strands of cooked rice noodles, hangs over the miniscule stage. (This will come into play later.) $4 Miller High Lifes? Gods be praised. It’s starting to feel more like a basement show now. Members from all three bands mingle through the small crowd; they’re here to watch the show, too.

Evoken cram themselves onto the stage, with monolithic bassist David Wagner front and center. I’m shocked at the lackluster crowd response following each song. I know people were disappointed that Rwake had to cancel, but come on, nothing more than a few claps? This is Evoken from fucking Lyndhurst, New Jersey, and they’ve been playing the death/doom game since forever. Is this another case of “cranky old metal guy” syndrome? Judging by the attendees, it’s possible. The band could sense the crowd’s mood, but it didn’t deter them from ripping through an excellent set which included highlights “A Caress Of The Void” and a song off the imminent new album Atra Mors.

. . .

The drummer for Gates Of Slumber was pissed. Shit just wasn’t going his way, and he made sure everyone around him knew it, especially his kit. The rhythm just crushed us over the collective head, and with most GoS songs being extended riff fests, it was transcendent. Karl Simon’s Wino-esque voice floated through the room, sparingly, describing covens, bastards and other such classic doom staples. This must have been what it was like seeing Saint Vitus in 1987, or Pentagram in 1979; everyone here knows we are witnessing something special, and it belongs only to us. “The Ice Worm” closed out a damn-near-perfect set, and the foundation was laid for what was to come.

. . .

The Church Of Misery guys seemed like down to earth, normal dudes. They had bounced around the crowd, all smiles, probably excited about their first show in New York City. But it was all a head fake; once they took the stage and that first sweet wave of feedback washed over the room, Cameo became a sweaty, pulsating testament to the power of rock and roll. Frontman Hideki Fukasawa jerked and gyrated like a man possessed, a Japanese Robert Plant tripping his balls off. Only the last shred of self-control kept him in check to belt out “Blood Sucking Freak” and “Born To Raise Hell”. Every song became an instant classic; Tom Sutton made his Les Paul walk the walk as strobing greens and reds bounced off the hanging spaghetti art. The crowd sang along in unison to tales of serial killers and homicidal legends, not so disturbing after being filtered through CoM’s boogie blues stomp. This is the part where I say “underrated”, but this time it should stay that way. It’s a shame they can’t make it to the States more often, but in this day and age it’s nice to have a secret.

— Chris Rowella

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