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Atriarch, Doctorshopper and Iron Mtn. Concert Review

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Iron  Mtn.

Iron Mtn.

Dave Schalek/About.com

Sometimes, really good shows occur deep in the underground. For example, Profound Lore Records' recent acquisition of Atriarch and issuance of the band’s second album, Ritual Of Passing, has resulted in a small tour through the central and western states.

Officially, no other bands were in tow with Atriarch, but, Los Angeles, lately, has exhibited a plethora of excellent, up and coming acts across a myriad of genres. Backing up Atriarch at the strangely named Boom Tomb Room (actually, nothing more than an American Legion Hall in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles) were locals Pendulous, Iron Mtn., and Doctorshopper.

Due to unforeseen complications, my companions and I missed virtually the entire set from Pendulous as we walked in during the closing moments, but what I did hear seemed to be mildly pleasing stoner/doom. My curiosity was piqued, though, as I realized that Pendulous’ vocalist does double duty as the vocalist in Icon Of Phobos, a local black metal band that I happened to catch opening for VON at the Black Castle a few weeks back. Considering that Icon Of Phobos blew the doors off the place, investigating Pendulous further has risen higher on my priority list.

Iron Mtn.

Iron Mtn., a psychedelic stoner/doom band from Los Angeles, were the first band upon which I can report. An instrumental quartet obviously heavily influenced by bands such as early Black Sabbath (say around Vol. 4 or so) and Sleep, Iron Mtn. play with a great deal of power and are anchored by a gigantic bass sound from bassist Scott Carlson (no, not that Scott Carlson).

Playing for about a half hour or so, Iron Mtn. demonstrated a great deal of potential as Carlson quickly emerged as the best musician in the group. Iron Mtn. were also the easiest band of the night to photograph, by the way, as they happened to bring their own lights. No one else used any lights.

Doctorshopper

Doctorshopper

Doctorshopper

Dave Schalek/About.com
The oddly named Doctorshopper are actually the alter ego of Lake Of Blood, a rather well regarded ecologically themed black metal band from Long Beach. Most of the members of Lake Of Blood are doing double time in Doctorshopper, but Doctorshopper are an entirely different animal from the traditional black metal sounds of Lake Of Blood. Playing in near total darkness, Doctorshopper play a blackened punk form of sludge with fast riffs, screeched vocals, bursts of speed, and a certain feeling of miasma.

Playing for about a half hour, Doctorshopper started out very strong with interesting songwriting replete with variety and a dark atmosphere. However, wading deeper into the set, they became a bit monotonous with a feeling of “sameness” to both their sound and their repertoire of songs. I suspect, however, that with a bit more work, Doctorshopper’s take on blackened punk/sludge could be quite interesting.

Atriarch

Atriarch were the obvious draw, as the crowd of about 40 people or so in attendance were there to see them. I was particularly interested in hearing Atriarch’s approach in a live setting; that is, would they play songs from Forever The End, or concentrate upon material from Ritual Of Passing?

The two albums differ in sound, with Forever The End being a haunting form of funeral doom with muted, reverb emphasized vocals. On the other hand, the recently released Ritual Of Passing sounds a bit like a blackened version of Celtic Frost combined with the sounds of deathrock band Christian Death.

Strangely, both versions of Atriarch showed up this evening, as a great deal of Ritual Of Passing was played, but wholly with the reverb laden vocals typical of those on Forever The End, a cacophony of deep howls and wails from vocalist Lenny Smith.

Atriarch were devastatingly heavy and, most impressive of all, the drums of Maxamillion really stood out as an anchor to the band’s live sound and atmospheric presentation. Maxamillion’s drumming is mesmerizing, an interesting mix of drone, off kilter time changes, and patterns that lend dynamic qualities to Atriarch, a quality that is hard to capture in funeral doom.

Overall

Atriarch

Atriarch

Dave Schalek/About.com
A good underground show was to be had at the Boom Tomb Room with an interesting mix of veteran bands and newcomers with potential.

As mentioned, with the exception of Iron Mtn., this show was played in nearly complete darkness. A few photographers were using flash during various sets, but I did not out of respect for what each band was attempting to achieve. As a result, my best pictures are best described, to be kind, as “atmospheric.”

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