EVEREST QUEEN / KYLVER / SAIL / BLACK ATLAS - Club 85, Hitchin 18.04.19

WILL HORSMAN

 

Following on from the success of winning Hitchin’s annual Metal to the Masses competition and going on to play the Jagermeister stage at Bloodstock in 2017, Hertfordshire stoner-trio EVEREST QUEEN seem to be going from strength to strength. Tonight is the official launch of new album ‘Dead Eden’ with several other UK dates to follow. 

 

Having recently received 4 K’s in Kerrang magazine, the band must be on an inevitable high and have just announced the addition of ‘Dead Eden’ producer Tom Clements on second guitar and synth.

 

Kicking things off tonight are Bedfordshire stoner/doom quartet BLACK ATLAS. I’ve seen this band a few times now and it’s quickly becoming clear that their ‘balance’ isn’t a fluke. Everything sounds great - the drums and bass are completely in sync, the two guitars, despite being riddled with effects, work together seamlessly and the vocals over the top is just the icing on the cake. The pinched harmonics are flying out of the speakers into the audience, it’s all doused in a metric fuck ton of fuzz but that all completely adds to the sound. There’s textbook stoner rock in abundance here but it’s all varied enough to avoid being dull - there’s grooves everywhere. All the effects that are being used are being put to good use - whether it’s for an intro, a solo or a middle 8, none of it is just for the sake of it. A great way to set the bar incredibly high early on.

 

Black Atlas are:

Mikey Ward - Vocals / Guitar

Peter Hunt - guitar

Simon Wilson - Bass

James Lane - Drums

 

You can find them at :

https://www.facebook.com/BlackAtlasBand/

 

Somerset based SAIL are up next and straight out of the block with their massive sound which is both their strength and weakness. They make a massive impact as their set opener kicks in but the vocals don’t quite seem to be with the programme and some of the harmonies are notably off - unlike the guitar harmonies which are pretty spot on. Unfortunately, the sound doesn’t seem to do them any favours and the guitars and their effects blend into a massive wash over the drums. Fortunately, the breakdowns seem to benefit from the wall of sound, if nothing else does. A lot of the set seems to drag and nothing stands out as remarkable, that is until the last song. Their set closer starts off far more stripped back and chilled but is easily the best song of the set - the balance between all instruments is far better, the vocals seem more in tune and the whole vibe of the song is a cut above the rest of the set. The effects are put to much better use and even the heavier moments in the song sound far better than previously - all worked up to excellently. It’s very hit and miss but certainly a very strong end to the set.

 

Sail are:

Tom Coles - Drums

Charlie Dowzell - Guitar/Vocals

Tim Kazer - Guitar/Vocals

Kynan Scott - Bass/Synth/Vocals

 

You can find them at:

https://www.facebook.com/thebandsail/

 

Hailing all the way from Newcastle in the North East of England, instrumental prog-quartet KYLVER make for an exciting addition to tonight’s line up. It’s condescending to suggest that a lot of people don’t ‘get’ instrumental bands but they certainly tend to divide audiences. 

 

Knowing nothing about the band before tonight, I did have a moment of “Christ, here we go again” as they set up the stage with a theremin and dredge their way through the opening 30 seconds. Luckily for me, before I was able to sit and wallow in self-righteous indignation like a prize bellend, KYLVER spent the next 45 minutes playing one of the best sets I’ve seen in a long time. 

 

The guitar riffs, the keyboard riffs, the bass lines, the drums - it was just brilliant. I’ve never seen someone use a theremin so effectively, especially with the headstock of their bass! The dynamics drummer Barry Mitcheson used to create atmosphere, ducking in and out of songs was exceptional - all accentuated by the sustain used on the keyboards and the ebow on the guitar. 

 

I know I always harp on about instrumental bands and the proverbial journey but it really is so important and with KYLVER it’s not just in the writing that they’re successful but in the way they pull it off live - their playing speaks volumes. The whole performance is capped off beautifully as the band leave the stage without saying a word.

 

Kylver are:

James Bowmaker - Bass/Theremin

Barry Mitcheson - Drums

James Hill - Hammond Organ/Keys

Jonny Scott - Guitar

 

You can find them at:

https://www.facebook.com/kylvermusic/

 

It’s been a great night for underground bands but one that EVEREST QUEEN are more than capable of bringing to a close. Their record is an incredibly mature album for such a young band, a sentiment that pails in comparison only to their live performance. It’s evident that they’ve been working on these songs a lot lately as none of them miss a beat and look like they could do this blind folded. 

The changeovers between songs are all spot on, bleeding one song into another - it’s something most people take for granted but it’s the little things like this that sets bands apart. 

 

EVEREST QUEEN make light work of showing just how much you can achieve when you really know what you’re all about - theres confidence on display in abundance onstage through every atmospheric riff over every groove. You can credit the sound guy with the mix tonight but all the heavy lifting is done on-stage, there’s an absolute sensory assault from behind the drum kit and the guitar and bass compliment each other so well they create a sound so thick you can almost taste it - inhale the riff indeed!

 

Everest Queen are:

Adam C Taylor - Lead Vocals/Guitar

Tom Clements - Synth/Guitar

Jimmy Long - Bass/Vocals 

Brad Cook - Drums/Vocals

 

You can find them at:

https://m.facebook.com/everestqueenband/

 
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