Lichens, Sun Of Nothing
An Club, Athens, Greece

I can surely tell you that I have witnessed a spiritual and religious experience with this live performance. I can also state that sometimes, guitar can’t even create a massive wall of sound that a comfortable and large bass player will. Still, it was not only me that left with mouth and eyes wide open, trying to wonder what could have happened if anyone of us really dived inside certain aspects in music, and in some groups specifically.

To start with, I must mention that Greek fellows Sun Of Nothing managed to open the show and for forty minutes I was struggling between my likeness for their music, as they bring out some great atmosphere, and the pure distraction of the vocals, that in my humble opinion ruin the whole result. I have nothing personal with the guy, for Christ’s sake. I just couldn’t hear him. Even for the style I find the result a little out of my taste. Surely he must have talent to produce a constant grunt, but to make matters worse, his voice was so back, maybe on purpose though, that I couldn’t hear shit. And I was next to the speaker. However, on musical terms they satisfied all of us and they must have made many new friends. Keep it up like this, even with me not liking the vocals.

Lichens was really the strangest live experience ever. A guy named Robert Lowe (not the godly singer of Solitude Aeturnus-did somebody say Candlemass?) came to the stage on his own and for 22 minutes he created a bizarre and hard to understand field of music, mainly with distortion in his microphone and with the help of some mixing pedals. To be honest, it’s hard to understand his musical vision, maybe something’s wrong with me. But seeing many people yawning, or just staring at him clearly with ease to see him finishing, well, it’s not the best thing somebody could wish for. Interesting on one hand, totally out of point on the other hand. Only one effort by him and he was off to prepare the ground for the continuation.

And now let’s go to the main point. First of all: Al Cisneros is easily the best musical presence I have ever seen in my whole life, regarding bass players. Yes, I love Steve Digiorgio or Alex Webster and many more, but this guy is the real deal. Such a unique playing style, others could call it safe or lazy, I call it comfortable. As far for his new partner Emil Amos, also drummer of the magnificent Grails,he showed us why he was picked to feel the heavy duty of replacing the mighty Chris Hakius. Direct, passionate, bombastic where he should and a little more drunk of course, he was the driving force of Al’s compositions, following strictly the heavy basslines of the leader. One or two times his drumsticks fell off but who gives a fuck?

Accompanied by Lowe of Lichens also, they presented some of their songs in perfectly changed orchestrations, with better examples the new songs from ”God Id Good” album such as ”Meditation Is The Practice Of Death” or ”Cremation Ghat” (they played both parts of it). Lowe added some droning guitar sounds just to fill some gaps and we has a colossal result. The crowd’s response was divided, with some people closing their eyes and just trying to feel deeply what they were listening to and some others just trying to follow the groove of OM’s music. Either way, there must not have been a single being leaving this place untouched by this whole gig.

Little is the importance of how much they played and the musical problems they faced. My clock was pointed at nearly half past eleven when they started, finishing at 1 o’clock after midnight. Counting out some problems with the monitors, two or three times inside the show, OM played clearly 75 minutes, not bad at all, regarding that their four studio releases last about 150 minutes. So practically, we heard half the music of the group, with epics like ”At Giza” (what a moment), ”Bhima’s Theme, ”Pilgrimage” and even older ones like ”Flight Of The Eagle” or ”On The Mountain Of Doom”. Of course, being large songs, they were not played in their entirety, if they did, we’d stay there at least an hour more. Such thing happened with last album’s initial track ”Thebes” also.

I must say that the fact that the club was much filled in capacity makes me happy. People seem to support such kind of music (in Athens of course, because in Thessaloniki not even 1/10 of them would participate on such show) and enable the promoters to continue booking bands for all of us to see. We saw OM on the high peak of their career, with a great album on their side and even without Hakius, they really are phenomenal. After this questions wonder through my mind such as what should happen in Athens if Neurosis played? I wish Venerate or anyone else to manage to book them, so all that took part in this show will find their euphoria. Now, if I want to bring the fan out of me, I have one demand only: Bring us Shrinebuilder, for we had a first doze of Wino and Cisneros together, even with five days distance. Praise to all those who came. The rest of you, missed (as in Saint Vitus also) the experience of a lifetime. God is not good. HE is perfect!

Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.