Edinburgh-based band Dvne released a fabulous album earlier this year called Etemen Aenka and have like other bands been absolutely desperate to play some of it live. They decided to open up their touring schedule again by playing a special one-off show in their hometown, inviting 2 other bands they know to come along and make a night of it! As I type they are on the road as support (to Bossk) but this was a headline show. Before the gig, I was able to have a chat with one of the guitarists/vocalists (Victor Vicart) to get the low down on the band, their history, the show and the future for the band. You can find the interview link at the bottom of this review!
La Belle Angele is a venue that holds around 600 people which is situated up (or down, depending on which way you come in from) a small close in the Cowgate area of Edinburgh. Although not sold out I can say that it was a very healthy crowd that turned up and enjoyed the show (there are still folks who are a bit unsure of going to gigs which is understandable).
Visually the band have a set up where the guitarist/vocalists are up the front (that being Victor Vicart and Dan Barter) with the drummer (Dudley Tait) at the back on one side and keyboardist (Evelyn May) on the other with the bassist (possibly Greg Armstrong, they have 2 different ones, see interview) hidden a bit being on the floor and not on a riser. The lights at La Belle are at the back of the stage so the lights come through the band, which to be honest works really well with a band that plays intense atmospheric progressive metal. It kind of added to the vibe of the show for me here.
Focussing On The New:
The band focussed heavily on the new album Etemen Aenka which they played 6 or 7 songs from, so around 50 to 55 minutes, which then allowed them to perform a couple of tracks from the previous album and a “B” side from a single. The band didn’t talk much between the songs, they focussed very much on making sure the music was performed as perfectly as possible. The sound was pretty good where I was, meaning that the more subtle moments didn’t get lost for the listener. I would say that the keys were a little low where I was, but then that is what happens when you are down the front at the side. My own fault. However, I could hear them when they were the focus of any song. It was interesting to find out who does what vocals on the albums, Victor being responsible for the clean and slightly higher register vocals and Dan all the low-pitched gutturals.
Progression Through The Years And Albums:
The music really captivates, it draws you in and keeps your attention. It was difficult for me to keep track of the song titles as they aren’t always very obvious. I recognized so many moments but trying to remember the names to write down is near impossible. The thing is, their music is so cinematic it hardly matters (at least to this reviewer), I didn’t understand the new album so I was focused on the sounds and transitions, all of which were done with great panache. From lovely lilting moments like the mellow part of “Court Of The Matriarch” to the opening metal riff of “Si-XII” which absolutely killed, they impressed me throughout. From the cheers and applause from the throng behind me I can easily say I wasn’t the only one feeling like that. The last song of the main set “Of Blade And Carapace” originally came from their 2014 EP (Aurora Majesty) and was also on their single release of “Omega Serverer” from last year. This was much heavier, almost Motorhead in its speed and intensity. In fact, I thought there was an element of punk as well. It kind of made me realize how they have obviously morphed or progressed in style. This was an aggressive in-your-face track for the most part. They came out after the crowd chanted for “one more song”, which as they are a prog band gave us about another 10 minutes of music! The encore was from the 2017 album Asheran and was called “Thirst” which was another very heavy slice of progressive metal with mostly growled vocals. This was another workout for drummer Dudley who pounded his kit like he was never going to need it again. A powerful ending to a completely compelling performance from the band.
Came from Edinburgh doom metal outfit King Witch who were delighted to be able to play some of their new album which they have been sitting on for what seems like an eternity ago early 2020. Singer Laura Donnelly remarked how frustrating it had been. They certainly didn’t waste time in getting the crowd going with their doomy metal which has absolute grooves running through the heart of it. They played songs that if your head wasn’t bobbing (at least) then your feet were. They focussed on Body Of Light of course with 4 of the 7 songs played coming from it. The absolute highlight, at least for me was the epic “Of Rock And Stone” which nearly knocked me over with its power, guitar solo and changes of pace. It is quite a progressive piece which is perhaps why I was drawn to it so much. The band played the sort of show as a support that goes “well follow that” to the headliner. Great performance all around.
A Big Surprise:
Opener Godeater I knew very little about. They are from Glasgow and play death metal. Or should I say progressive death metal? I was impressed especially with the more doomy sections, or slower sections of music which hit very hard. The song that stood out on the night was “Salvation” which at one point had what sounded like a banjo being played (there wasn’t one on stage, it just sounded like one) which kind of caught us on the hop. The big surprise was kept to the end when they went quite arty, hinting at Tool in a way with the singer (Josh Graham I believe) suddenly singing very cleanly and in almost a falsetto. Jaws dropped on the floor near me when he did that.
Great Job All Around?
A great night of metal-based music from 3 bands that are just out of a long hibernation (due to you know what), not having played much if at all in the last 18 months who knocked it out of the park giving the crowd great shows and performances to go with the music. Dvne wanted to do a special home show with a bill that would match up to expectations and they did. Two very good supports and a top performance from themselves.
Great job all around!
Interview with Victor can be found HERE
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