Eschar / Throatpunch City / Atiptoe / The Deadlights [Live Review – The Boileroom, Guildford, 3/4/2015]

eschar album launchOn an average Friday night, the most challenging music you’re likely to encounter will involve a four-to-the-floor kick drum, some cheesy synths, and the chart topping pop puppet of the day warbling over the top. Prog fans on a night out often find themselves hitting a wall beyond which they either choose to go home, or encounter a sudden urge to cut their ears off. The Boileroom, then, was a safe haven for music fans whose tastes tend toward the sophisticated.

The Deadlights have really stepped things up since I last saw them live, injecting a healthy dose of aggression into their epic-length widescreen soundscapes. While bands like Eschar, Heights, and Toska are rapidly raising the ultra-complex instrumental prog bar to intimidating altitudes, the Deadlights are moving in their own gutsy and emotive direction. Fair play to them.

Atiptoe tend toward crazy math-rock which somehow winds up being catchy, even though it really shouldn’t work that way. Listening to an Atiptoe song is like discovering an almost-finished Rubik’s Cube and making the final few adjustments; the perfect balance of challenge and accessibility is a real testament to Atiptoe’s songwriting skills, while their ability to pull off some absolutely ridiculous tangential shifts and fit in flashy bits without coming across as showoffs puts them near Jon Gomm’s level. With new songs suggesting an even more refined direction than before and the likes of Sir Real and Tripoli acting as examples of Atiptoe at their currently-available finest, this was yet another winner from a band who never deliver anything less.

Throatpunch City have improved themselves several times over since they became the subject of the only review I’ve ever felt guilty for publishing. At this point, I might as well print off a copy of that review and eat my own words, because Throatpunch City are turning into an act with real potential. Think Arcane Roots and At The Drive-In jamming with Guthrie Govan; although there are still a few minor issues to sort out, Throatpunch City are on their way to cool things if they keep going the way they’re going.

As for Eschar, it was amazing to see a full room for instrumental prog/post-metal on a Friday night – especially bearing in mind this set consisted of entirely new material from an album (reviewed on TMMP here) which hadn’t even been out for 24 hours at that point. Warmed up by Between The Buried And Me’s classic Selkies: The Endless Obsession pumping through the PA pre-performance and encompassing Nova‘s fat odd-meter chugs, This Is Not For You‘s Muse-on-crack fuzz bass, Discovery One‘s unstoppable bass pulse, Falling Faintly Through The Universe‘s combination of fractured riffage and ultra-loose vibey sections, and album opener Monolith‘s sexy slap bass and none-more-solid structural integrity, Eschar’s set may have been made up of only a few songs, but it remained epic almost beyond words.

Above all else, Eschar are notable for the kind of effortless intensity which comes from shattering the 10,000 hour boundary that theoretically separates the amateurs from the masters. With a strong and sizeable fanbase, recognition from the wider prog community, and so much talent-hogging going on that it’s almost unfair to everyone else, Eschar definitely deserve to become as big as it’s possible for a band of their type to become.


Check out TMMP’s exclusive pre-show interview with Eschar here.

Read more about Eschar’s brand new album Nova here. 

Eschar on Facebook and Twitter.

Throatpunch City on Facebook and Twitter.

Atiptoe on Facebook and Twitter.

The Deadlights on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow TMMP on Twitter for more reviews, interviews, features, and awesome music!

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