“Like giving birth to a child while killing the parents”. Such was the typically poetic and apt summary from singer Nikolai of the news that dropped from on high like an Acme anvil that one of my favourite bands in Palehorse was calling it a day, while simultaneously releasing a final album.
A full ten years since I had first seen the two bass-ed expansive sludge behemoth in a village hall in the middle of nowhere, (review here) the Londonahs have delivered stunning, uncompromising live sets and dense, hypnotic releases to me throughout this time, and something among all the twisted wrongness was just right. So I had to get my last dose, and even though I heard of this farewell tour with days to spare all came together to get me to sunny Salford.
Islington Mill retains enough of its rough and ready, post-apocalyptic feel to add to the occasion and it was pleasant enough to chill in the courtyard with a beer and catch up before heading into the darkness for the bands. I think it may have been an interchangeable line-up order for the tour going off the advertising but first up we struck Ghold. Couldn’t recall seeing them before but was instantly impressed with some gut and sinus reverberating doom heaviness from the three piece. Rickenbacker bass used almost Lemmy style to hammer out chords, with added guitar and drum punishment, they were fearsome, claustrophobic rhythms that lurched along. Complete contrast and complement through some three way whispered chanting, and also blistering feral speed outbreaks. A great mix and picked up some of their vinyl for further savouring.
Then we are onto the deathride of Palehorse. They shift through a maelstrom of many insistent, driving currents, blending and swirling you along with lulls of the softly spoken / disturbing interludes, absolutely hammered drums building up again to the ragdoll pummelling of their relentlessly grinding bass rhythms. At times there’s a groove reminding me of my other lost loves Copshootcop but this is then buried in a more pleasurably sour heartless sonic devastation. Emotion they do have in spades though, though pleasant and pleased in the between songs banter, the raw and cathartic bi-polar vocals are a perfect unhinged and unhappy expulsion of whatever self-doubt and horrors have been experienced. All I experience is satisfaction, to leave this long party on a high, and to keep it going with a pre-release copy of their new vinyl “Looking Wet in Public” (I don’t know either) which has its own amazing effect of carrying you away forever, I recommend you get it.
We are still left with the oddity of Qui though, a two piece drums and guitar (later bass) combo that is seriously off the wall and a test of the faculties. Experimental in a Mr Bungle frame of reference, there’s an indie groove and just strange vocal lyric repeats. They even break down to a bit of lounge style crooning for a point, but it’s riding the fine line of interesting and annoying so I’m happy to bail having had my fill of the bottom end previously, so to speak
Being the ever greedy barsteward I thought I would have the pleasure of one last grand embrace under the hooves of the ‘Horse with them being announced as a late addition to the Temples Festival down in Bristol that I was due to attend, but when that rug was pulled from beneath us all with the debacle of its last minute demise it added an extra poignancy to this and all the other memories. Other similarly subterranean projects are promised from the various members so none of us are off to the knackers yard just yet.