While the rest of the UK alternative music scene seems to have bounced back after Lockdown parties etc, North Wales dragged its heels. Attendances have been as sparse and sporadic as the gigs themselves, with only Rhyl hanging on for dear life while everywhere else has been pretty dead. The avid among us sought sonic solace in Chester, Liverpool and Manchester. Hopefully a buck to that trend is about to begin. Conwy is a beautiful town halfway along the coast, situated within the walls of a majestic medieval castle. It is renowned for its real ale pubs and famous for the residents’ uproar that prevented Brexitspoons opening up and ruining the vibe. The Comrades Club was a regular (if unlikely) host of hardcore punk gigs (pre-Covid), until someone moved into a flat nearby, complained about the noise, and… yes, you get this all-too familiar story.
The new sound-proofing is fool proof enough to make me think the show had yet to begin, until I opened the venue doors and saw Warlockhunt on stage. They’re a three-piece who are sludgier than a sludge storm and doomier than the doomed. Fronted by Wirral exile, Lorraine Peaker, their thirty minute set was all about the bass; well, two basses to be accurate (and a drummer). Typically, in sludge fashion, you’re not going to get any songs clocking in below five minutes, and being a fan of short fast blasts I did feel trepidation before seeing Warlockhunt. Fear not, it was a pleasure to experience the tribalist beats behind a fuzzed bass and a phased bass, overlaid with Lorraine’s soft vocals.
Maines should really be on world tours, packing out venues night after night, but sometimes the Gods of music don’t deal the right hand and bands like this get missed. Line up changes leave just Dave and Craig with stand-in assistance for now. Thankfully, age is on their side and each time I see Maines I always hear the endless plaudits from the audience. It’s a post hardcore sound, it’s clever, vibrant and slick. Dave is sporting a Wales football shirt and displays elegance and guile (unlike the Welsh national team tonight). Maines’ set is a tapestry, woven together by intricate riffs, punctuated with vocals. Songs aim high and sweep low, searing through your mortal being like electric shock treatment.
Mark Watson-Jones and Gwyn Jones (everyone in North Wales is related) have been emissaries of their own musical sins for over a decade. Quietly murdering a quota of guitarists in their wake; Kev is their fifth such axeman (#pray4kev), they are vengeful and insistent with their mission. The band have trekked across Europe and Russia to spread their anarchistic ideals and they taint the untainted everywhere they go.
Tonight is album launch night for Emissaries Of Syn – thinking person’s grind ‘n’ roll. The album, ‘The Core Assumptions Of Human Insecurity’ understandably comes with a lyric sheet as the intelligent thought provoking wordsmithship is lost amid the thundering noise. Beautifully packaged with a choice of three different colours of vinyl, Emissaries Of Syn tonight showcase their latest offering. This is a niche market, I’d go as far to say they are in a genre of their own. Song after unrelenting song is played at unspeakable BPM and they are louder than war. Mark’s deadpan vocals sit upon a slab of revved up guitars and ridiculously fast drumming to present the unclean with tinnitus.
At 30 minutes each, no one outstays their welcome and a raffle of bumper prizes is later drawn to raise £240 for Idlewild Animal Sanctuary.
The Core Assumptions Of Human Insecurity is available here…