A couple of Friday nights ago, we demolished every character-staining suspicion that we were having a “Sober January” in the Unicorn in Camden. There were also a couple of bands playing – Carpathia and Bleeding Oath – so we got our man Von to write about them.
Six things we learned while trying to get our noggins round this noodling prog metal extravaganza
1. Bleeding Oath are young. Like… really, REALLY young. Like… statutory rape young. Which makes them very hard to criticise. At that age I barely knew which way up a guitar was meant to be, let alone how to do sweep picking. But I must, because it’s for their own good.
2. I see what you’re trying to do, Bleeding Oath. I really do. I see you try to pull off complex riffs, high speed double bass and deathy growls, but each time you don’t quite get there, do you. You’re really going for it. reaching for the giddy heights of guitar godhood, but no. It’s a sloppy mess. Scale back and write some songs – not just collections of riffs you can barely play yet. Go listen to something simple. I’ll forgive you now, because you can’t shave yet, but, c’mon guys. Walk first, then run.
3. Carpathia have been absent from the stage for around a year, going through various line-up changes, perfecting their sound and quite possibly going through twelve months of intensive guitar training, because they are tight. How tight? Tight enough to effortlessly pull off a metalled up King Crimson cover. That tight. That’s tight.
4. The sound they’ve returned with sits somewhere between Anathema‘s almost dreamy heaviness, and Opeth‘s crushing lurches between jangly lightness and catchy, complex death. There’s some great prog flourishes thrown it too, especially when it comes to the keyboards, which slot in very nicely and add texture to the songs rather than detract from the enjoyment. Quite likely because when the band engage the heaviness, the keyboard player switches to percussion. Clever!
5. They don’t look like a ‘more metal than you’ band, this lot, which is a nice change from the constant parade of splatter-logo T shirts and combat shorts that parade the Unicorn’s stage. It’s fairly sensible smart-casual. I was quite impressed by this until I realised singer/guitarist Tom was one name badge away from being the manager of my local Greggs.
6. For a band that have been away for so long, it’s amazing how confident Carpathia are. Little touches, like responding to audience banter and allowing the lead guitarist to take centre stage during the solos so he can make those faces in the limelight show this band have a lot to prove, but the means with which to do it. Great things await them.