It was nearly 20:50 when Omega Monolith hit the stage. I have to admit that it was the second time that I would be able to watch them live, and I had great expectations. Despite the fact that they decided to focus on new material, they didn’t let me down. It seems that the duo from Athens, has done a lot of work in order to make its personal sound and to create some very special music. Compositions in the direction of “Black Campaign”, slowly building and leading to a strange journey, sometimes within heavy passages, sometimes with post metal twists and turns. Unfortunately, some problems with the gear on stage were undermining the band’s flow, but this wasn’t enough to prevent someone from appreciating the “monolith”.
After nearly 45 minutes, it was Automaton’s turn to treat our ears. They started their set with their EP opener “Going Doing”, and massive doom grooves released from the speakers. At the same time the venue’s projector started to play vintage black and white footages in the backdrop, making the ideal atmosphere for the band’s music. For someone who hasn’t listened to Automaton’s music, they play atmospheric doom with sludgy vocals, and they doing it in a very convincing way. Of course the representation of “Echoes of Mount Ida” EP in their playlist didn’t end with “Going Doing”, but the result wasn’t predictable as someone would expect. The element of surprise for the audience emerged when the female singer of the band “Burning Sticks” got on stage adding some ethereal backing vocals to Automaton’s music. The result was great and the crowd seemed embracing this move. The time had passed though, and it was time for some joints to light up…
Just before Belzebong get on stage, the lights went green (and stayed that way till the end of the show) and the projector started to play footages of vintage horror b-movies in green sepia. A few seconds later the first notes of “Bong thrower” were vibrating the already thick air of six d.o.g.s. and the heavily fuzzed out trip had just started. The “Sonic Scapes and Weedy Grooves” material had of course the lion’s share in the playlist (we listened it in its entity) but we had also the chance to listen to the epic composition of “Dungeon Vultures” along with two new Belzebong tracks.
At this point, one thing I have to say, is that if you think that Greece is the only country that has the privilege of a boiling stoner rock/stoner doom scene nowadays, please think again. Poland seems to have made some serious steps at this music direction (e.g. Dopelord, Weedpecker) and Belzebong is undoubtedly among the pioneers in this country. This statement, was emphatically verified by Belzebong’s performance on Saturday, cause they gave us a sound result so great, that was really close to the epic sound their recordings have (congrats also to the six d.o.g.s. crew for this).
The other thing that I want to underline, is that some of us who listen to this kind of music, sometimes we tend to avoid the term “stoner” in order to describe it. The Belzebong show though, was literally the definition of a stoner act! I can’t remember another show that I have attended in the past, with so many joints lighted up at the same time (I haven’t seen Sleep or Electric Wizard live so far :P ), with the band giving the….”good example” itself by lighting up twice some …cigars and passing them to the crowd. "A true stoner doom …Holy Communion ritual" someone would say, and he would be right.
The show continued this way, full of heavy riffs hidden in the green shades of smoke. Nearly 70 minutes after Belzebong's appearance on stage, the members of this “community” (somewhere between 250 and 300 people - we were informed that it was a sold out show) seemed to be more than pleased having watched three very promising bands filling up with grooves their Saturday night.
by Vasilis Durden