Not many here tonight – and indeed RTM must offer its apologies to support band Aloeswood, who we miss altogether. There are major roadworks in Birmingham, meaning a long detour around the city to get the venue and whether this has put people off who knows? It is just as likely, though, that many just don’t know who the bands are.
Of all metals underground genres, doom is still very much an acquired taste and when it has a blackened tinge and the bands are largely singing about historical matters, it is especially niche.
Cnoc an Tursa (or “Hill of Sorrow” in English) might have a collection of poetry on their website but are from arty and by some distance the heaviest of the bands we do watch this evening, with Alan Buchan largely eschewing clean vocals. Most of the songs come from their “Giants of Auld” album although they play a new song which is faster still, before ending their set with a crushing “Lion of Scotland.”
Appropriately for a band whose name means “In hiding” in English, Falloch don’t do communicative. They are content to stand behind their instruments and let the music do any talking that needs to be done.
It helps they have such a stunning record as “Where Distant Spirits Remain” to plug. A former MSN metal album of the week no less, it is an absolutely glorious slice of Gaelic doom – imagine if Paradise Lost were scots or Mael Mordha didn’t have a flute and you are somewhere close. It is atmospheric, haunting and fabulous.
They do manage to be heavier live than they are on record and attack their instruments as if their life depends on it, they also play a track which singer Tony Dunn introduces as “I Shall Build Mountains,” whether this is on some new record, however, is unclear as eager to maintain mystery to the last it seems, he offers no further elucidation.
In hiding they might be, but for an hour tonight Falloch are so glorious you are glad you sought them out.