15 Jul 2019
FREQ reviews GNOD and Bonnacons of Doom at Astral Festival
Back to SWX for the insane sight of Bonnacons Of Doom; about half-a-dozen people on stage wearing shining disc masks that make them look like some sort of astral version of The Residents. Fronted by a cape-wearing woman coming on like a high priestess, she wails over the top of a tribal post-metal sludge fest with guitars that sear and scorch through the dramatic light show. Her voice has real power and cuts through the righteous maelstrom like a knife through butter. The glinting masks behind her make the whole scene appear like some post-nuclear metal band that had survived disaster and were just waiting for Mad Max to stride through the bar-room door. Crazy stuff.
We escape back to the relative cool of SWX, but the upheaval that Gnod are causing on stage is anything but chilled. The band seems to be travelling on a trajectory that makes the sound angrier and louder and more ferocious each time we see them. Gone are the experimental jaunts and japes from ten years ago, and now they are a monolithic behemoth, seemingly taking up where Godflesh left off, but with none of the vulnerability and far more firepower. The third twin drummer attack of the day with Jesse Webb once again claiming a drum-stool, this is by far the most devastating.
The brutality of the group, caught in the ire of Paddy Shine‘s vocals and reflected in the shrieking of the two guitars which seem to be set on stun, even when at rest, is matched by an excoriating light show; all bright white and epilepsy-inducing shudders. The lights conspire to fabricate imaginary portals to Heaven along which the group are only too happy to escort us, and these moments of transcendence where the entire band lock in as one are perhaps the real moments of the set. It is hypnotic and relentless, the volume eye-bleeding, but coupled with some real clarity — although the guitars behave like some sort of torture victims desperate to wrest themselves from the players.
Read the rest here: FREQ