At War With The Sun and Abraxian live at Paradiddles, Worcester 14th January 2022
Sludge, the kind you listen to, not the kind you wade through, is a niche market with widening appeal. So, when Cathedral Promotions decided to treat us to a large helping of it smack bang in the middle of Worcester it was a chance too good to pass up. Slap was there to see it all go off.
Unfortunately, Milton Keynes outfit The River are unable to appear due to Covid issues but Abraxian have made the trip over from MK and both they and Worcester’s, At War With The Sun decide to play longer sets to compensate. It’s more than and a fair deal for the decent sized gathering as Abraxian E-Bow their way into a haunting intro before smashing their way out the other side and into opener Ethereal Throne. In truth, it’s an unsteady start but Abraxian grow and warm to their task, so by the time Drowning In Consequence thunders into view we can see that the young bucks from Bucks are a well oiled machine, that has big shiny spikes and bludgeoning war hammer riffs on it. It’s a bone shakingly wonderful performance that pounds through the enthralled watchers.
Guitarist Matt and bassist Ash trade vocal duties, barking their stories into our heads. Lead guitarist Terry is precise and purposeful in his playing, stabbing his dagger-like riffs into the melee while drummer Jack wears his emotional involvement with his art across his face at all times. It all comes together beautifully and as Ruminations brings the set to a close the enthusiastic plaudits Abraxian receive are very much deserved.
Local boys, At War With The Sun have been putting themselves about a lot since they came into being, never afraid of breaking new ground to push their message that Sludge is good! But tonight they’ve come home to remind us why they are being welcomed to towns and cities across the Shires. It doesn’t take long for them to prove their point, openers Reality’s Mirror and Low Winter Sun are delivered with ease and authority. AWWTS are dark and heavy but never restricted and in front of our ears they their build their colossal wall of sound.
Frontman/guitarist Jono is totally at ease with what he’s doing and naturally engages with his audience. He’s an unassuming kind of fella but don’t be fooled, if his vocal performance was a person you definitely wouldn’t want to meet it down a dark alley – aggressive, angst ridden and almost demonic, all driven on by his own viscous guitar sound. Drummer Alex is the guy holding the leash to this beast and he knows exactly when to let it loose or reel it in. He appears incredibly relaxed about it though, playing with flourish and swagger. Meanwhile, bassist Karl seems to drift into some kind of private communion with his guitar and the subterranean basslines he coaxes out of it. OK, it’s not overly visual but the watchers are drawn into the band’s mind space just the same.
The thick hanging fog outside has provided an eerily fitting backdrop to this sludgernaut of a set that AWWTS draw to an epic end with newbie, The Garden. It was all so brilliantly loud and richly chaotic that, as the happy watchers drifted away into the mist, the question on most of their minds must have been “Exactly when do my eyeballs stop vibrating?”. Awesome stuff.