Sanctae Noctis – Katatonia
MAC2, Hobart TAS
Saturday 18th June 2022
Support: Conjurer, King Yosef, Black Sheep Wall, Diploid, YLVA, R U N and Kilat
Famed writer, poet, inventor and environmental activist Margaret Atwood once said: “Heroes need monsters to establish their heroic credentials. You need something scary to overcome.” and this quote in all honesty, has numerous avenues that are uncannily fitting for Dark Mofo’s Sanctae Noctis festival in 2022. Before the gates had even opened, a monster in the form of COVID19 affected the show, with Neoclassical Darkwave songstress Lingua Ignota having to cancel her appearance due to contracting the virus. This was undoubtedly devastating, yet Lingua’s merchandise was still available at the event (and sold rapidly) in a true sign of adoration from the organisers; those who know this artist’s music, are well aware of her strength, as she has overcome many monsters in her life as a true HERo can only do. From all in Australia, we hope to witness Lingua’s “survivor anthems” in the very near future – we will be sure to supply a bucket-load of extra toasty cheezits.
The next HERo of arguably the entire Dark Mofo festival, Karina Utomo wasted no time in presenting her project Kilat in her truly magnetic and monstrous fashion she is known for with High Tension and Rinuwat (who had played just days prior). An elegance of unbridled second wave blackened metal intensity overcame the warehouse as the trio showcased their extreme metal which incorporates Nusantara and ancient Javanese traditions. Featuring songs from their soon-to-be-released debut album RANTAI PENJINAK – the chemistry between Karina, guitarist Benjamin Andrews and drummer Rama Parwata is otherworldly – Ms Utomo in some instances appeared to have wings while Ben and Rama elevated her to flight with their powerful raw brutal noise. This was just the beginning.
Lochlan Watt is a man who needs little to no introduction in the world of metal; the esteemed presenter of Triple J’s The Racket, the countless outfits he has been involved with whether his own groups like Nuclear Summer or assisting with vocal duties for Tasmanian extreme metal legends Psycroptic; his accomplishments and commitments to this heavy music world are impossible to quantify. In a disastrous turn of events, Mr Watt has quite a harrowing adventure ahead as the cancer he had once defeated has sadly returned and will require further treatment. This showcase was to be his last performance with his Victorian post-metal group R U N before he embarks on defeating this monster once again; unfortunately the pandemic had impacted blackgaze supergroup Deafheaven’s performance, R U N was now allocated a new and burgeoning role at this festival, thankfully so. The five-piece came out with pulsating purpose, fuelled by this incentive and Lochlan Watt was his own beast. This writer has had the good fortune of seeing Lochie prior to this occasion, on this night though, he was superior. Demonstrating songs from the mini-album For You Will Never Find Peace Within Your Quiet, the quintet brutally blossomed as Lochlan ensured he was athletic and artistic with every word he delivered, this was notably accentuated by a cover of The Goo Goo Dolls ‘Iris’ which understandably undertook a whole new meaning with metallic blasts. “I just want you to know who I am” the frontman screamed at his audience; we undoubtedly do Lochie and what we know is that you will overcome cancer once again.
Continuing with the Victorian presence, the lethal dynamo that is Diploid enforced their passionate chaotic mathcore on the pleasantly surprised crowd – this was of a TIDAL WAVE in nature. The severity that these three members execute with such ferocity is, to-be-frank, catastrophic and captivating. This exhibition was that of profound diplomatic enlightenment and the wavering of songs from a broad range of their catalogue, but namely their brilliant new LP I Am Yours. And I Am Here Again grindered (pun intended) Tasmania to take notice. With the new re-emergence of international touring in Australia, a wish-list of many would certainly include Converge and Rolo Tomassi; if this tour is to transpire, Diploid ARE the choice to commence the spectacle.
If the third time is a charm, then the fourth must be an incantation? VICanation? Regardless, the drone of Melbourne’s YLVA resplendently slowed down the acceleration of Sancta Noctis in a mesmerising fashion; the Melburnians unleashed a surge of post-metal in a thunderous framework – think Wolves In The Throne Room, Isis, Soothsayer and even Russian Circles as comparisons but not definitions. At times, a pin could drop, at other times, this was a terrifying soundtrack and documentation of a vicious predatory attack. Utilising the brawn of the four-piece’s debut full-length Meta as the prior discussed score for this exposition; it would have been a fascinating experiment to have David Attenborough actually chronicle this to some degree, due to YLVA’s almost prehistoric immense output. Will record number two be too much to ask for? For Sir Attenborough’s sake?
Portland’s King Yosef was the outstanding oddity – death industrial rap-core might outline his aura, but truthfully it is unfair to. This isn’t everyone’s cup of Cascade, it’s tricky, trippy and could incorporate a bit of trepidation. However, many of the audience members did thrive on this maverick, the dynamism was vast. ‘Pity Case’ displayed an aggression that Henry Rollins would admire and to try to visualise this “character” as a whole, possibly imagine a collaboration between Mr Rollins, The Prodigy and the film ‘Candyman’ (less gore, more roar), it’s in that spirit, ghoulishly.
Black Sheep Wall were in multiple senses, that sensational stupefaction. This writer has had the amazingly good fortune of frequenting Dark Mofo festival and becoming bewildered by an act – this Californian quintet were this in 2022. Nihilistic sludgey black metal with prolific moments of post-hardcore; in short, to allude to the aforementioned quote (term again): Monstrous. The oppression and torment delivered in what seemed like an excellently eternal yet short display of dissonance, the earth moved. Vocalist Brandon Gillichbauer has a known history with alcoholism and his pain isn’t hidden, it is a force. There are moments of replication to Nick Cave with what the madman does for his band and audience. ‘The Wailing and the Gnashing and the Teeth’ hurt like Hobart empathetically understood and the five-piece embraced this, massively. “Sometimes with 15 minute songs, we need a trumpet” Brandon exclaimed – there wasn’t a horn, but the horns were raised. ‘New Measures Of Failure’ included the wounds of the words, although it included the hugging admiration of Mr Gillichbauer from the crowd as he climbed into his loving audience. Also, it must be noted, his sense of elation and comedy amongst agony is simply charming.
Conjurer from the UK had a surpassed suspense about their appearance in Australia and they were here to administer this sentiment. It was a devotion from the quartet and crowd alike that they built an uninhibited sparkle of fear before the march of flames. These gentlemen were athletes (they literally come from a place called “Rugby” in Warwickshire) and they wanted, albeit needed, Australia to be thanked for the devotion to the quartet. Disjointed doom blackened death metal overwhelmed the warehouse; there was though, an element of levity in the showcase – in true English form, or for comparison Unearth (though these bands sound nothing alike) – it was near impossible to avoid a grin. The acapella moments were ferocious and fun – it was difficult to embrace a smile or an anger in choice, but a love for heavy music was undeniable. If one hasn’t heard ‘It Dwells’, that needs to be rectified as soon as the sensory faculty is capable.
What a day. What a night. What a momentous occasion. What an overcoming of a pandemic (to an extent). What a MONSTER. Here is the final chapter, Sweden’s Katatonia – this was a reprieve from the devastation that had occurred. A progressive goth-rock delight. Similar to having a night cap of liquer instead of liquor; when the WANT for the sweet sanctimony of bed and rest seems so close, although a sweet catalyst of wondrous warmth can assist in this necessity. Their anthem ‘Deliberation’ defines it best: ‘You let me justify my own reward’ – Katatonia accomplished these words by warming a cold Hobart crowd and being here with us when they exhibited the ballad – in fact their entire set did this flawlessly. Although it felt like a tease somewhat, that This Night Is The New Day – who could put it better?
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