Live at Pokalen Pub in Oslo, Norway on November 28th 2015.
Photos by Marie Solheim.
A gig of beards and riffs. With the jam-packed Uncle Acid concert at Vulkan Arena as a reference point, one could think of Oslo as a bit of a hotbed for doom metal. It’s baffling, then, that perhaps ten people have shown up at Vulkan’s sister-venue Pokalen pub, when Sweden’s Snailking seize the stage this November Saturday night. Playing crushing cosmic doom in the good company of YOB and Ufomammut, the lucky few of us in attendance get one hell of a show. In spite of the meager turnout, the pub feels magnitudes too small for Snailking’s massive wall of sound. Crushing through the majority of their debut full-length Storm, the Jönköping three-piece celebrate the end of their European tour tonight. Closing with the massive “Shelter” from their demo Samsara, Snailking drop about a thousand tons of staggering riffs on the faithful fans.
It might not seem like much, but the audience has doubled in time for the onslaught of Gothenbug duo Galvano. Although sticking to only guitars and drums could have been restrictive, the sound of the band is anything but. Frontman Mattias Nööjd cuts and impressive figure, coming of as a cross between Matt Pike and Bölzer’s Okoi Jones (although he wears a shirt), while the man behind the kit is a veritable war-machine. Their aggressive stoner assault recalls High On Fire or even Mastodon, which is impressive considering the lack of a bassist. Again, the sound in the small venue is not doing the band any favors, but the gig is a solid display of fervor and dedication. Galvano are a beastly duo, and give a solid riff-fueled argument for wearing earplugs.
The lights are dimmed and numerous candles adorned with the band’s logo are lit in preparation for Zaum’s ritual. Another two-piece, Zaum forgo guitars in favor of a stalwart bass and drums setup, with frontman Kyle McDonald dividing his duties between hymnal chanting, rumbling basslines, and sitar effects. From their sole album Oracles, it is exceedingly obvious that Zaum are heavily influenced by OM, but on stage they come into their own. Droning and buzzing along, the duo’s tectonic psychedelia is physically overpowering, and the atmosphere is thick enough to cut through. The crowd now numbers 30 people, including the staff and crew, and the set is limited to only 35 minutes, but the band makes the most of it. It’s time for all three bands to take a well-deserved breather after a successful end to their tour, and hopefully more of Oslo’s doomsters will stir from their slumber before the bands return to Norwegian soil.