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LIVE REVIEW: Hark and OHHMS @ EBGB’s, Liverpool

English doom-rockers OHHMS joined with the talented HARK at the new and upcoming venue EBGB’s in Liverpool. Receiving strong praise for their newest album, The Fool, OHHMS celebrated the release with a UK tour. With both bands being highly regarded in their 2017 album releases, expectations were high but do the bands provide as strong an energy on stage as they do in the studio?

Hark live @ EBGB’s, Liverpool. Photo Credit: Pip Johnson
Hark live @ EBGB’s, Liverpool. Photo Credit: Pip Johnson

Opening band HARK offered a refreshing taste of tech infused doom metal in this month’s performance, providing a solid opening for the well renowned OHHMS. Proficient vocalist, Jimbob Isaac, served up an exceptionally powerful performance of strong vocals and guitar that evidently took the crowd by surprise, even jumping off stage to sing at the crowd when given the chance to. Drummer, Simon Bonwick, also gave a performance of high standard that is definitely to be admired. By maintaining a consistent rhythm, almost identical to that on the album, Bonwick created a perfect rhythm section, solidifying the band’s sense of togetherness, laying down some flawless foundations for the rest of the band to work off of. With intricate, heavy bass lines from Tom Shortt and creative input from lead guitarist Joe Harvatt, HARK successfully promoted their new album Machinations and its fresh, new content. Already touring with bands such as CLUTCH, the future is looking promising for the Welsh musicians.

The unorthodox, unique combination of clean vocals, sludgy undertones and technical yet doomy riffs, proved itself successful in HARK, owning their stage and making themselves an extremely enjoyable support band. The use of noticeably bright lighting along with the loud, bold sound captivated the audience into engagement. However, as the venue itself was quite small, the band seemed to struggle in their attempt to engage with their audience. As well as this, the stage itself was fairly small, limiting the band to the spots in which they were situated. That being said, the band utilised their space well, still giving a solid performance worthy of credit.

Rating: 7/10

OHHMS live @ EBGB’s, Liverpool. Photo Credit: Pip Johnson
OHHMS live @ EBGB’s, Liverpool. Photo Credit: Pip Johnson

Performing most tracks from The Fool, along with previous material, OHHMS gave a splendid performance at EBGB’s. Despite being a newer, less-known band on the doom scene, OHHMS graced Liverpool with an unusual, psychedelic display of doom metal. Clearly progressing their way onto the scene, the band performed with maximum dynamism with a stage energy similar to that of bands such as CONAN and SLEEP.

Encapsulating the audience with their well-loved track The Magician, OHHMS offered an interesting variety of changing tempos and fascinating melodies. Ranging from slower, almost ritualistic drum rhythms to harsher, more complete sounds, drummer, Max Newton’s emotional output was well-received from the Liverpool crowd. With concert-goers head banging along, the band became increasingly more intense. Singer, Paul Waller reacted noticeably to the crowd, as his vocals became progressively harsher as he exploited the intimacy of a small crowd. This combined with groovy guitar riffs and bulging, distorted basslines meant that OHHMS effectively executed their chance of a unique, atmospheric performance. With an electric stage presence, assisted by dramatic variation in lighting, the crowd were clearly kept attentive. Bassist, ‘Chainy Chainy’ bounced enthusiastically around on stage, being sure to enjoy his performance as much as his audience did, employing their use of space slightly better than that of HARK. OHHMS sold out two shows on this year’s UK tour, despite being reasonably new to their scene, reflecting how well received and highly regarded the band have already become.

Rating: 9/10

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