Pelican & JK Flesh Live @ Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK
Like an old scout hut turned into a trendy bar Brudenell Social Club is a quaint and unlikely location for two uncompromising acts of metal’s pioneering Avant Garde. The July sunshine is beating down oppressively outside but even Sahara temperatures could not compare you for the intense titanic sound clash of dubstep industrial metal that is Justin Broadrick‘s latest incarnation JK FLESH. Hood up and bathed in blue light the solitary figure of the Brummie legend still cuts a mean imposing figure at fourty three years old.
Light years ahead of the indulgent ambience of his Final project, the music is deliciously furious with all the narrowly intense machine beats and desolate hallmarks of Godflesh there for all to see. This would have made for an incredible experience had the vocals not been buried too far with the mix even for Broadrick’s work. Yet Justin’s frost coated glacial riffs and warped beats are a punishing oral experience many will savior.
Many musicians who indulge in post rock/ metal can be somewhat navel gazing and lacking in flair Chicago’s Pelican shatter that mold with ripping through the groove fuelled set full of great musicianship played with some serious aggression.
Ready to road test material from forthcoming opus Forever Becoming the two new tracks aired tonight hints at a more direct and powerful approach than 2009’s Ephemeral explored. This darker approach will be welcomed by many older fans although the same followers may be disappointed to find no material from seminal debut Australasia creeping into tonight’s set.
‘Deny The Absolute’ plays off a fantastic driving riff and haunting ‘Parasite Colony’ benefit from a vastly improved sound in addition to hurling themselves around the small stage in jubilant fashion. Unlike many acts of their ilk Pelican avoid the drab indie preening and overt reliance on repetitive build ups with wonderfully multi textured compositions which range of ambient transcendence to a full on assault of scything riffs and pounding drums.
Unafraid to rock out hard new cut ‘Immutable Dusk’ shimmers majestically building to a crescendo then collapsing into a bass driven ambient passage before erupting into an elephantine blast of towering distortion. Trevor de Brauw and new guitarist Dallas Thomastrade elegant arpeggios before tearing into searing ostinatos the ferocity of which could erode mountains.
The mighty encore of ‘Dead Between The Walls’ see’s them exit with little fanfare save a thank you to the audience and the promise of a swift return. Let’s hope they make good on that.
Pelican & JK Flesh
Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK
July 16th, 2013
Photography: Stuart Rees