Joining Godsticks in West Wales, Karmen Field, Edit The Tide and Risperidrone, all brought energetic excellence to The Bunkhouse.
Karmen Field – Edit The Tide – Risperidrone
The Bunkhouse, Swansea – 9 February 2024
Words And Photography: Paul Hutchings
The main support for the evening is Karmen Field, one of a plethora of upcoming Welsh bands from the South of the country. They have a strange visual image for those who have never seen them before, with the audience confronted by both guitarist Will Byrd and bassist Lewis Goold wearing floral frocks, which is quite the sight!
But don’t let that distract. For this quartet from Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan are building a nice level of momentum. Their show is lively, energetic and compelling. Singer Molly McBreen is a blur of movement, a ferocious ball of energy with an image that seems to be a cross between Siouxsie and Pink.
Twice finalists in the Metal 2 The Masses competition in recent years, Karmen Field have the confidence only brought by regular shows. Their Alt-Grunge sound may not be the most contemporary, but their songs, including a couple from 2023’s Black Star Emperor, received a good reception from their small posse of loyal fans.
It’s a vibrant set, with the progressive elements of songs such as Honour Bound resonating with the Progressive Metal fans.
Edit The Tide
I had seen Edit the Tide in nearby venue Hangar 18 at the Station 18 Festival in 2023 when they had made a decent impression. The Bridgend band suffered tonight with a rather muddy sound and some microphone malfunctions, which chucked a bit of a spanner into the works for a few minutes.
But having taken these challenges in their stride, they put in a solid shift. I’m not 100% sold on the combined vocals of singer Benjamin James and guitarist Rob Norris. At times, Norris’s overpowering of James is in the mix. I can see why they do it, for their Alternative Modern Metal blend demands this combination.
They play an eight-song set, saving their strongest songs, Skylines, and the impressive Strangest Call to the end, and are rewarded with a generous round of applause. This wasn’t their strongest showing, and there’s a slight imbalance with James and Norris on one side, drawing the focus away from lead guitarist Gavin David and Dave Snell, who seem happy to stay out of the limelight.
Yet this wasn’t a bad set, and one feels there is plenty more to come from these lads, who will release their debut EP, Reflections In Sound, on 26 April 2024.
Opening the night is the band probably most out of place on the line-up. The doom-soaked riffs of Cardiff’s Risperidrone is an acquired taste, their crushing fuzzed-up riffs that plunge the listener into a pit of despair not the most warming.
Yet, there is something about the darkness that evolves, the atmosphere that the distortion creates, and the grinding power makes them an interesting watch. Moments of clarity do emerge, breaking out of Grimace briefly before we are plunged back into the depths.
They aren’t to everyone’s taste, but their slow pace does have a certain intoxicating charm. Whilst they focus more on the pummelling stoner doom than entertaining the audience, one can only close the eyes as they transport you to another place.
Closer Anvil does just that, and Risperidrone’s job is done.