A chill and sunny evening in Hamburg… What would be better than that? Oh yeah, an evening full of some doom, psychedelia and forest folk! That’s exactly what was waiting for the fans as the British/Finnish act Hexvessel was the main act.
The support act of the evening was Motorowl. Hailing from Germany, this psychedelic doom act has been formed in 2014 so they are relatively young… but they have toured with some big names so far with Hexvessel, evening’s main act, being one of them. I gotta admit I never heard of the band’s name before but knowing that the band does a mixture of psychedelic/progressive/doom metal was enough to know that they would rock the night!
Although the band had a short playing time, they managed to warm up the audience with their sincere attitude and a great setlist! With a genre like that, one might think that it’s all about very slow and doom-y atmosphere… However, I gotta say the band surprised me; I liked how the sound was quite progressive. At times, the songs would get really doom-y and at times, the rhythm was enough to keep the people headbanging. So it’s fair to say that the band’s sound is a great balance between groovy psychedelic rock and doom metal. I also gotta add that the keyboardist caught my attention the most; he was totally into it as he sang along to the songs and headbanged! I could totally see that the crowd was into them as they wanted to hear more when the vocalist announced that they would play the last song. He even joked that it’s a long song… Definitely something a psychedelic/doom metal band would say!
All in all, it was clear that Motorowl definitely gained some fans after their performance and warmed up the crowd quite well for Hexvessel!
Hexvessel at last… This Finnish/British formation, formed by the Grave Pleasures (ex- Beastmilk) vocalist Mat McNerney, has been active since 2009 and have a few releases so far with the latest one being “When We Are Death” released last year. Their genre can be described as “psychedelic forest folk” and this was indeed the theme of the evening. Incense sticks, the forest atmosphere reflected in the music but also in the outfit of the mainman Mat accompanied the band as they started their set with “Transparent Eyeball” from the latest record and played a mix of the old as well as the new songs. As a new fan of the band, I was looking forward to the new songs more and some of my favorite songs like “Cosmic Truth” and “Earth Over Us” were played. However, the focus was more on the old songs. Generally, although the songs were relatively ‘downtempo’ and ‘calm’, it fit perfectly to a chill evening. Surely a better sound system, a bigger stage and better lights would have made the performance much better and more powerful but the band managed to deliver an amazing and magical performance nevertheless. Despite the difficulties they had, they were in a good mood and the crowd was definitely more than happy and welcoming.
One highlight of the evening was a few acoustic songs that Mat played. Since the band were scheduled to play at the famous Prophecy Fest this year, he wanted to ‘test’ one song to get the feedback of the audience. It was great to have a breath of fresh air with the acoustic songs. As a matter of fact, I think that an acoustic album would fit the band a lot!
Another highlight was the overall ‘interaction’ between the band and the audience. Surely the venue was really small but Mat stated a few times that they have had a tough day but it was all worth it because of the audience and I could see that they definitely wanted to come back again. It was those little moments where it was clear that the crowd and the band clicked a lot.
What else is there to say? This concert has definitely been one of the highlights of this year for me. Thanks to both of the bands for a magical evening!
Text: Basak Günel
Photos: Tim Wilczura for Heavy Harlequin