Ever since 2009’s Wind’s Poem, Mount Eerie aka The Microphones, but really known as Phil Elverum, has been navigating the (negative) space between folk music and black/drone metal.
Though Elverum rarely actually distorts his guitars quite to the standards of his heavier peers, and certainly never uses blast beats, it’s not hard to tell Elverum is slightly obsessed with the foggy atmosphere of black and drone metal and its similarities to some folk music, through minor-key chord progressions, tons of reverb, and even in some lyrical content.
Last year, Elverum continued this theme with his two albums Clear Moon/Ocean Roar both sleeper hits of 2012, tonight’s set is almost exclusively from those two records, but they, and his live band set-up, really compounds this idea.
Backed by three female voices, two playing bass guitars and the other on semi-electric drums and synths, there are times tonight where the true heaviness of Elverum’s music really shines through.
The stripped drums keep things at a steady pace, so that the band can never go too far into the darkness, but Elverum’s distorted and reverberated 12-string along with two equally over-driven bass guitars makes the set feel like it has more in common with Earth or Sunn O))) at times than Leonard Cohen.
What has always grounded Elverum’s music however, is his voice, his backing singers all dutifully do their job to create a mood and accompanying atmosphere, but Elverum’s perpetually emotionally evoking voice constantly shimmers through as the reason why his work is special.
Where most others would see this an opportunity to scream and shout, he isn’t interested and possibly doesn’t know how to.
He brings out the aesthetic beauty at the heart of all good black and drone metal, he hears the negative space and brings it out to create his own vision, from the basis of folk heard on his masterpiece The Glow, Pt. 2.
Songs like ‘Lone Bell’ and ‘The Place I Live’ really show the guy’s craft, while the set’s encore sees him play ‘Through the Trees’ solo, proves that he his equally adept to showcasing his work alone.
Words: Adam Turner-Heffer