Okkultokrati – Kroh – Khost – Rainbow Grave – Birmingham Flapper – Live Review


Okkultokrati – Kroh – Khost – Rainbow Grave 

The Flapper, Birmingham 2nd April 2017

Fighting Boredom’s Martin Ward and Adrian Bloxham headed over to Birmingham for four bands on at the Flapper, and what bands, the ‘Low Rent Caveman Hate Music’ of Rainbow Grave, the ‘Experimental Industrial Metal’ of Khost, the ‘Doom’ of Kroh and the manic Norwegian ‘Rock’ of Okkultokrati. Read what we thought below.

It’s hard to find, the Flapper, the other side of Birmingham from where we usually travel to, we know there’s only so much time to be split between the bands too so thought we’d missed one of the highlights until we realised that at least two of Rainbow Grave are sitting outside the pub as we walk in. 

DSC03773-20170402Rainbow Grave start with a whine and squeal of feedback, they then start the bone crushing riffs, hard and relentless. They don’t care who’s there, if anyone is watching them at all, they just play. At one point Johnny Doom raises his glass to the room but that’s the sole piece of interaction; that is unless you count Nick berating us for our shit lives and shoes. It’s so loud tonight that the vocals are all but swallowed up but you can still tell they are full of spite and anger. 
They hit a groove and just carry on, Nick wanders up towards the mic, then insults us further.
The bass and drums are loose and mesh together as Nick’s guitar slams out immense riffs and Johnny just mashes stuff all over the top. The bass is distorted right up to my pain thresh hold.
Nick starts Ten Million Tons of Shit’ by saying This is for you’. It’s black, bleak and rife with graveyard humour.
The bass and drums groove moves on as the guitars have a full on fist fight over the top. There’s few words between the band either, at the start of a song they glance at each other and nod, at one point someone says Are you ready?’ but that’s it, they just know.DSC03722-20170402
The gist of the set is, your life is shit, everything you care about it shit. Nothing you can do can make anything better. So just fucking die already.
They go into a fast bludgeoning song that sounds like Hawkwind having it’s teeth kicked out. This is sonic fucking warfare and they are only the first band on. The last song is a slow crawl through nasty, menacing fury, it fades away to a last feedback whine and they are gone. So are my ears, told you it was loud.
Khost follow, as ever their stage is black. Samples and odd noises play around the room as the bass slowly kicks in. The only light is from a battered laptop sitting onstage playing the same weird film of warehouse offices they have had since I first saw them. The weird samples segue into what sounds like Arabic phrases and rhythms and then the noise amps up into chaotic discord and heavy heavy guitars. Think the weight of Godflesh with a soul of pure beauty. The vocals merge into the samples as the noise hammers home. DSC03818-20170402
It’s all about the sound, there are no visuals. The stage is so dark that all there is to focus on is the music. It is slow, loud and heavy and as the music drifts on the drone grows. Between the songs the guitars buzz and echo as the samples engulf us. Then the slow steady riffs break through again like an army marching to war across a broken dusty landscape. It just goes on and on, no rest, no peace, no surrender. This is beautiful darkness engulfing and swallowing up the light, there’s a primordial beauty in the sheer volume and mass of the music.
It’s mainly massive slabs of sound, nothing is rushed, everything is measured and calculated to make the music all that it can be. Then they finish with an voice echoing away into nothing, Doors  and doors and doors…’
Kroh are next on and they are more metal, the doom is there and the heaviness. They are hard with an edge. DSC03825-20170402Their vocalist, Oliwia, is pretty and bleach blonde and has a mesmerising voice, she gives them their way of standing out, no growling and screaming in this band, she sings and matches the music well. They play hard, definitely not wishy washy bollocks. It’s a step away from thrash but still hits like a sledgehammer, different to the hate eminating from Rainbow Grave and the Majesty that permiates Khost’s sound. 
They build one song slowly and then kick in with a huge riff, the slow grinding noise is taken away from the normal abrasive feel of the music with Oliwia’s singing. The last song sounds like a metalised Souixsie and the Banshees with the drum sound and vocal, a good set that stands apart. Which is never a bad thing.
DSC03937-20170402Okkultokrati look like they’ve been on the road a good while, with thousand yard stares and heads down they take the stage and go. They have a razor sharp focus and a groove that reminds me of the Rollins Band. The sound is hard as nails post hardcore. They have more wired energy than I’ve seen on stage for a while. They are twitching, dancing, moving backwards and forwards, up and down and don’t seem to too bothered about where the rest of the band are positioned as they move around it. The tension is palpable, the singer, tallest man in the room I think, keeps peering around the crowd to the back of the room.
They’ve got an alternative tentacles shirt, a leather biker jacket and a tasselled brown suede jacket with no shirt underneath, they look like they care an awful lot about their music and not much else. They definitely mean what they are playing. The keyboards give the sound a spaghetti western twang at one point and add another dimension to the sound. Their noise is solid and mean with no letting up and no backing down. Check them out.
Another night of noise for Fighting Boredom. All four bands were well worth seeing. Check out more photos below.


Rainbow Grave

Okkultokrati have a Bandcamp page and are also on Facebook.

Kroh are also on Bandcamp and Facebook.

Khost are on Bandcamp and can be found on Facebook.

Rainbow Grave can be found on Soundcloud and Facebook and Tweet as @RainbowGrave

All pictures by Martin Ward.

All words by Adrian Bloxham.


Adrian Bloxham

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