11-18-2008. Within their current (still on-going) Europe tour, Birushanah and Suma played at KSET (Zagreb), a student club of the best Croatian faculty/college for electrotechnics and computer science, FER (that doesn't really have much to do with anything though; a lot of stuff goes on at KSET). I was sick (still am; I think it's the flu), but I wasn't gonna miss this no matter what.
Zagreb, bloody Zagreb.
What kills me about trains here is how you need to transfer to a bus midway, like I'm traveling to some remote village in the hills or something, and not between two of the largest cities in Croatia. I'm sure y'all imagine it's all just a big village over here, but it almost isn't. Seriously though, modernize railways or make intercity bus travel cheaper you assholes.
Hailing from Osaka (just like Corrupted and many, many, other awesome bands), Birushanah was really the main reason why I went, and I'm happy to say that their performance didn't disappoint the least. They lit a candle before the show to fill the air with a fragrance that I, my nose full of shit, couldn't smell. However, Birushanah was so awesome that they totally blew off my fragile face, and in fact, melted all the sludge in my nostrils. Yeah, I loved it. The vocals could have been turned up quite a bit, but the guys were still pretty amazing. "My friend the bassist" (that's not how I call him in real life) especially loved Sougyo's kickass bass-playing; tapping, slapping, whatever, all in one riff. I'm not saying that any of the other members fall behind at all though.
Japanese scales, traditional percussion, fretless bass, and insane, frenzied screaming. The build-ups feature gradual speed-ups and somewhat weird time-changes. And no, it's not like Isis and Neurosis at all. When they reach the peak they don't stop for a long time, sounding like the heaviest thing ever, yet faster than the fastest Corrupted song; the band goes completely berserk with surgical precision. Birushanah was all that I claimed they were a long time ago, on this very blog, "...some of the most progressive, intense, and heaviest sludge imaginable blended with Japanese traditional music, most notably percussion. Now don't think that this is some Ensiferum-type folk addition to the music, it goes far beyond simple melodies and the traditional instrumentation plays a much bigger part.".
Actual concert aside, Sougyo asked me about my Discordance Axis "Reincarnation" shirt after a giggle-ridden inspection of the various kanjis present.
Malmö's Suma has already visited Zagreb in the past so they are a relatively well known band amongst local sludge enthusiasts. Sad to say I had not bothered with checking them out before the gig, but their set was quite awesome as well. Suma differs a lot from Birushanah. They're a somewhat experimental form of sludge, dronetastic, fuzzy 'n' psychedelic stuff. The vocals represent effect-heavy (as in delay/reverb) unsettling shouts of doooooom.
The drummer and guitarist (Erik and Peter) being twins aside, another very entertaining part of Suma's performance was, in fact, the vocalist, Dr. Jovan. Maybe he's a psycho, I don't know, but for some reason Jovan has an irresistible urge to perform focused movements akin to a mage character in Morrowind or Arx Fatalis casting some complicated spell. I stood there in half-disbelief/half-amusement for a while until our eyes met; his eyes gazing into mine with the most evil look ever. It was then that I understood, Suma is serious business. Other than that he also likes to climb stacks of speakers and such, just sitting or standing on them, and generally acting like a gargoyle.