It’s a testament to the strength of the UK doom scene that events like The Local Fuzz seem to be getting not only more common, but bigger. The third instalment of the London-based event assembles its best line-up yet, boasting some of the UK doom scene’s biggest hitters, but it also brings together some of its most enticing prospects. Openers Tuskar stand as proof of this, dropping their unique brand of self-described ‘nuclear sludge’ to kick things off, before Surrey quartet Morag Tong combine colossal doom with latent psychedelia and surprisingly mellow sections. Such tranquillity is nowhere to be seen from Monolithian, though, who provide similarly monumental doom, but of a more consistently bleak variety. The Cornwall duo are followed by Earthmass, whose genre-hopping racket proves both crushingly heavy and sonically expansive, as they span doom, psychedelia, stoner rock and post-metal to finish off the night’s first half.
Kicking things back off after a brief interval, Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters are eccentric even for the doom metal underground. Whilst their fuzz-laden sound falls somewhere between Fu Manchu and Weedeater, their corpse-paint-meets-tie-dye attire falls somewhere between hippie culture and black metal. The highlight of their set comes in the form of ‘Donald Trump’, an irreverent homage to the orange twat who currently leads America that throws in a reference to his small dick.
Slabdragger’s live presence is less wacky, but their music is no less fun. Dropping doomy cuts from 2011’s Regress and 2016’s Rise Of The Dawncrusher, the trio provide The Underworld with colossal riffs that continue the night’s party-vibe. Never ones to give less than their all, their standing as one of the UK sludge scene’s most dependable live bands stands firm after a set like this.
Where Slabdragger have perfected their live set, though, Welsh quartet Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard initially struggle sound-wise, as Jessica Ball’s ethereal vocals and hypnotic synths find themselves lost amongst the noise. Nevertheless, their riffs consistently hit as hard as any doom devotee could wish, and by the final half of their set any inkling of the early issues are long gone, with Ball’s vocals soaring through The Underworld, offering numerous standout moments that transcend the usual solely guitar-driven offerings of a doom night in favour of more atmospherically satisfying highs.
Like their predecessors, the subtleties of Slomatics’ sound are often indiscernible from the doomy racket they conjure tonight. Thankfully, the Belfast three-piece‘s live appeal lies in the sledgehammer riffs that line their masterfully crafted compositions, and tonight they’re as thunderous as ever. Bolstered by the momentum gained from 2016’s impressive Future Echo Returns and the subsequent live album that came a year later, the trio finish a night of deafening doom off in suitably thunderous style.
Having amassed a remarkably strong line-up, it’s no surprise that The Local Fuzz Vol. 3 is a rousing success. Bringing together a host of names from across the UK, it is a showcase of the modern doom, stoner and sludge scene, full to the brim of immensely talented names – some established and some sure to become the genre’s future big hitters.
Words: George Parr (@GeorgeJParr)
Photos: John White (@foto_kadett)