It’s a cold Tuesday night and a darkened Electrowerx in Angel, London is rammed with a crowd of rabid avant-gardists, anticipating some less than angelic industrial darkness.
First on the darkened smokey stage is Riotmiloo – a duo from London who emit riot grrrl-tinged cathartic screeching, and threatening but emotive vocals over darkened synthwave tinged with harsh noise. There’s a strong vibe of gothic electro, which after a slow start, builds up to a satisfyingly heavy and darker climax in the second half of the set.
Lingua Ignota, a name which roughly translates from Latin to ‘unknown language’, feels like a relevant name for the oddball performance from classically-trained American noisenik Kristen Hayter who, eerily lit by a single lamp, creeps through the packed audience – parting the awe-ridden spectators like the red sea. Hayter carries a bundle of cables which she thrashes and whips around in an almost self-flagellatory manner, matching the almost ceremonial evocation of the incantations she occasionally uses to break up her visceral howls. The second half of the set is performed briefly back on the stage then back down on the floor again where she plays beautifully delicate piano. A particular highlight is a haunting rendition of ‘Jolene’, sung in a gorgeous voice with such poignant clarity juxtaposing against the frequent screams of anguish she belts out in previous songs. The audience are left spellbound, speechless and some even in tears.
Next up is fellow American Tristan Shone, who really needs no introduction as the genius behind Author & Punisher – a one-man force of a machine, akin to Godflesh but with a more melodic and diversely experimental edge. As a mechanical engineer he designs and builds all his own instruments, but they look more like some kind of dystopian war machine built for sonic campaigning, and he is at one with the mechanical beast. The impressive looking kit is actually stripped-down due to Shone having to travel from the US, but it’s still very effective at blasting out an assault of punishing, abrasive, aggressive noise full of feeling and passion. Shone uses a vocal device for obscured, sometimes tortured, sometimes delicate vocals which looks like something Bane might make use of. The audience, who have been pummelled into oblivion, enthusiastically punch the air and headbang along to the industrial ebb and flow of an incredibly powerful, precise and impassioned performance of industrial doom.
For a greater glimpse at how the night unfurled, check out the full photo gallery below!
Author & Punisher
Photos and words: Abi Coulson