For the second time this month, the Republic hosted a metal show that included a post-rock touring guest. On Thursday night (March 23rd), Stockholm, Sweden’s Katatonia ventured to New Orleans with special guests Uncured and Caspian. Uncured is an unseasoned, young death metal band from New York, NY. Caspian is a veteran post-rock band from Beverly, Massachusetts.
After an unsettling performance from Uncured, Caspian took the stage for a short set. Their music is instrumental, atmospheric and climactic. With three guitar players, a bassist, a drummer and a keyboard setup, they are one of the loudest bands around. Guitarist and tallest member, Phillip Jamieson, acts as a sort of frontman for the group, speaking to the crowd between songs. However, when the music begins, the group becomes one powerful entity of emotional music that transcends language. Caspian had a great light setup, too. Their amp heads all contained synchronized lights with feather silhouette symbols, which glowed in the ambience. During their awe-inspiring climaxes, often utilizing a group effort of tremolo picking reminiscent of large swarms of bees, the members all expressed a truckload of energy. The group’s flailing movements paired perfectly with their deafening song peaks and a storm of strobes. It’s pleasing to see the faces of metal heads go totally slack-jawed and wide-eyed from a band they’ve obviously never heard of and a genre they never imagined. Even hip-hop/reggae artist, Matisyahu, who was in town for a show the next evening, came by to experience Caspian’s wonder. They opened the show with “Darkfield” from their newest album Dust and Disquiet, and ended with their famous single “Castles High, Marble Bright.”
Katatonia started at about 10:00pm. The lead singer, Jonas Renkse, wore a black hoodie, and had straight black hair. He looked a bit like Ozzy. They played a strong, inspired set that contained a number of old tunes, but also some from their newest record The Fall of Hearts. Their old records are more of a death metal vibe, with their newer stuff touching closer on the progressive and “heavy” sides of metal. Because of past trouble with his vocal chords, Jonas’ vocals have gone from growls and screams to clean crooning. This is most likely the reason the music has evolved as well. The night didn’t fall short of hair swinging and head banging, and the fans were ecstatic to see their favorite metal group come to New Orleans all the way from Sweden.