Live Review: Caspian

Classic Grand – 5/11/15

Part of the elation that comes from hearing music in the live environment centres around choruses. Raising your hands high, singing yourself hoarse, and showing the artists on stage that you have sung those lines a hundred times in your room and they mean the world to you.

Caspian gigs do not deal with lyrics. Appreciation shown at a Caspian gig comes in the form of respectable silence alongside hypnotic headbanging.  Their music does the talking, whether it is intense riffing or delicate melodies, and their songs are no less emotional than those with poetic verses.

Dust and Disquiet is the band’s most fully realised album yet, and comes the closest to capturing how they conquer the live environment. Waking Season was good, but its worth was in learning the songs to hear them breathe at a gig, whereas Dust and Disquiet is a record filled with dynamics and life.

‘Darkfield’ is the perfect song to open the set – it sums up everything Caspian do in six minutes. There is a single idea that is built upon again and again until it is buried among a whirlwind of loops, strobe lighting, and gargantuan headbanging (frontman Philip Jamieson is one tall dude).  The volume, the force, of the performance is enough to blow you back as the sound washes over an entranced crowd.

Some tracks, like ‘Halls of the Summer’, embody the beauty of Caspian.  The repeated motif throughout adds grace to each movement of its crescendo, and it feels more like a fresh spring day than the all-out storming assault of ‘Arcs of Command’ – a highlight from Dust and Disquiet, this is one that hits often and hits hard, indulging the band’s talent for writing a bloody good metal riff when it’s needed.

A calamity of drums ends the show, with an epic ‘Sycamore’ keeping the pace with everyone’s heartbeats as each member takes a drum for themselves.  It’s thunderous, it’s huge, and it’s overwhelming.  Post-rock will never be mainstream, but for those who are in on one of music’s most rewarding genres, Caspian are the crown jewels.

[Scott Wilson – @HeartofFire]

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