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Ahab unleash the doom in London

Live Review

Venue: Boston Music Hall, London

Support: Esoteric, Darkher

This is only Darkher’s third ever gig – the first two being last year’s Roadburn to a packed room and a warm-up show – but such is their immersive nature that they don’t just already sound fully formed, but that it’s been lingering around the edges of your consciousness since time immemorial. Folk-based but unmoored enough that it taps into a continuity at once deeply nostalgic and strangely familiar, these brooding mantras hook in the early comers like sirens singing from the rocks, the eponymous frontwoman’s commanding presence part wood-nymph, part high priestess, as guitarists take bows to their instruments and unwary metalheads stare agog.

Sonically, Esoteric might exist in a different universe, but it’s still a parallel one, their petrifyingly boundless reinvention of funeral doom both an annihilation of all internal co-ordinates and a journey into uncharted if still psychologically resonant space. Unfurling, for the most part, at a pace that would have Cthulhu glancing at his watch, tonight’s incarnation have brought in a noticeably progressive air.

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