Heavy Psych Sounds Fest in London 2019

Heavy Psych Sounds Records and Desertscene put on their own fest, featuring some of their top bands Dead Witches, Black Rainbows, Giobia and Deadsmoke, who showcase talent across the psych and underground genres, many oriented and dominated the Italian scenes. I luckily got to meet and interview the entire headlining band, Dead Witches. It was great to meet them and hear all about the inspirations behind their latest album, “The Final Exorcism”, and their music in general.
Heavy Psych Sounds Fest London 2019 poster
As I entered the venue, the stairs lead straight down, I could hear the enticing rumble of drums and bass. The smoke started creeping up the stairs to meet me, as the sound grew louder. The whole room was filled with a thick haze, carrying the eerie green light through it. Creating an intriguing atmosphere of mystery and anonymity. I could barely make out the stage through the fog and people, but I could follow the near deafening sounds booming out. But, considering their name is Deadsmoke, I could hardly be surprised! (On a side note, although the fog was very atmospheric and mysterious, it did unfortunately make photography a lot more challenging!)…
Giobia, another influencer is Italy’s psych scene, transforming 60s inspired space rock and symphonic doom, with their own unique twist. Gioba cleverly layer a variety of instruments and synths, layering to create deep and thought provoking music. They took us on a trippy space odyssey adventure, combining electric and futuristic sounds. One of the songs started with a pre-recorded over-voice talking about external life, which completed the space adventure. You could imagine yourself falling down the time vortex whilst listening to them play.
The final supporting act, were Black Rainbows, having released their album “Pandaemonium” last year. They are a rising star in Europe’s stoner psych and space rock, after revolutionizing Italy’s underground scene. Some of their songs they played reminded me of doom with a hint of electric swing. The deep and heavy beats echoed around the packed crowd. They oscillated between piercing highs, and deeps lows. The sounds compiled into a beautiful haze. Halfway through they took a slower pace, transforming into more light and mystical tone. Then building in speed, heaviness and eeriness until the pivotal hype and sudden drop. Switching into a more ominous and deep meld of sounds. Their final song switched it up entirely, launching in with a blinding electric riff, then the drums and bass crashed in. Storming forward with a lot more power and attitude behind it.
Finally Dead Witches hit the stage in full occult psych glory. Treating us to songs from their latest album “The Final Exorcism”, which was released on the day of the Fest, giving their dedicated fans the first opportunity to hear it live and pick up their copies. They were fantastic to watch, and photograph, always dancing and posing. True performers, that really bring their music to life.
Dead Witches is the brainchild of the talented drummer Mark Greening, who rose to fame as a founding member of Electric Wizard, Ramesses and With the Dead. He started the set in full priest gear, with white clergy collar and cross hung from his neck. He attacked the drums with ferocity and speed, and given how hot the small underground room was already, after smashing the drums he must have felt the heat, as he stripped on the top half. Turning from priest to heavy metal demon. Joining his bassist Carl, in showing off their impressive tattoo collection.
Soozi blue tassels fell from her arms and twirled around her, as she continuously danced about the stage. Her face is so expressive, giving new life and meaning to the lyrics, framed by her black hair and blood red lips. Dropping to her knees, as she sang to the sky. Dancing and headbanging from the floor. Altogether they create quite an impressive and formidable line-up!
They started with the title track for the new album “The Final Exorcism”, which begins with a slow and eerie tinker on the drums, then the guitar and bass crash in. Followed by Soozi’s mystical yet rough and raw vocals, which perfectly suit the occult-inspired lyrics. The mix of fiery reds and cool blue hues matched their psych and trance music style.
They also played “Goddess of the Night”, “The Church by the Sea” and “Lay, Demon” from the new album. Moreover they mixed in some of their old classics alongside their latest releases, such as “Mind Funeral” and “A World of Darkness” from their first album “Ouija”, back in 2017. And to complete the set they finished on the final track on their latest album “Fear the Priest”, which I was keen to hear again, as many of the band members said it was their favourite track on the new album.
I had such a fun night at Heavy Psych Sounds Fest, it was a great exploration in different styles across the psych and underground scene. The use of smoke and coloured lighting throughout really added to the psychedelic atmosphere, complimenting the music perfectly. The psych army has come to town, and hopefully here to stay!