Chaos Theory, and their monthly Facemelter nights, have become a staple in London’s scene of Post Rock, Math Rock, and Prog Metal. They offer crowds a chance to see the rising talent in these genres play the small and intimate Black Heart in Camden. The most recent Facemelter, on Friday April 6th, showcased some of the best underground Math Rock bands to have come out off the UK this decade.
The style of music these bands play screams uniqueness. Math and Prog are genres that should be constantly exploring new territory, yet so often bands become complacent and end up using the same tired tropes. But the three bands at this Facemelter are all acts that have taken Math and Prog and revitalised it; bringing their own energy and ingenuity to it. Their diverse sounds left no time for the audience at the Black Heart to lose interest.
The unbelievable noise spat out by Iran Iran started off the night. The Black Heart is a small venue, and the three piece absolutely flooded the room with loud and spacey rock.
The rhythm section of this band really made them stand out; bass player Lee Everson flowed effortlessly from beefy chugging riffs to tight, angular ones as drummer Liam Smith effortlessly followed suit, pulling Jens Kidman-esque faces in the process. Third member of the band, Steve Nutt, is not to be over-looked; pulling out some playful riffs that brought the intense rhythm section down to earth.
Playing fairly short songs for a band of this style, Iran Iran managed to pack a significant amount of narrative into a small amount of music. Their fast movement through riffs captivated the audience - they can definitely hold a room well enough to headline a future Facemelter.
Masiro followed Iran Iran. This gig saw the first outing of their second album, played in full from start to end. This new release has seen a sax added to their line up, but unfortunate they were not able to make the night. However, their set did not feel like it lacked anything; the three-piece felt incredibly tight. Since Chris Hutchinson joined on bass for the band’s second release and first album two years ago, his playing has become a integral part of the band; bringing together the tight, fast drumming of Chris Pethers with the almost shoegazing guitars of Mike Bannard.
The performance of their new album, Geodesics, really showed how diverse this band can be. Within a single song the band flowed beautifully from riffs that resembled Indie Math bands like Monster Machismo, into tight bass melodies that Cynic would be proud of, and even at times drawing on the progy, room-filling sounds of Steven Wilson.
Then, to finish, we were joined by headliners Kusanagi who performed the most refined performance of the night. They are a band whose presence deserves a far bigger stage than that of the Black Heart. Their ten minute-long songs had that arena-worthy feeling of early UK Prog Rock bands. On the surface, their sound may not seem that of a UK band, with drawn out atmospheric passages that resemble American Shoegaze and Post Rock bands. What made Kusanagi stand out though, was their beautiful ability to move from these sections into euphoric Mathy riffs. These felt uniquely British, almost resembling bands like Foals with their ability to create such technically rich melodies, whilst still creating something that you can dance to.
Punctuating long, airy songs with incredibly danceable riffs really made their live performance stand out on the night. The reason for Kusanagi headlining was clear. They can really hold an audience; balancing euphoric builds ups with explosive and energetic endings.
Next months Facemelter, on May 4th, sees Chaos Theory take a break from the Black Heart to play New River Studios with a mix of Noise Rock, Math Rock, and Grind from Memory of Elephants, Codices, and Rad Pitt.