The Cult of Dom Keller – The Bullingdon, Oxford 9/6/16
The Cult of Dom Keller was not one of the shows that I had earmarked for this month. It was not even a show I had any particular interest in going to. Not for any particular reason other than I’d never heard of them and they had a pretty woeful online presence but when I got a call from a local promoter telling me I needed to be at this one, I agreed like a man who had just been paid a small and indirect compliment and was going to make the most of it. TCODK were from Nottingham and that’s just about all the information I had.
Arriving at The Bullingdon just in time for the muted applause from an eclectic crowd, the four piece ambled onto stage and picked up instruments. The next hour of music is truly one of the most remarkable I’ve heard, not just this year, not just in Oxford but in all time gig status. They certainly shy away from a British aesthetic, creating atmospheric, drone rock soundscapes with a brutal, locomotive design, the songs form around two or three basic chord structures and with thumping drums and sturdy bass work, the guitar parts do as they please, building with fierce tremolo and drifting into dissidence with angular and macabre gushes of contorted high pitched reverb.
The band truly allow their work to breathe, never rushing from segment to segment, and as a result there is a brooding and pulsing evolution to the songs, each layer adding to the atmospheric and unapologetic cadence as TCODK whip, what began as a simplistic bass line, into a masterful and all-consuming wall of noise. The vocal parts sit in the music as apposed to on top of it and add to a beautiful, ethereal mixing pot of sullen drones and spine tingling melodies. In order to pull off such a delicate but abrasive sound, all four members must be totally in synch with their music and have an acute ear to create textures which so effortlessly sit in with one another.
I do worry about bands such as TCODK. In an era where labels seem to only be pushing bands with whistleable, catchy choruses, bands with a slightly less contrived ethos may well find it difficult to gain exposure and recognition. But who needs choruses when you are treated to an hour of nigh on perfection from start to finish? Not this guy.