Live at Joseph's Well on Thursday, 12th September 2002
Two bands had pulled out of this bill by the beginning of the week. Stoopi, who apparently have classed themselves far above playing venues of the well's size, and Viscera both jumped ship, leaving two out of town bands with the job of entertaining a very very small crowd.
Project Abner, a four piece from London, take to the stage making nervous jokes about the lack of turn out for the evening, murmuring "guess we're not very funny tonight" as a stony silence sets the tone for their set. Clean melodic guitar lines make way for American tinged singing which is quickly replaced by a generic, yet impressive roar and a juggernaut of hardcore tinged nu-metal riffs. Then this happens again, and again, and again all in one song. Then in the next song, and the next and so on. Use of vocal effects and even extra percussion by the singer don't seem to be able to break the monotony of similar sounding songs being thrown our way, and whilst their energetic performance is respectful considering the lack of people watching, it's not enough to pull them apart from the hundreds of other bands playing this sort of music with no substance. Not awful, but not particularly good either.
Eden Maine take to the stage looking agitated and launch into a couple of minutes of intro music before singer Adam Symonds joins his bandmates stalking around on stage, psyching themselves up for the first tune. And the minute they launch into that first song, it's easy to see why they wind themselves up. Fast, over the top and urgent drumming complements a barrage of riffs that won't let you catch your breath underpinned by a barely audible bass rumble. The power that comes from the stage is slightly overwhelming, then when their frontman lets out the first of many ferocious screams, it's almost too much. And yes, this is a good thing.
There isn't a lot of variety throughout Eden Maine's set, the intensity doesn't really drop at all. However, within their own genre (hardcore/screamcore/noisecore/whatever-core it is), they have enough ideas to keep interest up all the way through. "Ephemera", the only song I know, is delivered with the kind of ferocity not seen since Medulla Nocte, but with more dynamics as the eerie Tool-esque parts lets your ears rest for merely seconds before it all comes crashing back in. Watching drummer Kieron Ilse is awe inspiring as the outstanding level of drumming never drops, the two guitarists spit out plenty of groove laden riffs along with off kilter stabbings and manic shredding and bassist Nick looks more and more possessed as the set goes on. Taking a break from screaming himself horse, Symonds keeps friendly banter up between songs, whilst battered guitars get a much needed tuning, and plugs their newly recorded CD ("The Treachery Pact") which everyone should buy! Songs, stage presence and wonderful technical ability from all members, hopefully Eden Maine will have a bigger audience on their return to Leeds.