At this point it’s well documented that shows during the week are typically a no-go for me; I’m a corporate lackey that’s typically in bed by 9:00 pm. That said, there was no way in hell I was going to miss Church’s tape release / tour kickoff show with Lycus, Usnea and Ufomammut in spite of it taking place late on a Thursday night (shout out to my boss for letting me take off the Friday before a week-long business trip). The Sacramento doom quintet recently unleashed their absolutely stellar debut album Unanswered Hymns in digital form, but being a physical format guy, I was dying to pick up this three song behemoth in glorious analog and hold it my hands, not to mention the fact that Church are an excellent live unit and I’ll find just about any excuse I can to see them play.
Church’s opening set spanned a meager thirty minutes / two songs, but that was more than enough time to crush the audience and provide the remaining bands with a ridiculously tough act to follow in much the same way they did opening for Kowloon Walled City, Brainoil and -(16)- a few weeks back. The band seems to gain more power with every live outing, at this point having no problem whatsoever harnessing the same mix of ungodly distorted might and subtle dynamic shifts that makes Unanswered Hymns such a pleasure to listen to.
I’ve stated previously that you don’t just watch / listen to Church, you feel them with the whole of your being. There is something about these songs that gets under your skin and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, drawing you into a hypnotic state that very few bands manage to even come close to achieving in the live arena. There is so much more to what Church does than mere slow ‘n’ low riff worship; tracks such as “Stargazer” are downright stunning slabs of sonic architecture, carefully constructed and honed to damn near perfection. This might sound like gushing / hyperbole, but I believe that this is a band that’s onto something truly special and on Thursday night they more than proved me right.
Church summer 2015 remaining tour dates:
6/6 – Portland, OR @ Rotture w/ Ufomammut, Usnea & Surivival Knife
6/7 – Olympia, WA @ Obsidian
6/8 – Seattle, WA @ Highline Bar w/ Swamp Heavy, Dura Madre & Audrey Horne
6/9 – Eugene, OR @ The Wandering Goat
6/10 – Ashland, OR @ Club 66
7/11 – Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge w/ Sabbath Assembly, Christian Mistress & Waning
8/13 – San Francisco, CA @ TBA w/ Primitive Man, Northless & Abstracter
8/14 – Oakland, CA (DEADFEST) @ Oakland Metro
8/16 – Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge w/ Primitive Man & Northless
8/17 – Chico, CA @ 1078 Gallery w/ Primitive Man, Northless & Amarok