(BadWolf reviews the live performances by Anathema, Alcest, and Mamiffer in Flint, Michigan, on September 19. Photos from the show, which follow the review, were taken by Kyle Lee Tate.)
Metal is rarely beautiful music. Many people, myself included, come to it looking for something harder, ugly—a mirror to hold up to those feelings not accepted by the mainstream society day-to-day. But some bands do take metal and make something beautiful out of it. Gorgeousness is likewise shunned by the worker bees of the modern day (have you ever seen a modern apartment complex? Or a piece of IKEA furniture?).
Doom-turned-progressive pop heavyweights Anathema, who traffic in bittersweet lyrics and soaring melody, trekked through the United States for the first time in twenty years, with French shoegaze-meets-black-metal wunderkinds Alcest in tow. The tour also sported brief opening slots by Seattle-based avant-garde metal-as-soundscape artists Mammifer.
I rolled into Flint Michigan’s legendary metal venue The Machine Shop with photographer Kyle Lee Tate, to find Mamiffer already playing, bathed in stage-smoke and dim, red light. Mamiffer is a collaborate effort between Aaron Turner, the one-time creative force behind legendary post-metal act Isis, and wife Faith Coloccia. Together they make ambient metal with Turner on guitar-and-pedal-board, and Faith on vocals and keyboard. Their music is akin to the sound propagated by the Handmade Birds record label, and popularized by Horseback and Locrian (with whom Mamiffer have collaborated).