Review of Man Made Origin plus support @ DUSA, Dundee, Friday November 25th 2011
Last time I covered Man Made Origin was when they supported Achren, back in October. At the gig, the Dundonian progressive metal band had confirmed a launch night for their debut album, ‘False Consciousness’, at the Dundee University Student Association. The guys had invited me back down to cover the show, so that is exactly what I did. However, before I could immerse myself in some proggy goodness, we had a fair selection of support acts beforehand.
Still recovering from Roadway in Glasgow the night before, I was treated to some good ol’ hard rock, in the form of Both Barrels. From Dunfermline, Fife, this rocking quartet boast a sound heavily influenced by the likes of Nazareth and Deep Purple, along with some of the more modern American rock bands, such as Nickelback and Black Stone Cherry.
From the opening ‘Bound In Chains’, all the way to their last song of the set, ‘Indifference’, the band delivered a great mix of driving guitar riffs, sleazy bass lines and pounding drums. There was even room for them to throw in the occasional ballad passage in songs. I was surprised by how heavy their sound was, considering all guitar duties were taken care of, single-handedly, by Mark Gardiner. My only gripe was that the snare drum wasn’t high enough in the mix, which took away from the overall sound a bit. But, all in all, I felt that it was going to be difficult to top such an impressive opening act.
My thoughts were confirmed by the performance given my contemporary rockers, HelloVideo. This 3-piece band from Dundee was just weird, in all honesty. There were moments where I could hear a Kings Of Leon vibe going on. Other, more progressive, moments made me think more of the likes of Tool and A Perfect Circle.
The set started off fairly messy, with the bass and guitar sometimes sounding like they’re playing two different songs. In part, perhaps, due to tuning issues between the two instruments. The case of DSS (Dropped Stick Syndrome) had spread from last night, as drummer, Jonathan Reid, struggles to lock in a tight groove and can’t seem to keep a hold of his sticks. The chant of “Johnny Reid skipped a beat” from one heckler, whilst a (drum) stroke of genius, probably didn’t help matters. Things got better for the band near the end of the set, but it was little too late to salvage their performance.
Time for a bit more hard rock, as Same Jane stormed the stage. The band describe themselves as “a blistering blues rock four piece from Perth, with an appetite for destruction and a pocketful of dreams”, and, having seen them in the past, I was really looking forward to seeing how they’ve progressed.
Tracks like ‘Parental Cheese’ and the self-titled, ‘Same Jane’, got everyone’s heads banging, as frontman, Kris Dye, unleashed the sleaze with his hollering rock ‘n’ roll vocal style and bluesy guitar riffs. Lead guitarist, Sam McMaster’s choice of wearing shades on stage makes me wonder how he can see the fretboard, as he furiously shreds away. The decision to include a cover of Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’ proved popular with the Dundee crowd, as everyone made their best effort to sing along, myself included! Closing their set with the brilliant, ‘On The Rocks’, Same Jane had left myself, along with everyone else, craving a drink, so I made the most of the ridiculously cheap bar prices, whilst Man Made Origin set their gear up.
The moment everyone had been waiting for all night had finally arrived, as Man Made Origin signalled their arrival with the epic intro of ‘Uncharted Space’ booming through the PA. Instead of kicking into the main song, the prog metallers started off their set with the title track from their new album, ‘False Conciousness’. What followed was an incredible set filled with tracks taken from the new album. Max Taylor’s and Dave Clement’s dual guitars and vocals are all there, backed by the tight bass lines of Aaron Middleton and Andrew Gavine’s ability to get the crowd moving with his grooving, yet precise, drum work.
Three songs in, Man Made Origin were joined on stage by Sarah Coloso to provide extra vocal duties for songs that she had recorded with the band for the album. The harsh metal vocals mixed with both male and female clean vocals made for an interesting, almost hypnotic, listening experience. Almost as though as if I was being drawn into a state of “false consciousness” (Yes, I went there!) The continuation of ‘Uncharted Space’, from the start of the set, marked the end of her time on stage, leaving the band to continue on with their performance.
All technical problems aside, Man Made Origin had delivered a fantastic performance from start to finish and, after playing the first half of the 20 minute long masterpiece, ‘Into The Darkness’, brought the show to a close with the incredible ‘Faith Of The Verse.’ After seeing the band twice now, I think it’s fair to say that Man Made Origin are fast becoming one of the best progressive metal acts to come out of Scotland at the moment, and I would love to see them get an opportunity to come up our way sometime in 2012.
Written by Mark Dubanowski
Photos by Mark Dubanowski