By on 8 June 2011


As you might have noticed from the usually filthy calibre of bands I do my best to recommend to you lot with this little space, I’m not really a “tech guy”. It’s a personal paradox, as in real life (you know we all use fake names and adopt secret identities when writing for magazines, don’t you?) –  I am a man of science, but when it comes to music, if a band is recommended to me on the grounds of “but they are so TECHNICAL!“, I’ll probably  be polite and say I’ll check them out, but I won’t, ever…too busy being dragged through the mud by Meth Drinker or deliriously freaked out by The Sun Through A Telescope or some other hideously deformed shit.

Today’s proposition for you, however, is, of all the bands I’m aware of (and I’m ready for you to present your counter-example in the comments), the band with the most strings per musician. Concealment are a trio, one of them’s a drummer, and yet there are seventeen strings in this band, divided by a nine-string bass that looks more like a piece of furniture and an eight-string guitar that probably will make your wrists implode if you ever try to learn to play it. What’s more, they actually use[$itals] them, unlike many a super-techy band I could mention, to drag all kinds of unlikely sounds out of the nether regions of music sheets and turn their songs into behemoths of complexity that often make Meshuggah or Origin sound like 8-bit pop in comparison.

Why is this band of the week, then? Why do I love them? Is it just because they’re Portuguese? What has made even one of my all-time vocal idols (as I’ve made abundantly clear before), Rennie Resmini of Starkweather, a guy who works purely on a straight-from-the-gut level, become a fan and participate on new album ‘Phenakism’ with a typically harrowing performance, on the song ‘Malformations’? And what does phenakism mean anyway?! The answer to all those questions (apart from the last one, get a dictionary) is tremendously simple – because Concealment write amazing, kick-ass songs.

If you listen to either this new album or 2007 effort ‘Leak’, you don’t come away from it just nerd-excited by the way these three proper musicians can handle all those strings and crazy time signatures and other muso terms I can’t be bothered with, but you also come away floored by the crushing weight these songs carry, and you might even come away with several dissonant riffs and crushing rhythms in your head. There’s something deeply organic at work here (and I’m not just talking about that album cover!), built upon a foundation that could easily have created yet another boring fret-picking fest in the hands of lesser men. Concealment are indeed still a musician’s band, but they’re also very much a regular fan’s band as well, and that’s a balance not many can achieve.

Being based in Sintra, close to my hometown of Lisboa, you can imagine I’ve seen them live quite a bunch of times. The best compliment I can pay to both their songs and their crushing live set is that I’m seeing them again this weekend at the Metal GDL festival, and I’m still as stoked for it as if it was the first time.

Buy the album

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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