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The Conceal Gets Heavy at Caravan

In Music

Punk legends Hüsker Dü don’t actually sound like San Jose’s the Conceal, yet I can think of no better band in which to compare them.

Both bands transcend their genre (Doom Metal, in the case of the Conceal) by creating a signature sound based a great deal on their distinct guitar tones. Bob Mould’s thick guitar sounds were unlike any other punk rockers at the time.

The Conceal, performing November 30 at Caravan, creates a total consuming wall of feedback-laden distortion unlike any sludge metal band out there—to the point that the label barely applies.

The Conceal’s music does technically have all the attributes of doom metal—dark, slow, punishingly dissonant—yet the absence of the typical sludgy distortion creates an odd effect—not to mention the complete lack of dynamics.

From the beginning of each song to the end, the Conceal plays at one tempo and at one volume (really, really loud). Their penchant for feedback is really more like the tease of feedback. They rest right at that moment the guitars start to turn into feedback and just stay there.

Listening to the Conceal is a long unrelenting, grating assault, yet a certain beauty arises upon closer inspection, the kind you might see in a surreal post-apocalyptic landscape painting—ugliness so breathtaking it can only be described in terms of beauty.

The band’s debut album, Endless River | Stunted Prayer, was not only recorded entirely on GarageBand, but it was also done before the band played any shows. The production is very cohesive, with the kind of chemistry most bands spend years gigging to develop.

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