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Headless at the Palazzo

As already reported, the long-awaited album from Krishna finally saw the light of day on Saturday 25th March. The event took place at Palazzo De La Salle in Valletta. One could not have asked for a more intimate place for a performance, any performance (although I cannot picture an extreme metal band performing there to a seated audience).

The Malta Society of Arts, established in 1852, is Malta’s oldest institution for the promotion of the arts and crafts and is based in this Palazzo which was probably built in the 1570s and was certainly a residence of great distinction, but little is known about the early owners and occupants.

According to the Malta Society of Arts description on their website:

“In the late 17th Century it was the residence of the Prior of England and Venice, Fra Stefano Maria Lomellini, subsequently inherited by his nephew, an Italian knight. There is indication that it became the property of the Prior of Barletta, Fra Camillo Albertini in 1711. After he died in 1712, the property was handed over to the Treasury and bequeathed to the Order.

The Palazzo became the residence of the family of Grand Master Raymond Perellos Roccafull in 1713 until 1720, when it was donated to his nephews. Sometime around 1730 the building passed into the hands of the De La Salle brothers, two French noblemen appointed as bailiffs by the Order, and whose name remains associated with the Palazzo to this day. When the last of the brothers died in 1739, the Palazzo was inherited by Fra Tommaso Sammut. The ownership during the late 18th Century remains unclear.

A British merchant and subsequently a wealthy Maltese widow occupied the property during the 1800s. The Palazzo suffered various changes throughout this period, indicating that its guardians were more concerned with functionality rather than the preservation of its historical and artistic value.

In 1992 the Malta Environment and Planning Authority listed Palazzo de la Salle as a Grade 1 Scheduled Property.”

More information on the Palazzo and Malta Society Of Arts (MAS) can be found here

The night opened as many performances at this venue do, with a drink and a chat amongst friends and bands members at the Gugar Hangout, situated just across the road. By eight thirty everyone was seated (waiting for the curtain to open, if only there was one).

As in Krishna’s ‘Seeker Of Light’ album launch Eyes To Argus opened the night. And it would have been a pleasant approach to the evening had it not been for some technical problems Samwel encountered with his pedal board. And while he was trying to deal with these troubles the band showed how professional and tight this outfit is. Let’s be honest, the majority of those present in the audience have seen Eyes To Argus before and know their songs and their experience, and could admire their tenacity to not let these difficulties affect their show as much as possible.

Their set was made up of one song (Circling) from their debut ‘Veer’, released in 2017, two from the 2021 release ‘Habitat’ (namely Glory Be and Last To Last) and a brand new track titled Bloodstream / Waterfall / Cannonball.

Although slightly indignant, the band still managed to produce a very good enjoyable set.

Eyes To Argus will definitely be back….. A quick change over and Krishna hit the stage presenting to the public the first glimpse of ‘Headless’. The album is made up of one song, around 52 minutes long, making this no easy task to perform live.

But regarding the performance and the music presented, Viper Soup Complex’s Michael Spiteri, who was present in the audience, put it best in a post on his Facebook page on Sunday: “50 minutes of challenging, sometimes difficult music to go through - This is the second album following a 7 year wait from "Seeker Of Light" Will be honest, for me the first movement was the most difficult to absorb - it felt like the pains of creation... and I think that this was the point. Once the foundations of this introductory piece were set, the rest was a transportation of somewhat alien-like sonic expressions which required focus, attention, and personal involvement to go through. On the whole, it felt like a complete expression with subtle changes that upon instant will drag your attention to the following movements (sometimes even without warning). Very much reflecting our intimate moments where we are dragged by our own thoughts and emotions to places we don't plan to visit. Extremely well done to Timothy Garrett and Alan Darmanin for this piece - it was emotionally memorable.”

Anyone who knows the music of Krishna, especially their live shows, knows very well that this was a one off experience as every time the band performs, their songs’ versions are different. This is attested by Timothy Garrett himself in a recent interview when he disclosed that they record every rehearsal as it never comes out the same. This makes Saturday’s performance unique and many those who attended listened to the piece for the first time (the album was available on Friday on Bandcamp, while the cassette was on pre-order and could only be picked up on the night). Of course, it would be difficult to compare the music on the cassette (the only physical media released on so far) to any live performance of ‘Headless’ let alone the performance presented on the night. Hopefully the band recorded the audio of the performance and it shall be available in the coming future, not for comparison but for the live experience produced.

The album was recorded in 2021 at Temple Studios and is the first recording with Timothy playing guitar, to which he switched from bass a few months earlier. Krishna at the time of recording still had Liam Formosa on drums and this recording boasts his forte. This makes Saturday’s performance even more unique with ‘new’ drummer Alan Darmanin filling the post up to excellence. With this formation the band released a new single ‘Despondent’ a few days prior to the launch. The recording was mixed by Derek Leisy and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege Studios. Headless was released via Kewn Records (KWN11) on digital platforms and on cassette with part one featuring the first 27 minutes and a half on side one, with the remaining 23 minutes on side two. Cassette release was a limited edition in white in a cardboard case with artwork by Samwell Mallia

According to the band’s Bandcamp page only a few remain, which can be ordered from here

Krishna’s next performance is on Sunday 7th May at Rock The South.

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