Many of us fantasize about existing in an anachronistic world wherein Viking Ulfbrecht swords vanquish thine enemies as buzzsaw electric bass tuned down to Z-flat renders battlefield PA speakers flaccid. While Ulfbrechts are, alas, rare, heavy doom metal bands like Windhand appear to be on the rise.
For those not in the know, "doom" is a sub-genre of metal that tends toward the atmospheric—think Black Sabbath's "Into the Void" making babies with shoegazers My Bloody Valentine: sluggish, dark, repetitive and grinding, with stratospheric vocals that soar above the roil of molten earth below.
While Soma opens with a fine track in "Orchard," the second number, "Woodbine" is a contender for a Doomie™ song of the year award (not a real thing, btdubs). For six minutes the band essentially pounds two riffs into your earholes as vocalist Dorthia Cottrell effectively moans and drones over the instrumentation. Cottrell's lamentations are in stark contrast with the brutal guitars and cascade of crashing cymbals as she sings well within her range rather than shrieking or channeling the Cookie Monster. During the sixth minute of this nine-minute Herculian number, the sky cracks and the darkness of outer space rains down heavy, a fitting finish for today's end times.
Windhand plays the Badlander Mon., Sept. 16, at 9 PM with Shramana and Swamp Ritual. Free. Donations encouraged.