Sometimes it’s good to have a bill where all the bands don’t sound exactly the same. Both Satan’s Satyrs and Windhand hail from Virginia, and would certainly appeal to a doom-minded audience, but there are very few sonic similarities between them. While one sounds like the second coming of a semi-obscure 70’s proto-metal outfit, the other is sort of what Sleep would sound like with a frontwoman–and lemme just say, they’re a huge improvement in the vocal department. I was looking forward to seeing both bands individually, so sticking ’em on the same bill was basically a double bonus.
Alas, while I missed the first of two local openers, I did get to hear all of Pale Mare‘s set. This band comes from the same lineage as Godstopper and Ayahuasca, two top-notch local sludge/noise acts, which can be traced back to a mid-aughts outfit called The Womb (their guitar player plays drums in Pale Mare). Of the three, this band sounds the most like its predecessor, with a punishing sludgy hardcore approach. To date, they only have one song posted on Bandcamp, but I hope to hear more from them soon!
As there was a pretty decent-sized crowd at the Horseshoe, I had to squeeze my way to the front for Satan’s Satyrs, but I ended up with a prime vantage point as per usual. Originally a power trio, they added a second guitarist sometime before their appearance at Psycho Las Vegas, which really takes their sound to the next level. And while they were maybe not quite as crazy as I remembered in the heat of the Vegas night, this band’s still got stage presence in spades!
From the first time I saw Windhand, back in 2014, I knew this was a band that doesn’t simply stare at their shoes. Their heavy riffs get heads nodding throughout the building, and that does not exclude the players on stage. If anything, they seemed a little more restrained than they were on their first two trips to Toronto, but that’s not to say they stood still. And while they played as loud as un phoque en Virginia, the vocals cut more cleanly through the mix than I think I’ve ever heard…which is clearly a key component of their sound. For my money’s worth, Windhand and Witch Mountain are the two top female-fronted doom bands going–and after that, it’s not even close!