Friday night at the Doom Fest featured bands from all across the country — from Ohio to Indiana, Dallas to Seattle…and of course, a few from Maryland, as well. I was most looking forward to seeing Mothership headline — after catching them as an opening act three times in Toronto, it was good to see them get a full set. More on that later, though.
For me, the evening started off with The Druids, a young band from Maryland that wears its Obsessed and Spirit Caravan influences on its sleeves — and on the band members’ t-shirts. They’ve even recruited the latter’s Gary Isom on drums, giving them instant doom scene cred. And hey, their tuneage ain’t bad, either…
Speaking of (not so) young Maryland bands, Spiral Grave is a new outfit featuring the three surviving members of Iron Man. While the driving rhythm section remains intact, they occasionally play faster than Iron Man ever did, and their guitarist, Willy Rivera, is far from an Al Morris clone, adding his own style and tone to the proceedings. These guys played the backroom at Guido’s Speakeasy, across the street from the main venue, and the place was completely packed!
I first had the chance to catch Seattle duo Year of the Cobra in Toronto late last year. The Jucifer comparisons are inevitable, but this outfit has much cleaner, more affecting vocals…and far fewer amplifiers. (For my money’s worth, I’m taking YoTC.)
Lo-Pan mostly played songs from their new album, Subtle, which has been hailed as much poppier and more melodic than their previous work. I dunno, those songs still sounded pretty heavy to me live, though… (Oh, and in case you haven’t seen ’em before, their singer sets up shop behind the drummer.)
Now, I’ve probably seen Pale Divine at a handful of doomfests over the years in places like Rochester, Milwaukee and maybe Las Vegas…although that last one mighta been their brother band Beelzefuzz, with whom they share three common members. In any case, their moving brand of traditional doom metal never disappoints.
As it turns out, Mothership’s set was cut a bit short — the venue had a hard stop at 1:30, and once they turned the lights on, the band couldn’t even come back for an encore. It was still the longest Mothership set I’ve seen, with the band diving deeper into their second album than ever before. Typical set staples “Lunar Master” and “Angel of Death” were notably absent — I take it they might have played them had they been able to play longer?
Still, I gotta say that 45-50 minutes of Mothership beats 25-30 minutes of Mothership, any day!