Wheeling, West Virginia served as a confluence for several metal scenes last night at River City, a mighty fine and friendly and saloon-ish venue that brings to mind Jergel’s Rhythm Grille in the Pittsburgh suburb of Cranberry.
Hometown doom metal heroes Brimstone Coven were there to party without pretending to be there anything else, and rightfully so, their very recently dropped newest album, What Was and What Shall Be serving as their proudest achievement to date. A Sabbathy, occult rocking affair was had, Andy D’Cagna (also of Ironflame) and Corey Roth working the crowd and bantering back and forth like stand-up comedians, playing deep into the night, the latest record showcased in its entirety along with chestnuts from the band’s back catalogue. Doctor Smoke’s Matt Tluchowski even came up onstage as a guest singer for the penultimate song of the set. A solid, jovial and proud flock of attendees were left perspiring and content.
North Carolina’s Demon Eye, who will be at the Descendants of Crom Festival at Pittsburgh’s Cattivo in September, astonished the congregation with their smart, steely, stoneground take on NWOBHM and the bands that preceded it. Guitarist/frontman Erik Sugg crooned out mysterious, occult, imaginative tales via his eerie, horror-host vocals, picking away a la Brian Tatler, Scott Gorham, and even Frank Marino at times whilst trading blows with fellow gunman Larry Burlison as a sturdy rhythm section in Bill Eagan and Paul Walz kept the ring from collapsing.
Pittsburgh’s Horehound, led by Shy Kennedy, owner of Blackseed Records and promoter behind the Descendants of Crom Festivals, are a band I just caught the night before. Opening the festivities with their death-laced doom in excellent, emotive form, Horehound thundered like Derketa colliding with Coven and Paradise Lost, leaving the crowd transfixed and earning their respect.
Wheeling was quite a lively place to be Saturday Night, the barren main street lit by live metal music of a retro nature. The town deserves more of it, and there is an audience eager to devour it.