A proper prelude to the third annual Descendants of Crom took place at Howlers yesterday evening, tingling spines with an eclectic mixture of bands doom and stoner and some that strayed far from that particular Venn diagram.
Motometer, a quirky hometown power trio, broke the seal for the festival with a set of groovy, progressive 70’s fuzzrock that put Budgie, Primus, Led Zeppelin, and the guitar mathematics of Robert Fripp into a tornado. The act’s humorous lyrics and stage presence lightened the gloom somewhat as their effortlessly jazzy musicianship slyly set the tone.
Speaking of sly, Rochester, New York’s Fox 45 trotted out an echoing collection of Hendrix-licked, death-stricken doom that was at once jammy, glammy, cocky, starbound, and as dead heavy, and unnervingly haunting as Yatra. Drop a tab of L7 into that brew as well, and take a swig.
Indiana’s Void King gave me a feeling that they’d be potent before note one. With a foggy, spotlit, arena titan stage set up, Void King’s greaser frontman, with his ouija board torso ink and impressive beard conjured the sounds of an Electric Wizard/Wolftooth/Grand Magus/Earthride mashup with Clutch’s Neil Fallon on vocals. Solid as granite and cooler than a glacier, Void King blistered brains and wrote their name in bloodstains, vandalizing and scandalizing like road pirates on a desert landscape.
Longtime hardcore locals Submachine were both confrontational and celebratory of all manner of punk, from Black Flag, The UK Subs, Fear, and Terror to Killer of Sheep and Discharge. Their frontman looking like a marine and acting like a heel, brawler pro wrestler, going into the crowd to challenge any notions that they were out of place, rolling on and off the stage as if it were a ring and he a rulebreaker, and it may as well have been, and he is.
Enhailer filled the room with their nihilistic sludge/thrash/doom, Mastodon gone weird after spending too much time in proximity to the fumes of Neurosis. Blocky riffs, jammy interludes, and intensely gifted drumming propelled caustic vocals into rocky ruin.
Pittsburgh’s own mystic knights of virtue and imagination, Icarus Witch finished out the night with a stand of kingly melodies and heavenward riffery and axework. Icarus Witch would rule the metal world in an alternate universe, but instead we selfishly have bound them in our own reality, their stout, elegant songcraft winning with every gig, too handily for us to allow them to slip into the multiverse.
Tickets can still be had at the door for Descendants of Crom, which officially begins today at 4pm at Cattivo. Be there!
Photos by Amanda Baker.