To observe the blessed birth of a self-titled debut EP, Riparian, a lacerating new Pittsburgh death metal band featuring members of Wrought Iron, took the stage at Get Hip Records on a rainy Saturday night and showed a packed audience that they have plans to turn our scene upside down.
Frontman Rob Grisly growled his intestines out on the floor, the stage being too small to contain his unholy, bloody rage, his teeth gnashing as he shouted out mangled diatribes. Think Shadows Fall meets Dying Fetus and Napalm Death (did you see what I did there, dear readers?) in a post-industrial, post-apocalyptic landscape, the earth burned beyond recognition by the soul-searing twin guitar attack of Louis Snyder and Dan Martin, the seismic rumblings of drummer Nick Tupi and bassist Brooks Griswold leaving massive fissures in the ground for the unawares to fall into. Riparian and here, and they are here to chew up brains and punt skulls between flaming, hollowed out buildings.
Post Mortal Possession, the most seasoned of the acts showcased this evening, ate all in sight, the necromancing gluttons of gore tearing through Carcasses and celebrating Death only to reanimate their kills for their own amusement. Technical beyond belief, Post Mortal Possession rule the dead in Pittsburgh and are slaughterhouse assassins par excellence.
Meat-carvers Enfilade came to Dismember with a chip of Entombed on their shoulders. Like Riparian, their frontman also commanded the floor instead of the stage. Intelligent riffs cannonballed massive grooves into the mountains.
Openers Pagan Youth are also rather new but like Enfilade, played like longtime veterans, their somewhat melodic doom/death bringing to mind Mournful Congregation, Dream Death, and My Dying Bride. One could sense a mixture of anger and grief, capable frontman Chadd Hammitt shifting from clean to harsh vocals as effortlessly as Dan Swano while dense but at times harmonized guitars eulogized the lost.
It’s an exciting time for metal in Pittsburgh, one that I believe will be looked back on fondly years from now. The four bands featured on this bill serve as several examples of why my prophecy will come to pass.