The metallic, burnt taste of the outer limits were in our mouths as extreme music permeated and pummeled our ears. For several hours, we were adrift in space, and yes, we could be heard screaming as we were hurtled towards suns and planets inhospitable.
Ulthar, an upstart Oakland, California act signed to recently transplanted label 20 Buck Spin, released what many believed to be one of 2018’s death metal masterpieces in Cosmovore . And it was recreated well, almost frighteningly so. The other night at Howler’s, Ulthar, whose name is inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, managed to astonish attendees on a warm April night with a short set of dizzying, cosmic death in the vein of Rings of Saturn, The Chasm, Blood Incantation, and Allegaeon. Bassist Steve Peacock blinded with fingers that seemed to be faster than sound as meteoric riffs and asteroid drums from Shelby Lermo and Justin Ennis decimated entire alien races. This nuclear power trio consisting of alumni of such bands as Tombs, Horn of Dagoth, Vastus, Palace of Worms, and Hideous is onto the secrets of the Anti-Life Equation, and the whispers of future underground domination will only grow louder. Such will be my testament when these words are found centuries from now in a capsule. The age of Ulhar is coming, and the skies will rain and reign in their galactic fire.
Local spellbinders Pyrithe are showing more and more potential with each stand, and this performance only emboldened their legend. Bloodstar, Crisis, Alcest, and Intronaut were conjured as their enigmatic vocalist chanted and hexed the unworthy while the occasional Crowbar-proud riff emerged from the black holes the band created.
Another deathful threesome, also from Pittsburgh, landed somewhere in between, Abysme emerging from a nebula to punish us with their throwback death metal. Grim tidings were croaked to the flock by one Brad Heiple, whose crusty axework reminded to respect the Old Gods.
I was torn between catching this show and another across the Monongahela headlined by Seax, but come 10:45, I was glad the coin I flipped landed Grendel side up instead of Beowulf, Ulthar, Abysme, and Pyrithe snuffing out the flames of indecision.