The 20th of March 2019 has already arrived and with it a crushingly heavy evening gig, infused with doom and contagious riffs. Windhand with Grime by their side haunted Eindhoven on their recent European tour and summoned the local doom worshippers for a night of unbearable, psychedelic madness. Having been there, I would now like to tell you a story about mind-boggling distortions, dire reverbs and continuous waves of sonic blows that I experienced during the gig. And it was heavy.
Italian sludge metal trio from Trieste opened the evening with incredibly sharp chords that set a grave atmosphere and resonated through the whole room. The band played raw and dirty, however, there was often little differentiation between separate tracks. Yet in all that giant mass of unforgiving sludge one could find his or her place and fall victim to the music. Singular riffs sometimes poured down with immense energy only later to return in the same manner over and over again. Sometimes up to an exaggerated level unfortunately. In total though, it was a solid opening performance that sharpened my appetite for doom metal, infected me with some blistering riffs and allowed me to sink into the heaviness residing in the venue.
Grime is: Christian Musich on drums, Marco Matta on vocs/guitar and Paolo Borgatti on vocs/bass guitar.
Around half an hour after Grime called it an evening, Windhand slowly materialized on stage and lit a few candles across the stage. Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, the band embarked on a quest to promote their recent release, Eternal Return, and deliver some truly bone-chilling noises to their European audience. Confidently standing amidst the fellow followers I thought I was fully prepared for yet another sonic ceremony. Never before have I been so wrong.
To those new to Windhand, let me swiftly visualize their music. Imagine yourself floundering through an unforgiving track that sets the border between a grim forest and an expanse of treacherous thickets. Under the somewhat unnatural moonshine, you suddenly stand still and try to comprehend the eerie situation you were put in. You can press on and slowly make it through the tough yet safe road or run to either side of the path. Both the forest and the thickets conceal things of unspeakable evil against which you’ve been already warned. Yet they constantly lure you to their bowels with soothing sounds and the comforting peace that surrounds them. At one point your mind lets go and you dissolve in what you feared most…
Where uncanny vocals meet roaring riffs and flow alongside of malevolent drum blasts, there you find the essence of Windhand’s live performance. Expecting another serenade of classy, tuned-down riffages I was pleasantly surprised what the band had brought about. For it was a heavily atmospheric ritual where the bass threatened to rupture my heart and Dorthia’s voice tickled my inner demons. I truly enjoyed how their music crept up my veins and injected deadly doses of stoner doom into them. There was no escape and no other option than to heed the wail and hypnotically sway one’s head.
Furthermore, the setlist was just on point! Spanning their whole discography, Windhand treated the audience with the tastiest bits off their previous records while mainly focusing on their newest release. And boy, what a sweet combination was that… The very moment Winter Sun dropped at the encore I knew that this was going to be a lethal roundoff. It’s hard to describe but when the initial sharp riffs had reached my mind I got immediately detached from reality and my soul dissolved in that sonic acid.
What I tried to tell with my words and photos is the story that painted itself in my head throughout the evening. I can only hope that you once see Windhand live and take part in all of that by yourself. Then we can meet and discuss this strangely fascinating experience. And remember, embrace the doom instead of fighting it. It will arrive inevitably so why not greet it with a wicked smile instead?
Windhand is: Dorthia Cottrell on vocs, Garret Morris on guitar, Ryan Wolfe on drums and Parker Chandler on bass guitar.