I’ve always thought of Windhand as doom metal for those of us that don’t live in a fog of bong smoke; or worship Satan or chase woodland creatures with homemade battle axes in our underwear at midnight. The Virginia 5-pc doom metal band carry with them all the eerie, Gothic vibes that would scare off the meek and mild if they heard something like Soma or Grief’s Infernal Flower blasting through the windows of your home as they walked up to sell you their religion or Girl Scout cookies. But there’s also something slightly pure about their music. Maybe it’s the vocals of Dorthia Cottrell that ground the music. There’s something organic, even tasteful in their brand of Gothic doom. The guitars buzz and reverberate like a war cry and the songs trudge along like they’re being pulled through bloody muck and mire. The organs hum like black angels over the proceedings, offering up eternal sleep with the sweet, sweet kiss of death.
But all of this in the nicest way possible.
Satan’s Satyrs on the other hand sound like Blue Cheer going through a meat grinder with the necronomicon. A buzzing mix of 60s garage rock with a shot of 80s doom metal and pinch of Anton LaVey for good measure. If The Black Lips had been more influenced by Saint Vitus and the Satanic Bible they might’ve turned out more like Satan’s Satyrs.
What do Windhand and Satan’s Satyrs have in common? Both are from Virginia, both dabble in occult-drenched metal, and they’ve released a split together. Two tracks from Windhand and three from Satan’s Satyrs on a 12″, courtesy of Relapse Records. It’s a dense, riff-tastic dose of doom/punk metal that will satiate your appetite for something heavy, sleazy, and dark.
Windhand take Side A and fill it up with two sludgy, Gothic monsoons of doom. “Old Evil” rolls into your ears like some lost Sleep track, but with a little more dexterity. Dorthia Cottrell gives the song a sense of urgency while the band lays down some serious doom-y grooves. There’s some Sabbath vibes in the guitar solo that floats over the proceedings. You can almost see the distant glow of a campfire in some secluded woods somewhere in rural Virginia as this track plays. “Three Sisters” is the epic barn burner of the split. It’s 13 minutes of gauzy, slow motion guitar riffing, epic and Gothic organ, and Cottrell’s voice hanging over the whole thing like some specter from another time. This may very well be the best thing Windhand have done so far. Eerie, melancholy doom at its finest.
Side B is a whole other thing. Satan’s Satyrs blast into the record with “Alucard AD 2018”, a punk-inflected rocker that sounds part early Corrosion of Conformity, classic Saint Vitus, and a touch of Blue Cheer on steroids. Not sure if the guys are really into Castlevania, but I’m going to pretend they are cause I want this song to be on the new season of Netflix’ Castlevania. “Succubus” reminds me of old school 80s thrash mixed with a dose of weedy doom. Imagine Kill Em All and Trouble’s The Skull sort of morphing into a double album and “Succubus” would fit perfectly right in the middle. Satyrs end their side with a cover of “Ain’t That Lovin’ You, Baby”, a raucous blues number that shows these cats can have a hell of a lot of fun, as well as get their Satan metal on. These guys are students of classic metal, but also are quite respectful of the roots of rock and roll.
I can’t think of a better pairing for a split. Windhand and Satan’s Satyrs deliver the goods here. Drop the needle and get in on this.