Sunday, September 4, 2016

Dark Depths: Shadow Woods Friday Preview

Kaptain Carbon continues his unsolicited preview of Shadow Woods by listening to every band on each day and writing about it with increasing weirdness. A Sound of Thunder has been a staple around the DC heavy metal scene if you have ever been interested in the sound of power or progressive at a local level.
By Kaptain Carbon.

Kaptain Carbon continues his unsolicited preview of Shadow Woods by listening to every band on each day and writing about it with increasing weirdness.


A Sound of Thunder has been a staple around the DC heavy metal scene if you have ever been interested in the sound of power or progressive at a local level. I know there are like a dozen of you. Fronted by a strong female lead, the band does its best to fit in with all of the black and death bands with music that is unabashedly geeky in nature. In fact the band's most recent work is entirely dedicated to the comic book character Shadowman. Perhaps they want to play Dungeons and Dragons with me during the off hours. I will have dice.

Genevieve has been a favorite of mine since the band’s 2015 debut Escapism. While still having themselves entrenched in respectable black/death, this Baltimore based band frays at the edges of experimental urges leaving music which sounds like it is doing its best to keep its shit together. Both intense and endlessly indulgent, Genevieve is a perfect destination for 12:30 on a Friday morning. I mean, if you are not awake, I will come by your campsite and kick your tent over.

At the Graves is another Baltimore area based band who seems to have set up residence on the outskirts of heavy metal. While loyalties to sludge and doom are apparent for this one man outfit, so is the more grey areas of shoegaze, grunge, and just droning noise. This is the perfect combination of emotionally wrenched music doused in gasoline. At the Graves is as self destructive and reflexive as it is entertaining to watch the demise.

Summarizing a band’s sound is sometime hard with various releases. If we were taking Destroyer of Light’s 2012 debut, their sound would be filled with sludge based aggression which whips like concrete blocks. If we are taking into account this Texas based doom band’s most recent split, then the wind seems to be blowing more towards stoned traditionalism. With loyalties laid down on a altar of bands like Reverend Bizarre and Electric Wizard, Destroyer of Light’s most recent split with Godhunter is fantastic trip into the luminescent and ultraviolet. Slow and heavy wins the race. .

This is Surgeon from Pennsylvania and they are tagged as progressive metal. I have rested on that style as the band exhibits many different inclinations throughout their career. If we are discussing Surgeon’s most recent work, then it is a blend of progressive, industrial and black metal where Chemical Reign leans more towards a heavy fusion. Similar to hard to pin acts like Devin Townsend, Surgeon is going to be camping with the oddballs but I am sure they will be a delight to a few over the weekend.

Myopic was one of the first bands from Grimoire Records that really took a hold of me a few years back. Perhaps this was a combination of elongated black metal which was stretched out on the forest floor like a field dressed animal. Both organic and transcendental as well as unclassifiable, if I were to pick a band that was going to capture the essence of an autumn metal festival in the woods this would be near the top near the field dressed animal.

I am 85% sure this is the band that is playing. Sometimes bands will have similar names or at least similar spellings that it gets confusing. I sure hope this is the band that is playing as Sapremia plays a brand of old school death metal that could only come from New Jersey. Tough as nails and emotionally dead, this band is perfect for the mid afternoon when the sun is at its height. Things will be alright with a stomach full of beer and a mouth full of glass.

Let us put Lotus Thief in the same cabin as Darsombra as those two would certainly get along with their cosmic outlook on creating music. Somewhere between electronic, space rock, and doom, lies the work of Lotus Thief. Hailing all the way from San Francisco this quintet has come to tell the tales of 1st century philosophy as their albums seems to be around with the subject. In fact, I would like to camp next to them all weekend. I am sure they have stories to tell and things to share.

Temple of the Void was one of the highlights for the midwestern metal fest Blood of the Wolf. Seeing their name on the lineup for this year’s Shadow Woods festival was a surprise and cause for joy. Even though doom is not my favorite style of metal, Temple of the Void’s stage presence and ominous disposition makes the whole thing a marvel for wonder. Come for doom, leave robbed of your spiritual essence and maybe a copy of their 2014 record Of Terror and the Supernatural.

Within the large net of related bands you can start to draw connections which make up a terrifying web. Sadgiqacea is related one member to Hivelords, who played last year at Shadow Woods, and Tombs who is the closing headliner for this year’s festival. Though all three bands are separated, they still share the same artistic focus which is gazing into the aether. Whether by sludge, doom, or black metal, these bands seem to be traveling towards the same nexus of darkness. Sadgiqacea is perhaps the more mystical of the bunch with meditative drone and a sparser atmosphere of two members, the sound is enough to shake one's mortal coil.

When one looks at Helgamite, they expect stoner doom. What one gets is something not too far off the mark but it is filled with closed fists and bloody noses. Psychedelic sludge would be a better description with themes bordering on ethereal daydreams, this band explores the horror of transcendence where the very concept is the one to drive its practitioners mad. Armed with a sax and something that sounds like a beast from beyond time, this is a band which is going to make me fear going to my campsite alone.

Acid Witch is the answer of what would happen is doom and death took mushrooms together and watched Evil Dead in a basement. Irreverent and endlessly entertaining, this is one of the saturday headliner which is going to light up the trees with scary hallucinations of fear and flashbacks. They are a horror show which is ready to ruin your trip with scary thoughts and scenarios. I just realized that I made a lot of hallucinogen jokes so I do not want people coming to my campsite asking me strange questions. Are you a police officer or a flesh eating monster?

Tengger Cavalry is not the first band I think about when I think metal festival in the woods. This Mongolian folk band is not what I think of when I ponder a lot of things. If we were talking of a remote metal festival somewhere out on the ancient steppe only accessible via horseback, then I could see it. I am not one to complain as this is one of the larger bands pulled into this small festival which I am sure will be dazzling on a small woodland stage. If one thing can be said about this whole experience, it is going to be interesting. I know I said that before but now we have Mongolian folk metal from NYC.

Tombs was one of my favorite bands back in 2011 when they released Path of Totality. It was dark and ruminating and pulled in various levels of tension and submerged it underwater. Since then, this band has continued to impress and amaze with their combination of blackened post metal which feels like drowning in some tepid swamp.

One of the newer stock from Grimoire is a fierce display of traditional black metal that is going to fit in perfectly with the rest of the bands. Staunchly orthodox in its second wave disposition, this is black metal which has no frill nor patience for weakness. Athame is also the first wave of bands which is going to take the late night Saturday on a trip into Hades. Think of this band as your Charon.

Symphonic black metal which exposes the virtues of sexual mysticism, the esoteric and the Qabalah? I am fucking in to whatever this band is selling. Perhaps it is the novelty of this Colerado based band which is enticing but if anyone wants to hear a sound which leans heavily on Emperor perhaps played by a campfire encircled by other weirdoes, then it will perhaps be a marvel to behold. Helleborus acts as the late night entertainment for a festival which is filled with adults anyway but their music sounds like a hellish orgy of sin and pleasure.

One can not go to sleep at Shadow Woods without being lulled to bed by the sound of raw lo fi black metal which is stepped in chamomile and dark noise. T.O.M.B has little information on the outfit other than being from Pennsylvania and operating since the 90’s. Cut from the stock of raw underground black metal, I have little idea what is going to transpire other than it being madness.

Shadow Woods Metal Fest.
21+ ONLY.
Thursday 15 September through Sunday 18 September 2016 at Camp Hidden Valley, 4722 Mellow Rd, White Hall MD 21161.
More details
Weekend pass (includes on-site tent camping) $130 in advance or $150 at gate. Limited cabin bunks available for an additional charge. Single-day tickets also available.
Buy tickets

Kaptain Carbon moderates Reddit's r/metal as well as writes reviews for lesser known black, death, and doom metal for Tape Wyrm as well as Dungeon Synth, Tabletop, and Movie Reviews for Hollywood Metal.

Tagged with A Sound of Thunder, Acid Witch, At the Graves, Athame, Destroyer of Light, Genevieve, Helgamite, Helleborus, Kaptain Carbon, Lotus Thief, Sapremia, Surgeon, Temple of the Void, Tengger Cavalry, Tombs
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