Weedeater – St Vitus, Brooklyn, August 11, 2015

I heard a lot of doom and sludge last night, but I’ve decided that there is a new genre of metal, and it is called fuzz pedal. And you know what, I’ve decided I like it. Here’s how I made up my mind. It started like this. As I listened to openers Blackout and Kings Destroy, I was temporarily concerned that whoever does the bookings at St Vitus thought Pallbearer were headlining.

That’s not to say that the camp of modern doom at which Pallbearer are the chief counselor doesn’t have a lot to do with sludge, but when it comes to their doom, Blackout in particular are not screwing around. Unlike Pallbearer, Blackout flip out once in a while and, if I may be blunt, Blackout actually have different-sounding songs. But if Blackout ain’t doom, I don’t know what is, and if there’s one thing that you can usually say about doom metal, you can usually say that it’s slow. Blackout use a lot of tempo shifts (see above reference to flipping out) which defy that generalization, but they also made me realize one thing that makes great doom great isn’t just the slow tempo, it’s also the rests. Huge, gaping, chewy rests carved from the meat of the void that sound like Taryn Waldman pointing a drum stick at a thousand-year lunar eclipse. Hear what I mean by clicking here.

Kings Destroy have a very compatible idea which goes in a very different direction. Singer Steve Murphy mentioned grunge, hardcore, the Melvins and a couple other things I could not longer hear by the point in the evening when we talked about this. Kings Destroy do play with effortless command of every one of those idioms, but the actual sonic result is rock, and I do mean rock, without exaggeration. It doesn’t matter if you like hardcore or not, if you’ve ever felt like doom just doesn’t rock enough, you’ve never heard Kings Destroy. It’s doom that wails, and you can check it out at this link.

I got there too late to see Black Black Black, but I just listened to their record and now really wish I had gotten there earlier.

So Blackout and Kings Destroy do indeed doom, but when I thought of Pallbearer, I realized not much later, what I was really thinking of was this: fuzz pedal. Yeah, fire, wheels, the internet, whatever. There is one invention that makes this whole style of metal possible, and these guys know it. We’re not talking whisps of fuzz here and there, we’re talking full-shag-carpeting, Jim-Henson-is-your-interior-decorator fuzz pedal. And I think that’s what St Vitus was thinking when they put this bill together, because if there is any common language spoken by these bands, the conversation between them sounds like continental plates separating — if those continental plates are held together by velcro. (ed. 8/25/15 – As Steve has kindly brought to my attention, Kings Destroy do not use actual fuzz pedals to create the sound described, and maybe neither do any of the other bands mentioned here. There are other ways to do it. I just don’t know what they are, because my religion says electricity comes from ketchup.)

There are some sounds that you hear with your ears, and some that you feel in your chest and some that you feel in the pockets of air between your clothes and your skin. But the sounds Weedeater made vibrated all of my abdominal organs at the same frequency that the foam on a riverbank does when the frogs are hatching. Have you ever been flipped off with a bottle of Jack Daniels? I hadn’t before last night, but now I have been, about twenty times, actually, and there’s just something about the way Dixie flips you off with a bottle of Jack Daniels that it never quite wears out on you. If anything felt like it was missing last night, it was the barn. No one will ever accuse St Vitus of looking like Carnegie Hall — it’s not that St Vitus is too clean, but it is undeniably urban. And there is a barn, and that barn has a still, and under the still is a gateway to hell, and the hay bales in this barn are stacked into an effigy of Godzilla, and the animals in this barn, the animals, ladies and gentleman, they are all high. And until I am in that barn, in body or soul, I am not sure if I will ever completely be at a Weedeater concert. You can still get the idea by clicking here.

If the fetid winds hold, the barn may be Maryland Deathfest 2016.

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