We’ve been fairly spoiled by metal and heavy music in general here in Pittsburgh in 2018. We’ve had a ton of great bands come though (just a few years ago, that was not a given), we had the glorious Migration Fest in July, and now, just as autumn begins to dig in its claws, the second Descendants of Crom festival is returning, this time with more bands and another day tacked on for good measure.
Starting Thursday night with the pre-fest gala at Howler’s in the Bloomfield section of Pittsburgh and continuing Friday and Saturday with full lineups of some of the most diverse metal, doom, psyche, and rock artists imaginable, the event sets up shop once again at Cattivo in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. Last year’s event was a blast, and it’s one of the most fun festivals I’ve ever attended. With two stages (an upstairs and a downstairs setting), the fest flew by. Once one band was done, you went to the stage on the other level, and things were getting under way. No downtime, bands that sound nothing like each other, and an attendee-friendly environment makes this one that you definitely want to check out. Organized Shy Kennedy (also of local doom burners Horehound and the brains and brawn behind Blackseed Records) has put together a killer show, and we’ll take a quick run through all the bands so, if you’re unfamiliar with any of them, we can at least tell you a little something about them.
Also, we repurposed the piece from July about all the cool shit to do while you’re in town that we did for Migration Fest. The info is all still relevant, and we had a lot of people tell us the guide was very helpful. So, check that out as well. Now, onto the bands.
Thursday, Sept. 27, 8 p.m., Howlers (https://goo.gl/maps/1AFWB5yKhQ12)
GRAN GILA (9 pm.): Local doom metal crushers get the entire event started off. Warning: There will be beards.
MIRES (9:40): Pittsburgh-based instrumental doom/drone quartet that will bring an atmospheric, mind-bending edge.
FIST FIGHT IN THE PARKING LOT (10:20): A more rock and roll-based band that will bring a rowdier attitude to the gala. Vocalist/guitarist Abby Krinzer also is a DJ for local radio station the X and is one hell of a force.
REBREATHER (11:10): Ohio-based trio that always comes with plenty of heaviness in tow. These guys have been crushing hearing for nearly 20 years now.
DESTROYER OF LIGHT (midnight): Austin, Texas, doom rockers bring energy and fire you’ll need when the clocks turns Friday. They just released their “Hopeless” EP in May, and their last full-length was last year’s “Chamber of Horrors.”
Friday, Sept 28, 4 pm., Cattivo (https://goo.gl/maps/ERW2YkPnQfA2)
THE LONG HUNT (4:20 p.m.): Pittsburgh instrumental doom filled with atmosphere. Their new record “All Paths Lead to Here” is highly recommended and as beautiful as it is heavy.
SOLARBURN (4:45): Pittsburgh-based trio will bring heaviness and power to your Friday, which you’ll totally need after a bullshit week at work.
YATRA (5:10): Is your mind ready to wander into the void? If so, Maryland-based trio Yatra has you covered and more. Doomy and from the beyond.
ETERNAL BLACK (5:35): Brooklyn-based doom/stoner metal band that released “Bleed the Days” last summer. They’re heading back into the studio in November to record their second record.
CURSE THE SON (6:00): Hailing from New Haven, Connecticut, these guys also bring the stoner metal and doom vibe and records for the mighty Ripple Records.
DOCTOR SMOKE (6:30): We haven’t gotten a new full-length from this Ohio-based band since 2014’s “The Witching Hour,” but we’ll get to see what these doom rockers have been up to lately.
HOREHOUND (7:00): Fest creator Shy Kennedy fronts this awesome doom band that can be melodic and crushing. Their new record “Holocene” is a barnburner and is out in November.
DOOMSTRESS (7:30): This smoking, fiery band mixes classic heavy metal and doom and is fronted by Doomstress Alexis, who will tear your head off. To add to their awesomeness, they’re major LGBTQ supporters, and Alexis has become a major advocate for other transgender individuals and artists.
DEMON EYE (8:00): You can’t go wrong with a band named after a Deep Purple song, and the last record they hit us with was last year’s “Prophecies and Lies.”
SIERRA (8:30): Ontario-based psyche doom pounders Sierra released “The Mirror” in April, and it has flashes of doom, prog, and psychedelics. Should be fucking loud.
HEAVY TEMPLE (9:00): Bad-ass Philly trio Heavy Temple will haunt and bludgeon you with their sound, which is heavy, haunting, and bluesy as fuck. These ladies are coming for your blood.
DISENCHANTER (9:30): This punchy duo certainly has a doom buzz to it, but vocalist/guitarist Sabine Spangenberg adds a classic metal flair with her bellowing, powerful singing.
HOWLING GIANT (10:05): Nashville psychonauts Howling Giant almost assuredly will bring in tow songs from their raucous two-part “Black Hole Space Wizard” EPs. They will be a blast and heavy as hell.
DEVIL TO PAY (10:40): Sludgy and apocalyptic, Indianapolis pounders Devil to Pay have a healthy resume of five full-length albums, their latest 2016’s “A Bend Through Space and Time.”
LO PAN (11:15): Columbus’ Lo Pan have become a pretty regular visitor to Pittsburgh, and their inclusion here makes all the sense in the world. They also have one of the strongest traditional singers on the bill in Jeff Martin.
COME TO GRIEF (midnight): This band formed from the ashes of legendary Grief, whose landmark record “Come to Grief” recently was added to the Decibel Hall of Fame. And for good reason.
Friday, Sept 29, 4 pm., Cattivo (https://goo.gl/maps/ERW2YkPnQfA2)
URNS (4:45): These good, good local boys just tore open the recent YOB/Bell Witch show here in Pittsburgh with their heavy doom that reminds a bit of the sadly fallen Pilgrim.
JAKETHEHAWK (5:10): Pittsburgh is about as far away from the desert as you can get, but this Pittsburgh band (and Blackseed Records artist) finds a way to bring the dry heat, which they do on “Year of the Hawk,” which was released in January.
THUNDERBIRD DIVINE (5:35): Rising from the collapse of Wizard Eyes, Thunderbird Divine are getting ready to release their debut record “Magnasonic” on Salt of the Earth Records.
RIVER CULT (6:00): Heavy psyche rockers River Cult are from Brooklyn and bring with them songs from their debut record “Halcyon Days” that was released by Blackseed Records in February.
MOLASSES BARGE (6:30): This Pittsburgh band (featuring Brian “Butch” Balich of Argus) unleash their brand of classic doom metal, which will be heavy and epic. Their last album “Covered in Molasses” was released last year by Blackseed.
WORSHIPPER (7:00): This Massachusetts-based metal band is one of the members of TeePee Records’ stellar roster, and they released their EP “Mirage Daze” in June that contains covers of songs by Pink Floyd, the Who, Uriah Heep, and the Oath.
WOLFTOOTH (7:30): Indiana-based heavy doom maulers Wolftooth offered up their self-titled debut record this year. The album feeds off classic heavy metal and gallops hard on the plains.
IRONFLAME (8:00): This is the brainchild of the great Andrew D’Cagna (Coldfells, Nechochwen, and new vocalist for Icarus Witch), a power metal-friendly unit that released their latest album “Tales of Splendor and Sorrow” this year on Divebomb Records.
CAVERN (8:30): Maryland’s Cavern are one of the artists on the impressive Grimoire Records roster, and their brand of storming doom and metal will bruise bodies and pulverize ears. Their new album “Eater” was released in June, and it’s a smasher.
TOKE (9:00): I mean, if you’re not familiar with this band, do you really need it spelled out for you? They’re called Toke. They hail from North Carolina, and they’ll out-smoke every one of you.
FORMING THE VOID (9:30): This band calls Louisiana home, and they play an interesting blend of progressive sludge and doom that perplexes and punishes. Their latest record “Rift” was released in August by Bolication Records.
GEEZER (10:05): Bluesy and hazy, this New York-based band deliver riffs, as one might expect from the name of the group. They’re cosmic and psychedelic, and they’ll deliver the goods in their later slot.
FREEDOM HAWK (10:40): If you’re starting to get tired with the night going on, the energetic power and groove of Virginia’s Freedom Hawk should be enough to get you going again.
MOS GENERATOR (11:20): This band has been steamrolling for nearly 20 years now, and from their Sabbath, Van Halen, and Kiss covers to their own soulful doom sound, this band has plenty from which to choose for their set.
DUEL (12:05): Rounding out the festival is this Austin, Texas, proto-metal band. They just released their “Live at the Electric Church” album, and they’ll send everyone home thinking about metal’s sturdy roots.
To buy tickets for the event, go here: http://www.descendantsofcrom.com/
For more on the event, go here: http://www.descendantsofcrom.com/