Descendants of Crom returns with an extra day, whole slew of metal, doom, sludge bands

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/

Descendants of Crom: What to do around town between the metallic, doom-fed poundings

NOTE: Yes, you’ve seen this story before. We did a roundup of cool places in Pittsburgh, things to do, places to buy records and coffees and books and all that when Migration Fest rolled around in July. This weekend’s Descendants of Crom festival takes place roughly in the same vicinity of town, so we felt repurposing this story for all the folks coming into town for a healthy serving of doom, sludge, psychedelics, etc., could be helpful all over again.

Also, come back in an hour for an entire preview of the fest.

Everyone still thinks there are steel mills in Pittsburgh. And the rivers are brown. And you can’t breathe the air. Not even close, friends. This is a city on the rise and has been for a few years, and there is a lot of fun things to do around here in your hours where you’re not being devastated by metal.

We put a few features together about what you might want to do while you’re here for Descendants of Crom. Two things: First, I didn’t add lodging. You should have done that by now. Second, don’t go to fucking Primanti’s. Every asshole in town will be like, “You gotta do dahn Primanti’s,” but that’s because most of these people haven’t traveled past Sea World. Primanti’s is shit. I’m embarrassed we are known for that place. Fuck it. But we have a lot of cool things going on, and this city is great, so here are a few things. Also, this is not a comprehensive list of everything. Just some stuff I think you might find fun. I’m also going to keep this concentrated on the area near the festival (Millvale, Lawrenceville, Bloomfield) and not throughout the entire city. We’d be here all day.

Also, quick note about transportation: If you’re driving, you should be able to find parking in Millvale. It might be tight, though. Your best bet is to use Lyft or Uber. Local taxi service is a joke, and the light rail doesn’t reach out to this end of town.

RECORD SHOPS:

Attic Record Store: This is a few-minute walk from Mr. Smalls, and you could spend all day in there. There are a ton of new vinyl loaded in the front and a practical library in the back of new and used vinyl. There’s a decent metal section on the display shelf in the back. Just ask. Someone in their ridiculously friendly staff will help you find it.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3k9XheBJBsq

Juke Records: This store evolved out of Soundcat Records (RIP Karl Hendricks) and is located in the Bloomfield section of Pittsburgh. Lots of indie rock, jazz, and classic rock, though you can find some metal, punk, and hardcore records amid their collection. They also have a really healthy used vinyl section.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/fSyCbAixfcw

Eide’s Entertainment: Located in the Strip District right next to downtown Pittsburgh, this four-story shop is another you could be in all day. Comics and toys on the basement and ground level floors; used records and DVDs on the second floor; new vinyl and CDs on the top level. Pretty much every time I’m there, they’re playing fucking bad blues rock, but the selection makes the torture worth it.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/qHs5DGoovao

Cruel Noise: Located in Polish Hill section of Pittsburgh, Cruel Noise has a slew of used metal, hardcore, punk, and indie rock records, as well as a decent section of new vinyl, cassettes, T-shirts, and whatnot. Almost every time I go, I find something awesome I never thought I’d find. Also, sometimes the owner’s cool dog is there. Definitely scratch the pup on the ears.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3jVB78tCzZo

Others: Get Hip Inc. (North Side), Jerry’s Records (Squirrel Hill), Dave’s Music Mine (South Side)

 

BREWERIES:

Like every city, we’ve got a lot. These are some good ones.

Grist House: One of two breweries in easy walking distance from Mr. Smalls, they have a menu of beers that are very drinkable and range between 4 and 8% ABV typically. Laid-back and cool hangout spot.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/QD3qqQdAEMU2

Strange Roots Experimental Ales: Formerly known as Drai Laag, this brewery changed their path very recently, concentrating on mostly on sour ales and interesting brewing techniques to come up with brews that are pretty different. Also, they have a nice dining menu. Short walk from Mr. Smalls.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vREmsHMdXyN2

Roundabout Brewery: Located in Lawrenceville, right across the river from Millvale, this small brewery is owned by a husband-wife team and always come up with new concoctions throughout the year. You can get a 12 oz or 16 oz pour in their taproom, and they have a limited food menu. Fun place run by people who love beermaking.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/FrC5wZD1Krt

East End Brewing Taproom: East End was up and making their craft brews long before the trend became such a huge thing. They have two locations, but this one is the closest to Mr. Smalls. You can get a pint, a growler filled, or a fleet of beers that have become local favorites.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/6D1A9v184PU2

Full Pint Wild Side Pub: Full Pint’s actual brewery is in North Versailles Twp., but this brew pub features their tremendous beers in a dark, ambient bar setting. They have some of the better beers in Pittsburgh, and if they have it on tap, definitely get the Rye Rebellion. It’s dark, tasty, and potent.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5qdjZSpyvsm

Others: Southern Tier (North Shore), Dancing Gnome (O’Hara Twp.), Arsenal Cider House and Wine Cellar(Lawrenceville), Penn Brewery (North Side)

 

RESTAURANTS:

I’ll keep these to the names and location, broken down by style of food. We like these places a lot, and maybe you will too. These are a little more spread out over the city, but Pittsburgh’s not too big of a place. Also, many of these places have bars and serve alcohol. A quick Google search will help.

 

Traditional American:

Nova Café (hoagies, hot dogs, deli sandwiches)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/meLyygq659T2

Millvale Diner (name says it all, and it’s right down the street from the venue)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/kntRFkMjGHG2

Franktuary (all kinds of hot dogs, veggies options, and beware one of the potential toppings is tarantula!)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/RCmdoLNGd852

Industry Public House (great beer selection, American-style food)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/DaW9CbTygnE2

 

Pizza:

DeMore’s Pizzeria

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/UDDHu4kjjxs

Caliente (excellent beer menu)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zQv6RDSHLAw

Driftwood Oven

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/HjcSs2HnAC72

Alida’s Woodfire Cucina

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/A939FamijY22

Spak Brothers Pizza

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xEHRQA95q5C2

 

Asian:

China House

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5wtVDEBUwgn

Zen Asian Diner

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/x1TCoEpUoTM2

China Lin

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/gigbbB1VH312

Umami (specializes in Japanese street foods)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/mhtWTQYE91B2

Feng Japanese Steakhouse

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/UdwWKeSH1Py

Ginza Japan

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/LgJjYsVoYCw

Pusadee’s Garden (Thai)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/oRJSznWhw2p

Hug Thai Restaurant

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/GPvBemU1yQw

Thai Gourmet

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/67Q5RP1VK8r

Pad Thai

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/47DkAmVi6Ut

Tram’s Kitchen (Vietnamese)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/KtqSt1cybfu

Pho Minh

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/4vGrkLob6K42

 

Italian:

Piccolo Forno

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9CXsQxeeQAB2

Senti Restaurant

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/fPh7ew4Nujv

Alida’s Woodfire Cucina

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/A939FamijY22

Sausalido

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Ab4w97Zqyq62

 

Indian:

Taste of India

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/KcEkNSGzzi52

People’s Indian Restaurant

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/45XLcGZxbQz

 

Mexican/Tex-Mex:

El Burro

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9pi7xt98y3k

Baby Loves Tacos

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3kJUzRjAhsR2

Round Corner Cantina

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/qKEcWbj6J712

Smoke BBQ Taqueria

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MULJP2KGogu

Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/8MDpY2ZX4wp

 

Mediterranean:

B52 Café (mix of American and Mediterranean with vegetarian options)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/gKtHmSKc42P2

Cure (Mediterranean with local ingredients)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/csALhSXsLjQ2

Pastitsio (Greek)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/EkoTv5ZbA5B2

 

Middle Eastern:

Salim’s Middle Eastern Food

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zGvYRVmqg6n

Khalil’s

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5RaX43KwYc42

 

Vegetarian/Vegan:

Almost all places have vegetarian options, but here are some better vegetarian/vegan stops.

Onion Maiden

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/DBhWxfiwW1U2

APTEKA

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/WPAoE1meHks

Milky Way

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/6bPf2PtqeiH2

The Zenith

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MpgNwz1kpBk

Brillobox

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MT5JydEbtLx

 

Gluten-Free:

Gluten-Free Goat Bakery and Cafe

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/A3brxWrsmK12

 

Breakfast:

Midtown Tavern

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vnUSW3ngXxt

Pamela’s (local chain … I think it’s really overrated, but tons of people disagree with me)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/56D4TY7FCQG2

Coca Café (known for breakfasts but also serve lunch and small-plate dinners)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/FkKJwsX3oDq

Geppetto Café

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/QKXkja2RsnQ2

Barb’s Corner Kitchen

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PLE9cRDfvFR2

 

Dessert:

Crazy Cones of Millvale

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/e7tSjuR7qZo

Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/tavaB1282to

Yetter’s Candy

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/2eqM48QpJsx

The Butterwood Bake Consortium

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/cLiDYuc9FGM2

La Gourmandine (French pastries and other baked goods)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ss5Cpes17Tx

Twisters Ice Cream

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PCaQGm3dV2y

Bella Christie and Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PCaQGm3dV2y

NatuRoll Creamery (ice cream made with Thai technique of rolling batter)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/L9aWdGikr4x

 

COFFEE SHOPS:

Black Forge (it’s a little out of the way from the venue, but it is THE metal coffee shop of Pittsburgh)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5FocNpHbBLF2

The Abbey (also good beer selection and is open for all meals)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/rMJcoWF9siz

Constellation Coffee

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/obfi76DmtYr

The Commonplace Coffee House

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/obfi76DmtYr

Tupelo Honey (tea)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/T9kUCD7xNhr

Espresso a Mano

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/7Xz8yFE1GSR2

Zeke’s Coffee

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/QWTEF3nQDry

Coffee Tree Roasters

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xTbBbHpMrUH2

Nicholas’ Coffee

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PqP5PEHru8y

 

ASSORTED FUN SHIT:

Millvale Riverfront Park (hiking and biking trails)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/UBnUbyiz6b32

Bloomfield Park

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MbxtruPTvmL2

Arsenal Bowling Lanes

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/jHvKDP4UFq32

Millvale Bowling Lanes

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3Kw7JNTXbc52

Lumberjaxes Axe Throwing

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/bJnp4xsruJG2