PICK OF THE WEEK; Horehound rip into darkest of timelines using strength, defiance on ‘Collapse’

The shadows have been brooding for much longer than before we had our lives overtaken by a virus, but that period of time has let the torment truly sink in, making some of us wonder how we got here. Social media is a poison, there remain those who let blind hatred dictate their every step, and societal chaos has opened up a lot of eyes but also multiplied the blackness in many people’s hearts.

It’s hard to find true catharsis or a way to alleviate some of the pressure building up in your own mind, but luckily that isn’t impossible to achieve. Pittsburgh doom power Horehound aren’t here to make those problems go away, but their killer third record “Collapse” can act as a friend in arms, guiding you to see the worst of humanity but also provide you the power to work your way out of that madness. The band—vocalist/synth player Shy Kennedy, guitarist Brendan Parrish, bassist Russ Johnson, drummer Dan Moore—unleash their darkest, most ferocious music of their entire run, identifying with the pain and suffering around us all but also standing defiant against those forces. They also will be appearing on the second night of the fourth Descendants of Crom fest, which finally returns after a very understandable two-year layoff back to Cattivo in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh Friday and Saturday. The full lineup, set times, and ticket info is at the bottom. DoC always is a good time with a wide variety of bands that offers something for every heavy music fan no matter where your preferences lie.

“Hiraeth” kicks off with heavy blows landed, going into darkness as Kennedy’s vocals come in deeper, and sultrier than ever before. The guitars snake and snarl as growls rip into the flesh, Kennedy wailing, “There is really nothing left, everything (has) been said, everything (has) been done,” as the sludge increases. Psyche-washed guitars bubble as everything builds into a fog and comes to a pummeling end. “Godful” is a beast, foreboding and stalking, Kennedy slicing, “Our lies are worse than our very own doom, you might consider just returning to the womb,” before barking, “Run! Get out!” The track turns grisly and balmy, showing off some of the heaviest stuff this band ever has conjured, continuing to increase the pressure before finally showing some mercy. “Sword on Fire” arrives amid galloping guitars and doomy steam, Kennedy’s growls hissing with venom. The punishment increases as time goes on, the guitars numb your brain as you melt down inside, and then the pace speeds ahead as it blares and bleeds to a fiery finish.

“The Agent” comes to life with the bass playing buzzing, the drums kicking in, and Kennedy smoothly leveling with, “You want to pretend that you are not going to die, but we’re all going to die.” The song eventually gets chunkier and heavier as ominous clouds hang overheard, threatening your safety. “The Rebirth” emerges with thick synth work and the tempo slowly dripping, bringing solemnity before the ground begins to rumble. Punches land as Kennedy jabs, “We live, we live, we destroy everything,” as her shrieks do damage to your mental well-being, the tempo pounding away. The guitars cut and curve, creating unexpected paths, and then the fire bleeds into static and the final gust of synth. Closer “Dying Gaia” brings portentous riffs and growls that wrestle with clean singing for supremacy. “Be! Don’t be! You’re going to die, is it today?” Kennedy teases before she cries, “Die!” with full throat. The bass continues to crumble the earth as the playing begins its slow ascent into the stars, final psyche lightning bolts landing and burning their mark into the earth.

This is Horehound’s darkest hour, which only makes sense since we’re still basking in the oppressive shadows of pestilence and death, and our psyches are forever shaken. “Collapse” is a document of its time, the punchiest and most volatile record this band has created to date, almost as if they’ve chosen to take on their darkest sides in order to survive. The record will claw your heart and torch you mind, and you’ll go along willingly to try to shake free from demons that have become far too resilient.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/horehoundband

To buy the album, go here: https://horehound.bandcamp.com/

Descendants of Crom lineup:

Friday

Makeshift Urn 7:45 PM
Pillars 8:30 PM
Heavy Temple 9:15 PM
Howling Giant 10:00 PM
Ironflame 10:45 PM

Saturday

We, the Creature 4:45 PM
Quiet Man 5:20 PM
Tel 5:55 PM
The Long Hunt 6:30 PM
Witching 7:05 PM
Foehammer 7:40 PM
Horehound 8:15 PM
Rebreather 8: 50PM
Bridesmaid 9:25 PM
Horseburner 10:00 PM
Orodruin 10:45 PM

To get tickets, go here: https://checkout.eventcreate.com/dociv/select-buy

For more on the fest, go here: https://blackseedservices.com/DOC-IV/

For more on the venue, go here: https://cattivopgh.com/