It’s not often that I get to write about bands from my home state, so when the chance arose, I sprang into action. It’s not that Virginia is short on heavy bands, considering that Old Dominion is home to Lamb of God, Municipal Waste, and Pig Destroyer, to name a few. What’s more is that I get to discuss two of the rising stars in their (notably different) scenes. Doomsters Windhand and psych-tinged garage rock act Satan’s Satyrs released a split LP, with each band getting around equal playtime on the record. While these styles are somewhat disparate, the love of fuzzy riffs is the great uniter and this is actually one of the things that tie this collection of songs together. Let’s talk about some tracks!
SIDE A – WINDHAND
If you have been paying attention to the doom metal scene over the last few years, this probably isn’t your first encounter with Windhand. Since 2010, Dorthia Cottrell and company have been producing some of the finest dirges from the Eastern US. This split kicks off with the psychedelic “Old Evil” that runs for just over six minutes. It’s a haunting track that is built on slow riffs, wailing vocals and impressive drum work. It quickly became one of my favorite tracks by the band. Check out the video.
The second and final song from Windhand is the more traditionally structured piece, “Three Sisters.” This is one is over twice as long as the opener, trading in the waste-no-time approach of “Old Evil” with more spacious riffs that let the doom seep into the listener’s pores. The vocal approach leans even harder into psych rock territory and to great effect. While not necessarily as accessible as preceding tracks, “Three Sisters” is a swell track that will make any fans of this band pleased as punch.
SIDE B – Satan’s Satyrs
As is often the case with splits, the second side shifts gears when the second band takes the stage. Satan’s Satyrs are not nearly as patient as their split-mates here and go for the throat from the start of their first track, “Alucard AD 2018”, which is a new take on their song from a previous record. It’s dirty, loose, and a lot of fun. If you’re a fan of the garage rock sound, you’re in luck. While this isn’t my favorite style of music, I appreciate how well the balance is struck. The second track on this side is “Succubus”, which uses the same formula but with a bigger focus on melody, riffs, and a sweet bluesy solo to boot. It’s my favorite of the three tracks by this band.
Where the second side loses me a bit is the Satyrs’ take on Link Wray’s “Ain’t That Lovin’ You, Baby.” While the formula doesn’t really change from what the band had done on the previous songs, the execution just seems artificially intensified with more attitude than was really needed to make this work. Now this is more than likely a matter of taste, and I’m sure many people will find it to their liking. It’s a fuzzy, solo-heavy rock and roll song, and I can’t criticize it for that. However, it pales in comparison to the other two tracks which are refreshing and fun.
So coming to a conclusion on a split can be difficult. Most of the time these are leftover tracks or two EP’s by different bands that join forces. In the case of this album, however, I think there is a strong sonic element that ties them together in the ‘two sides of the same coin’ way of thinking. Both bands love feedback, fuzz, and acidic tendencies in their sound. Both Windhand and Satan’s Satyrs have strong showings, the latter only faltering a little in the final song. Aside from this quibble, I found the record very satisfying and without a doubt one that will get many more spins on my turntable throughout the year.
Notable Tracks: “Old Evil”; “Succubus”; “Three Sister”
FFO: Elder, Conan, Alucarda
You can snag your own copy of the split over at Bandcamp in both digital and physical formats. Also, be sure to follow both Windhand and Satan’s Satyrs on Facebook for more about their music, tours, and info!