Under the threat of severe thunderstorms, I made my way to Turbo Haus and learned that the 8:00pm start would be delayed. One of the bands arrived late and was unloading so I reckon that was the culprit. Outside among other early birds, we waited and some light rain began to fall, no thunderstorm, though. While the weather prediction disappointed me (I love me a good storm), the bands did not and managed to create their own thunderous storm. (Not to mention if you’ve never been to Turbo Haus, they turn the volume up to 11, I don’t know how some folks can do without ear plugs in there!)
The first band up was Montréal’s AIAUASCA. This three-piece experimental/noise/doom act is pretty new on the scene. I learned from one of the guitarists that they had only been together for a year and I have a feeling they’re only going to get better. I really dug their sound, and they were pretty tight for a new act. They began with a drone sound and I was expecting a pure drone act, but got a nice throw off once they went into some heavy riffs with a crunch I just ate up. Drummer Tony is pretty brutal behind his kit and vocally, he hits as hard as he yells—fucking, eh. They alternated between drone and doom which I really enjoyed the shit out of. The only slight disappointment was learning they had no song titles yet, which struck me as odd. But hey, if that means they’re too busy honing their craft to sweat the details, I’ll take it. You can check out their demo here, which their set was mostly comprised of.
Speaking of sweat, next up was Sweat Lodge. Hailing from Austin, Texas, they lassoed me right in with their heavy rock/blues/stoner sound. And they had the look to match! They looked like the kind of cats I’d like to chill in the woods with and enjoy some of nature’s herbs. Again, a tight band, and with great energy. Vocalist Cody and bassist Shock were particularly eye-catching. I loved Cody’s vocals. He used an echo effect that could be heard when he spoke, but I found it to be a nice subtle effect complimenting his great voice. These guys were straight up groovy—playing tracks like “Banshee Call” that began slow and ended with a pulsing hit. I particularly dug how the singer would go offstage giving the rest of the band the spotlight to do their thing. This is a band to check out if you dig that (modern) vintage sound.
Finally, in the small packed walls of Turbo Haus, Sweden’s Monolord graced us with their doom/sludge presence. I didn’t even take notes during their set, because they left such an impression. I’d be hard-pressed to forget it! I first caught them at Earslaughter, Vol.1 last June, and they won my heart. You can read that review here. This time, however, bassist Mika Häkki managed to keep his strap intact from all his thrashing. He’s just a delight to watch, and I noticed this hypnotic tattoo he has on his left arm. It’s a speaker emitting waves into the mouth of a skull and that is how I felt watching them. I got to watch them only a few feet away, and that just made it that much more intense. Vocalist/guitarist Thomas V Jäger’s wonderful bellowing vocals filled the room along with his haunting riffs, and with the fan blowing his hair, he was a brutal doom angel. They didn’t break to chat with the crowd opting for occasional metal horns as a thanks which just made the music absorption much more potent. Some of the songs played were “Empress Rising,” “Cursing The One,” and “Died A Million Times”— I found his voice really shined through in that one. Drummer Esben Willems pounded his skins like he was trying to exorcise a trapped demon within them, and perhaps he was possessed himself occasionally leering from his kit out to the audience with a bone-chilling gaze. Monolord is an act I’d be able to watch once a month and never get bored, so if you’re a fan of the doom/sludge genre and can catch them just one time, don’t miss ‘em.
Written and Photographed by Angie Radczenko
*edited by Danielle Kenedy