Windhand and Satan’s Satyrs, the infamous Virginia doom squad, rolled through Montreal and left a cloud of doom smoke in their doom tracks. This is essentially how it went down; everybody paid for their ticket, made their way to the show, coat checked their coats (and vests), grabbed some drinks, bought some merch, dug their own graves, and let two of Virginia’s finest absolutely bury them alive. With a Satan’s Satyrs and Windhand split release fresh out of the oven, and an even fresher chart-topping Windhand LP recently released, the doom juices were definitely oozing.
Le Belmont is a cool joint that could squeeze approximately two hundred people in its belly. With everyone packed together so tight and close to the band, there was no escaping the deafening wall of sound that towered over the musicians behind the stage. Cabs were stacked, heads were smoking, and ears were bleeding. Satan’s Satyrs strutted up onto the stage with their vintage mojo-swagger and faced a tough task at hand: shake up a room of Montrealers at 9pm on a time-change Sunday. But, I’ll be damned, those boys did a fine job of melting that layer of frost off. Rocking some heavy Stones-meet-Ramones rock, the job was cheap and dirty. With the dueling guitar of Jarrett Nettnin and Nate Towle finger-blasting your ears, and sporadic bassmann-frontman Clayton Burgess cockwalking around, we were more than occupied with their presence on stage. To get a taste of this juice, check out “Alucard AD 2018”, a track from the Windhand split that they played at the show. I got to write a few words on that split too, so check it out here. Quick and to the point and rough around the edges, Satan’ Satyrs did the dirty work and got the night rolling. Next stop: doom.
People often ask, “What is doom?” Doom is just doom. You know it when you feel it, you know it when you see it, you know it when you hear it, and you know it when you go deaf and can’t hear it anymore. Holy Christ was Windhand loud. There was no escape, either. Even with earplugs, all you could hear was the sound of your internal organs exploding. Windhand’s sound is like a sledgehammer that keeps being brought down right onto your fucking existence. Any movements made are barely your own, they are simply reflexes that your body has to the sound. They opened the set with a song off their half of the split, “Old Evil.” From that moment on, they had everyone pinned down. Their set was relentless, also pulling heavily from the new LP Eternal Return.
It was a form of heavy meditation. Repetition, like a mantra, gets you to buckle down your thoughts and go for a swim. Picture this dip as one into a misty lake deep in the mountains. Vocalist Dorthia Cottrell’s vocals rang beautifully and violently over the shapeless guitar and bass drones like a doom siren. She is just as powerful live as on recordings, which is tough considering how thunderous those amps were.
It was impressive to realize just how captivating their music is. Although musically there was never anything too complex or fast going on, the pace with which they brought down that sledgehammer snapped us into a trance for sure. I’m sure it was hypnosis because they ended up selling a bunch of merch after the show. Mind control. Well played, Windhand.
It doesn’t happen often that two bands from the same place really team up to bring such destruction. Satan’s Satyrs and Windhand make a mean pair. Sink your teeth into their split, and follow each band’s respective paths from there. It’s wicked to be able to walk into a small venue like Le Belmont and catch such impressive vibes. Keep your eyes and ears peeled, folks.
Written by Ben Cornel
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Kate Erickson