SEATTLE DOOMFEST 2010
August 1, 2010 at Magnusson Park
Review by Earthdog
(Just a brief word before I let Brother Dog take over. No matter what type of music scene you're into, you better hope it has a guy like our man Earthdog to promote it. The Seattle Doomfest is just one example of the tireless and often thankless work he pours into the beloved Doom Metal scene. I can honestly say nobody does more for their scene than Earthdog. It may seem strange for a guy to review his own festival, but take it from me, this man's honesty knows no bounds. If a band sucks, he's gonna tell you so, but as politely as possible. The fact that the bands at Doomfest were so good is more of a tribute to his impeccable taste than to any form of self-promotion. I am very glad indeed that Wormwood has a good working relationship with Mr. Dog. And now, doom on....Dr. Abner Mality)
They came, they saw and doom and sludge ruled the park for 8 hours. The first annual Seattle Doom Festival was a success no matter which way you look at it. If you examine the history of other successful annual festivals around the world, nearly all of them started small and grew into the monster events they now are, Holland's Roadburn being a classic example. The Seattle Doom Festival was the idea of Nickle Pierce from Studs And Spikes who put up the cash to stage this event and to his credit, made it free admission for all. The Festival was also sponsored by Georgetown Music Store, the Doom Metal Alliance and Foundry Of Doom Radio. It was a special day for Doom Metal in Seattle... it's very rare when you get some much Doom and Sludge Metal all in one place at one time and for the first time in a long time, Seattle seemed alive to the low rumble of ear shattering bass sounds and crushing riffs. I was proud to a be a part of it and for those who missed out, there is always next year and you won't want to miss out on this again. The festival has the potential to grow into one of America's most important "heavy" music events. The weather was perfect, the set-up went smoothly and according to plan and the scene was set for a historic day for Doom Metal so on with the show......
First band to assault the ear-drums was Portland, Oregan's doom titans Doomsower and they meant business when they hit the stage around noon. Combining traditional doom sounds and a old school approach to horror and occult/pagan driven Doom Metal, Doomsower were the perfect opening act. They were actually too good to be an opener but were the ideal ingredient needed to get people in the right mood for loud and extremely heavy Doom Metal. They were also vital in creating the vibes required for the day, the buzz was already circulating the crowd as I wandered around and Doomsower certainty picked up some new fans with their performance. Justin's guitar was a gruesome beast and Kalvin on drums delivered pounding and crashing support to the gargantuan riffs that moved from extra slow to even slower to mid-tempo chugging sections. As with these festivals, their set was over all too quick and I know from talking to a few folks out in the audience they were mighty impressed with what Doomsower gave them.
Next up with the explosive, unrelenting riff fest which is Into The Storm. The band gave a powerhouse performance of mid to fast tempo Sludge tunes. Being the diverse band that they are, the set moved from Fugazi styled post metal to a Neurosis direction at times but they did it all so effortlessly, it was exciting to watch. Into The Storm are a band who will be a major influence on others in the years to come.
Next to hit the stage was H.C Minds and now they are DOOM, the dual vocal approach of Isamu(guitar) and Paula(bass) blew away the crowd with their sonic dirges of crusty, swampy Doom Metal. Isamu, wearing a Church Of Misery shirt , showed what Doom is and how its meant to be played and that is slow, heavy as hell but with an attitude of gloomy hate. Not that the band hates anyone but Doom Metal is all about that inner demon that sometimes controls us all and that type of message shined through in their performance which was nothing short of spectacular. I made sure I snagged a H.C Minds shirt after their set and I highly recommend you purchase their merchandise, they are a excellent band.
H.C MINDS PHOTO BY JOHN LEACH
Next up was the most unique set of the day, the one man Doom/Drone/Experimental band known as Fuck Knuckles. This crazy British man flew all the way over the pond to play the festival for free and if that isn't cool then I don't know what is. With a name like Fuck Knuckles everyone knew that they were in for something different. One man, one guitar, amp and an effects rack and a 40 minutes of what seemed like an improvised droning doom jam. Psychedelic and industrial in parts but very doomy for its duration, this dude had some members of the audience wondering what was going on up on that stage but at the end of it, he was greeted by nothing less than pure admiration for an enthralling piece of atmospheric music.
By this stage in the proceedings we all needed a break and nothing better that watching a bunch of freaks know as Noel Austin's Circus doing insane stuff on stage which included a bed of nails, finger smashing and other things that no one in their right mind should try at home. It was a entertaining break in the show and I hope to see them again very soon.
ONE OF THOSE FREAKS IN ACTION
Now it was time to get back to what we were here for and that is kick ass music and there is none more finer than Roareth at the moment. Roareth provided the loudest set of the day...so loud in fact that during their set I needed one of many porta-potty breaks and the damn thing was shaking to the low-end crunch of the band. The sound they had was huge, thick and loud enough to melt your face. Playing tracks from their new album which is essential listening for everyone, Roareth played a flawless set of tunes that was pulverizing and sonically intense beyond belief. Roareth are one of the bands that deserves to be huge in the underground and judging by their incredible set at the Seattle Doomfest, it's only a matter of time before people wake up to how exceptionally great they truly are.
PAM AND BEN FROM ROARETH - PHOTO BY JOHN LEACH
Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth hit the stage next, led by Tad Doyle. They gave the crowd an entertaining set of Metal, Sludge and good old fashioned Hard Rock. Not only was their set full of ear-catching tunes but the warm and friendly vibe the band gives off is rare these days. Their set had a mishap with a bass speaker taking a tumble but Tad filled the void with his usual, charismatic style telling a joke that only Washington State people would understand so I won't re-tell it here. Again ,this is another band ready to make waves in the underground if they haven't done so already. Great band and a tight set of tunes by them.
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH - PHOTO BY GEOFFREY GRIBBIN
Next was California's metal gods, Crowned By Fire and they also gave the entire crowd a flawless set. Metal doesn't get more classic than this... they supply everything a metal fan could want. Infectious riffs, blistering guitar solos and a charismatic front-man in John Fitterer. They delivered songs from the new "Prone To Destroy" album along with a couple of surprise tunes which I don't think I have heard them do before. Crowned By Fire are essential Heavy Metal that crosses over everything that is great in metal, from Traditional HM sounds to Doom to Sludge to classic Hard Rock. Even though by this stage in the day, some faces were looking a little tired, Crowned By Fire was the perfect medicine to get people up and rocking once again. I love this band and seeing them live was a magical experience.
CROWNED BY FIRE - PHOTO BY GEOFFREY GRIBBIN
Time for headliners Witchburn to take the stage and they ruled Seattle for the duration of their tight but all too short set. Without a doubt ,the best female-fronted band in Washington State and maybe even the world, Witchburn gave a mesmerizing performance. Especially striking was the vocal delivery of Jamie Nova which was full of emotion, energy and raw power. This girl can really belt out a tune and has a vocal range that is second to none in the USA right now. The rest of the band was equally impressive. Guitarists Mischa and Jacy are immaculate musicians and both have thick and rich guitar sounds and of course its backed up by the stunning Jessica on bass and the powerful perfectionism of Dana Sims on drums. Witchburn had the audience in the palm of their hands and could do no wrong. A breath-taking set from Witchburn and then event was over and a eerie calm came over the Magnuson Park field.
WITCHBURN - PHOTO BY GEOFFERY GRIBBIN
This was the first in what I hope will be many Doom Festivals in Seattle. Next year and beyond, it can only get better and bigger. I must thank Nickle Pierce who funded the event, you are a true hero and I must also thank all the bands that played. All of you were awesome and I can't wait to do it all again. Thanks to John Leach and Geoffrey Gribbin for supplying me with the great photos.
CONCERT REVIEWS >