THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Locally based promoter with statewide influence Endoxa Booking
specializes in heavy shows, and the latest turned the stage into an altar to the almighty riff
in a doom-dominated, next-wave bill (Aug. 22, Will’s Pub). At the top of the marquee was Monolord,
another canal dredger from Riding Easy Records,
an under-sung boutique label loaded with neo-vintage heavy-rock bands that got on our radar permanently last summer
after they paraded quality acts like Slow Season, Electric Citizen
and Mondo Drag
on a label tour.
This was Monolord’s first headlining tour
of North America and they came with conquering intent, packing the most distilled and funneled grooves of the night. Live, their merge of heavy doom and fat-ass fuzz plays like a groaning mammoth
set to meter, with an advance purposefully distilled for pure power and massive dynamics. This crush is for real.
Before them, Fresno’s Beastmaker
laid down retro doom dripping in macabre ‘70s imagery and bearing enough references to the occult to sate a legion of dark nerds.
Of course, that means there was lots of pulpy drama. But, luckily, there was enough heft and conviction to make it all legit.
Austin opener Sweat Lodge
stood apart and impressed. They, too, are on another exceptional small label, Brutal Panda Records
(one of the better curated heavy music labels home to beasts like Whores, Fight Amp, Cherubs, Helms Alee
). They’re the only non-doom band on the tour, with a proto-metal sound and a name that perfectly signals their evocative ambition.
Live, their psychotropic deep dive
is a sensory warp of thick echoes, other-side howls and overdriven electricity. And if that nod to the Native American spirit of primordiality wasn’t explicit enough for you, the image of bassist Austin Shockley (who’s also in notable band Warm Soda
) rocking the raven braids shirtless will no doubt send it home.
All together, it’s the soundtrack to a hard-rock vision quest conjured by skilled sonic shamans.
This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.
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