A 90 degree summer night doesn’t seem like an ideal setting for a doom metal show, but that was not a concern on July 2nd at Black Circle Brewing Co. The almighty Conan had returned to Indianapolis with Witchkiss as support and Drude representing our fair city. It was a night of power trios each dispensing the riff with a sizable crowd as witnesses to their individual methods. The sun was shining outside but inside the venue’s walls, a dark stage was set.
All photos presented here were taken by Lindley King.
You don’t need me to tell you that Drude kicked ass. The band features some of the best musicianship in the Indy metal scene and tonight was surely no exception. The prog sludge group rode through a slew of extended instrumental segments and fluctuating dynamics, hiding machine-like efficiency behind loose buildups. The time is about ripe for them to release their second album and part of me wonders if they could ever pull off a Pelican-style instrumental effort. I’m pretty sure they could.
Having been blown away by New York’s Witchkiss at the last Doomed & Stoned Festival, I may have been as excited to see them again as I was for Conan. While their performance didn’t instantly manifest the raging thunderstorm I hoped for, they still brought some atmosphere. Their musicianship is more minimalist than Drude, driven more by pounding beats and vocal interplay than outright showmanship. I must admit that the band seemed to spend most of the first song finding their footing and the guitars stayed pretty muddy throughout their set, but it was mostly smooth sailing.
Conan is best known for their sheer riff power but I found myself paying the most attention to the drums during their set. With the mountains of fuzz exerted by the guitar and bass seemingly seeping into the very air itself, the drums play the most active role in shaping the tempos and structures at play. The vocals are also considerably important as the sparse shouts do much to drive the course of battle.
The band’s set flowed through differing tempos and individual tracks were distinct yet free-flowing, mostly drawing from 2018’s Existential Void Guardian and 2014’s Blood Eagle (My personal favorite). Their sound is designed to be felt as it pummels you into submission. If the sporadic pits were anything to go by, I’d say people were feeling it.