On a rainy Monday night I decided to drag my ass out of my house and venture across Aurora for Metal Mondays at the 2 Bit Saloon. As we’ve written before is a really cool hole in the wall pit stop for any adventurous metal head looking for some brutal music, friendly service and delicious alcohol. This particular night, Kansas black metal act Stonehaven was headlining and I wasn’t going to miss it.
Before Stonehaven took the stage there was VX36 and Sedna. VX36 was a two man band that played some noise drop tuned trashy death metal with a surprising amount of low end for being a two-piece. Sedna was an interesting case. Blackened doom is always something I’m excited about so I paid close attention. Skinny lead singer who wears bullets and prefers not to face the audience, check. Retro looking female guitarist, check. Drummer with a cool mustache, check. Ravenous black metal screams, check. Doomy-drone riffing, check. Not half bad. Strangely enough there is an Italian band by the same name that also seems to play blackened sludge.
Sadly, a good portion of the crowd had gone home to their bottles and blankeys by the time these midwestern black metal behemoths took the stage. No matter. The assault was relentless. The band is ominously in line with our recent coverage of black metal acts that subscribe to the school of Ukranian legends Drudkh, one that evokes old world epicness and strives for dignified hypnotism in a genre often known for its sometimes laughable theatrics. That being said, the band wearing full wolf furs was pretty theatrical but definitely fucking sweet in the context of their relentless ass-kicking on stage. The vocals of Stephen Holdeman are very much in the vein of Walknut, alternating black metal rasps and distant agonizing screams. The guitar work is complemented by precise drumming that doesn’t lose any fury in the face of songs that all reach about the 8 min mark. 2010′s full-length “Of Oak and Iron” saw a band that was juggling some viking themes in its early stages of existence. The lads have made their 2011 demo available for free on Bandcamp and seem to be showing a considerable amount of growth. Enough with my babbling. I present ye solemn masses with the live incantations of “Of White-Fall and Frozen Walls”, a howling ode that makes me want to set out on the icy cold seas in search of plunder. And yes, that mic stand is actually just a spear. Horns up.