Out from puritanical New England, Rhode Island’s doom metal Pilgrim is on tour with Philadelphia’s hard psych group Heavy Temple. Their first stop was in Heavy Temple’s own hometown, along with support from local destroyers Moons and Heavy Coughin. It was an undeniably great lineup.
Up to bat first was local new act Moons, who I had seen before opening for Electric Citizen. I’m not sure if they had an objectively better performance or I was in a better mood this time around, but damn they kicked ass. The power trio didn’t copy any one band’s style, but the influence from all the stoner metal greats was clear. The groovy and doomy riffs and melodic, elongated vocals was a winning formula for sure. A number of people in the audience were headbanging. I’d say their demo on Bandcamp does not represent them too well as a band today. They’ve definitely exceed it at this point. I really want to see them again!
Two piece hard-hitters Heavy Coughin were next. Their menacing, bong water-induced grooves were intriguing for sure. They had a spit-in-your-face punk approach to stoner metal that clicked with me really well. I’m not usually a fan of harsh vocals, but if there’s some badass instrumentals under them, I’m a happy camper. They further proved that all you really need is bass and drums for a kick-ass sound. Heavy Coughin is now officially on my radar as well.
The Philly-local, and currently touring visceral trio Heavy Temple played penultimate. This set was their album release show for their new EP, Chassit (which is great by the way). They performed the whole EP, so I’ll try not to repeat myself here. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi to the band’s sound, themes, and stage presence. They’re spiritual yet crushing, dignified but sludgy, feminine and mighty. The last track on their EP, the frenzied “In the Court of the Bastard King” continues to shine live and really get the audience going. This is another group that I always look forward to seeing live.
By the time Pilgrim took the stage, a lot of awesome music was played. That definitely put them at a disadvantage. Overall, I like Pilgrim’s sound. They have some epic riffs and a dark atmosphere. “Masters Chamber” in particular oozes the greatness that doom metal has to offer and was a killer live. Though in comparison to the previous bands, I was not as enthused by Pilgrim. They sometimes lean on the Windhand side of stoner/doom metal with meandering guitars and indistinct melodies. Don’t get me wrong, they played well and I enjoyed their set, but I’m more of a fan of stoner bands with gargantuan, tidal wave riffs like Monolord.
This was definitely one of the most enjoyable concerts I’ve attended in a while. The variety yet continuity in the bands was on point. Doom metal is alive and well in Philly!