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Windhand crowd bewitched by heavy metal

Windhand plays to a full house at the Larimer Lounge

On Oct. 23 at the Larimer Lounge, the doom metal band Windhand greeted a welcoming, accepting crowd gathered for the sole purpose of basking in the occult riffs and baselines.

Following the release of their fourth studio album, Eternal Return, the band from Richmond, Virginia has been on tour across the US. The band intended the album to encapsulate the ebb and flow of life. They pulled on the audience’s heart strings in much the same way throughout the night. Despite their obvious identification as a metal band, Windhand claims influences from grunge bands, such as Nirvana and Soundgarden.

A large doe skull, flaming demons, and the haze from a most unusual incense adorned the venue. Windhand carefully placed incense on the wall of amplifiers behind them as the white intermission lights faded to a deep purple. The tension felt palpable in a room filled with bleached denim and back patches.

A wave of sound ignited joints as smoke engulfed the crowd. The entirety of the band finally emerged from behind the wall of speakers. In the intimacy of the Larimer Lounge set-up, 60’s b-movie demonic laughter echoed from the speakers behind the band as they positioned themselves strategically. The first strokes of the bass vibrated the lights and wall hangings with every note that bassist Parker Chandler summoned into the room.

“Forrest Clouds” set the theme of the night, an overcast layer of a pure doom metal. This masterpiece threw the crowd into a gust of down-tuned, slow melodies. Throughout the night, Windhand dipped into their earlier discography; and, as they did, everyone regardless of any existing knowledge of the band, danced as if a they were stripped naked, consumed by the trances in a witch’s Sabbath. From a belly-dancing metal-head in the far back corner, swaying to the bass lines, to the juiced-out dude-bro in the middle of the room who fist pumped in time with his respectful thrashing, all were engrossed by the dark beauty that emitted from those towering amps.

Dorthia Cottrell and Garrett Morris Rock hard. Photo credit: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

A sea of bowing heads all swayed to the lyrics as “Old Evil” swirled around the room like the fog that crept overhead against the low-bearing black ceiling. Upon the effortless transition into “Diablerie,” the faces of Chandler and guitarist Garrett Morris disappeared underneath the violently oscillating veils of their long, battering hair.

Every guitar solo felt like it should have been the background music to a gaudy, cult vampire film. The moment “Two Urns” rose from the dead instruments, it was obvious the majority of the crowd was familiar with the dark hymn-like chants emanating from Dorthia Cottrell.

Strategically timed emissions from the fog machine and the haunting perfume of the incense seeping into every inch of the room encased the crowd and their shadowlike overlords on stage. All were engulfed in the moment of dark revelry before and during their well-earned encore. By the end, ears were enchanted  and gleefully sore as they slowly left the show in the light of a full harvest moon.

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