All genres are prone to eventual speciation, or to specific fractures within a general style that lead to new subgenres, niches and stylistic cliques. From indie rock's various splinter cells to rap's variegated "real hip-hop" factions, the evolutionary lines are often traceable if subtle, with the dividing characteristics sometimes as specific as a beat, an album or an era.
Rhode Island's Pilgrim and Seattle's Samothrace, then, are both doom metal acts, meaning they make slow, viscous and paradoxically beautiful/brutal music built by big riffs and lumbering rhythms and projected by stacks of amplifiers so big that they often overshadow the musicians playing them. But the young Pilgrim plays old-school doom, where the almost midtempo momentum pushes the song from start to finish without too many interruptions or abstractions. Last year's Misery Wizard bowed to Candlemass, exalted kings and legends, and described great tales of adventure—grandiose heavy metal of yore, staggering ahead in a thick Thorazine haze. Samothrace, however, takes extreme liberties with the vestiges of doom, dropping the vocals into a subterranean death rattle, shifting between extended passes of quiet and calamity like a post-rock act and treating a riff like an origin rather than an endpoint. On last year's two-track, 35-minute LP Reverence to Stone, Samothrace inched closer toward the abyss of funeral doom, a heavy metal subdivision so suffocating that hell itself seems near. Demon Eye opens. —Grayson Currin