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Foehammer wants to make metal sound more like magma

The Foehammer story begins slowly, then will get even slower.

All of it begins within the autumn of 2013 with the DMV steel band’s founder, Jay Cardinell, casually assembling some mates to play Black Sabbath covers for kicks, till, over time, their efforts begin to really feel vaguely bandlike. “I had needed to do one thing heavy for a very long time, however as a lot as we worship on the altar of Sabbath — as all people ought to — I didn’t need to do blues-based, doom rock,” Cardinell says. “There’s loads of that. I needed to do one thing somewhat extra avant, heavier, extra bleak, actually funereal. One thing that gave the impression of molasses or magma.”

Named after a sword in “The Lord of the Rings,” Foehammer ultimately dropped its debut album, “Second Sight,” in 2018, and after some lineup shuffling, its follow-up, “Monumentum,” materialized final month. Now, as a duo, the band one way or the other sounds extra colossal and extreme than ever, with drummer Ben Worth setting the tempos as if pushing boulders whereas Cardinell makes use of an arsenal of pedals and amps to broaden the roar of his guitar into one thing large and molten.

“I don’t actually attempt to write riffs,” he says. “They simply come to me as they’re. If I strive too laborious, I’m doing it incorrect. [John] Coltrane at all times mentioned he was channeling one thing, and [J.R.R.] Tolkien, as properly — he mentioned he was accessing one thing that was already there. He simply needed to change his way of thinking to get there.”

Over the course of the pandemic, Cardinell has provide you with almost 100 riffs which can be nonetheless “ready to be assembled,” however for now, his precedence is getting Foehammer again onto levels the place he and Worth can invite audiences to step into that thoughts body with them. It isn’t at all times straightforward. “Even when the music feels sinking or suffocating, there’s nonetheless a positive line between boring and entrancing,” Cardinell says. “One particular person can say ‘Wow, that was soul-changing,’ and one other particular person will get bored after two minutes and begins enjoying Sweet Crush.”

Meaning the measured, years-long labor of this band is no less than twofold. First, it’s important to provide you with songs that really feel so sluggish, so heavy, so paralyzing, they really feel like they’re obeying some alien gravity. Then it’s important to get them in entrance of earthbound souls who need to get modified.

“For me, it doesn’t matter if it’s [an audience of] 5 individuals or 50 individuals,” Cardinell says. “It’s the identical feeling: to have your pants shaking from the amp’s quantity … and to look out and see individuals in rapt consideration, not due to my stage presence, however as a result of they’re captivated by the music. There’s nothing extra gratifying than that. And I’m completely happy to chase it, 5 individuals at a time.”

Dec. 9 at 9 p.m. at Slash Run, 201 Upshur St. NW. $10.

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