by Robert Bell
'SLOW SOUTHERN STEEL,' HAIL!HORNET, ZOROASTER
8 p.m. Market Street Cinema. $10.
If you have even a passing interest in heavy metal and/or Southern culture and you've not yet seen "Slow Southern Steel," then you won't soon get a better opportunity than this show. The film — the work of CT (of Rwake and Iron Tongue) and David Lipke — documents the vibrant underground metal scene in the South, and features Eyehategod, Down, Deadbird, Hank Williams III, Music Hates You and many other folks discussing everything from music history to religion to perceptions of the South to the tight-knit community that's arisen around this crusty, sludgy, louder-than-hell music. CT's currently on a 17-date tour with Hail!Hornet and Zoroaster, screening the film.
As far as vibe goes, Hail!Hornet's got a real raw, nasty, bruising quality. The band is often described as a supergroup, understandably so considering the musical pedigrees involved (Sourvein, Bongzilla, Buzzov*en, Alabama Thunderpussy, Weedeater). But as good as those bands are, Hail!Hornet stands fully on its own raging, bludgeoning, misanthropic merits. The band's 2011 album, "Disperse the Curse" is 11 songs suffused with the groove inherent in a lot of Southern metal and always, always bowing at the altar of the bitchin' riff. Even the faster songs swing in a way that's unmistakable for fans of sludgy Southern metal.
Zoroaster's spacy doom metal sounds like some sort of hybrid of Pink Floyd and Pentagram, beamed in from an alternate '70s where everything was way more awesome than it was in the actual '70s. If you were going to blast off to the furthest reaches of the cosmos in a shag-carpeted space shuttle loaded with a lifetime supply of Plutonian Nyborg, Zoroaster would be the exact right soundtrack.