We were transported to an ethereal world when Windhand and Cough stormed through The Corner Hotel

It was an evening of bands sharing members, with Cough at the centre of the web. The first of three bands from Virginia, Sinister Haze opened the night, taking to the stage on short notice after Melbourne's Inverloch had to pull out due to a medical emergency. Sinister Haze features two members of co-headliners Cough, guitarist Brandon Marcey and live organist JK. Sinister Haze presented a front of stoner metal backed by misanthropic and occult lyrics, and did well to set the scene for the evening to come.
Melbourne stoner metallers Merchant represented the local scene. Merchant were about as stoner metal as you can get, with their guitarist sporting waist-length dreds and a flying-V Gibson guitar. Their set had the effect of melting together into one piece; given that there wasn't much progression of musical ideas and that there was a sameness to the vocal output throughout. This may sound like a harsh critique, however, in honesty it wasn’t deleterious to the performance, as the effect was equally hypnotic, leaving the listener spellbound.
Though cut from the same cloth as the rest of the evening's acts, Cough differentiated themselves with the twin vocals of bassist Parker Chandler and guitarist David Cisco. While Chandler took the lead with his harsh vocals mysteriously emanating from a nest of hair, Cisco's clean vocals added a distinct charm and created a sense of diversity. While Merchant were obviously skilled musicians, Cough still set themselves apart with the musical professionalism of a band that has been touring for over a decade.
Windhand – also from Richmond, Virginia, and also shared members with Cough – Parker Chandler took bass duties for both bands. However, they were the most unique offering of the evening. The main reason for Windhand's distinction was the vocals of Dorthia Cottrell. A sort of monotonous cry filtered through layers of reverb, Cottrell's vocals dominated the stage, adding a feeling of ritualism to Windhand's performance. The sound Windhand presented would’ve been well-suited to a fog-bound forest or the swamps of the southeastern United States, and they successfully drew the listeners into that ethereal world.
Words by Sam Gaffney
Image by Sally Townsend
Highlight: Woodbine by Windhand.
Lowlight: There was a slight sameness to the earlier performances.
Crowd Favourite: By the smell of the mosh, the crowd favourite was probably cannabis.