Eyehategod, Phobia, Coffin Syrup, Hooded Eagle, Falselight
Oasis Bar and Grill
Dec. 3

There was a sparse, but enthusiastic, crowd at the Oasis for Southern sludge metal band Eyehategod (EHG) and their touring mates Phobia this past Friday. EHG has been a heavy hitter in the realm of doom metal for more than 20 years, and they’ve never played Charleston, as far as anyone can remember, so it was a rare treat for them to assault our little town.

Local band Falselight went on around 9 p.m. and played a mix of down-tuned hardcore and slow breakdowns that started a small but dedicated pit. Then Hooded Eagle played their blend of Neurosis-like sludge with some black metal mixed in for good measure. To close out, the local openers Coffin Syrup went up and did their death metal set.

Phobia kicked off a little before 11 p.m., and they still have all the intensity that was there when they first started 20 years ago. This band has had a lot of lineup changes over the years, but they still played fast as hell grindcore and managed to fit at least 20 songs into a 35-minute set. Not bad, fellas.

The opening bands were all well and good but everyone was there for one reason and that was Eyehategod. Almost everyone knew what to expect out of EHG because their history is no secret.

When they took the stage, a two-minute feedback intro warmed the crowd up for a sonic and verbal melee that proved that they are the kings of Southern doom. It was a bit of a greatest hits show, if they ever had any, and anyone familiar with their discography was not disappointed. Singer Mike Williams seemd like had no idea where he was, and he challenged the crowd to “come beat the shit out of me.” There were no takers, no fights ensued, and all that was left was a mixture of sloppy vocals, tight music, and lots of enthusiasm. EHG has a lot of pent up aggression and hatred in them, but they get it out through their music, performing with such physicality to the point of hurting themselves.

These bands were not douche-y rock stars who hung out on their buses drinking champagne and avoiding the kids who came to see them. When they weren’t playing, they mingled with the crowd, telling stories and drinking. They’re people with problems, some quite severe, and they came to share them through sonic assault. They succeeded.