Half a decade ago, in Rochester, N.Y., four musically inclined gentlemen shared a fondness for the good old days of traditional, old-school goddamned fucking metal. They liked it filthy black, tightly clenched, catastrophic. Forming Crucifist, they took on a profane mission to spread their disease to others, disgorging lethal venom in eager faces, walloping ears with hammers from hell.
"The idea when we originally started was: Two guys in a doom band wanted to do something heavier, and they asked me to sing for it," explains Ron "The Rondertaker" Blackwell. The "guys" were John Gallo and Mike Waske, respectively guitarist and drummer for Orodruin. They wanted to create something that would evoke early '80s death/black metal, "just before black and death went their separate ways," Blackwell says.
Imagine the spewing of young Regan from The Exorcist as a sound, and the racket generated would probably sound a lot like Blackwell -- except he's less man possessed than beast sending demons fearfully scurrying back to the Ninth Circle, pointed tails tucked between spindly legs. The cornerstone of destruction was set with bassist Dan Lilker, coming to the ensemble with Nuclear Assault, Anthrax, Stormtroopers of Death, Hemlock and Brutal Truth in his credits.
Now, having washed the brains of the devout in a contaminating muck never to be cleansed, the four have placated the faithful and converted the skeptical with Demon Haunted World, their 2009 debut album on Profound Lore. Even so, nothing can compare with real life. "It's best to experience it live," says Blackwell. "That's what it's all about."
Not only is Crucifist too much metal for one hand, it's also too much metal for just one show. Rather than swooping in for a one-night stand, the band honors Pittsburgh with two. "We've played at the Smiling Moose before and it was a total blast, so we're looking forward to coming back," Blackwell says; the band plays there Thu., Jan. 7, with Scorched and Mahanaga. The following eve, Crucifist is joined by Crown the Lost, Argus and While Heaven Wept, at the 31st Street Pub.
Crucifist with Scorched and Mahanaga. 7 p.m. Thu., Jan. 7. Smiling Moose, 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. $5. 412-431-4668 or www.smiling-moose.com
Crucifist with Crown the Lost, Argus and While Heaven Wept 10 p.m. Fri., Jan. 8. 31st Street Pub, 3101 Penn Ave., Strip District. $5. 412-391-8334 or www.31stpub.com