June 18 • Mayday

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Now and presumably forever, California has a lock on being America's most important site for Metal, what with it being the birth state of Metallica, Slayer, Guns N' Roses, Faith No More, Tool and heaps of other bands. But that doesn't mean places like Richmond, Va., can't quietly take aim at seizing that throne.

At this point, the city houses the goofy GWAR, the thrashy Municipal Waste and Grindcore outfit Pig Destroyer, plus upstarts like Doom Metal five-piece Windhand, a group of Richmond transplants who turned the corner from being a bunch of musicians hanging out to a real band in 2009 when they recruited vocalist Dorthia Cottrell through a Craigslist post.

Although it is still a very nascent project (the group just conducted one of its first interviews late last month), Windhand has a good shot at becoming a big name in its niche, since top-notch Metal label Relapse already signed the band in March.

Remarkably, guitarist Garrett Morris says the pronounced use of purple, black and white in his group's visual art (as seen on the cover of 2011 debut record, Windhand) takes no inspiration from Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, though Windhand's sound definitely nods to Ozzy and crew. Windhand savors weightiness in both its low-end sonic lurch and song lengths; its self-titled debut unravels just five songs over 42 minutes, and the forthcoming Soma will only have six tracks but still clocks in as a double LP.

WINDHAND plays Tuesday, June 18 with Grey Host at Mayday in Northside.

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