Occasionally a band drifts up from the gurgling, thriving underground metal circuit and catches the ear of those who curate the greater musical zeitgeist. The most recent example of this somewhat unpredictable phenomena: Richmond, Va., doom-metal quintet Windhand. Praise of the band’s second full-length, Soma, has been almost universal. Stretching six tracks over a 75-minute run time, Soma isn’t calibrated for ease of consumption; likewise, with the exception of the mostly mellow “Evergreen,” the album is filled with the sort of crushingly brutal guitar tone and howling vocals you might expect from a Relapse release. However, Soma’s glacial pace and grinding repetition, paired with frontwoman Dorthia Cortrell’s haunting delivery and the band’s strong sense of melody peeking out from underneath walls of fuzz, seem to work a strange brand of mojo. Reaching the five minutes of sampled wind at the end of monumental 30-minute-long album-closer “Boleskine,” one doesn’t feel the weariness that often accompanies extended forays into the stoner-metal sphere. Though Soma doesn’t compromise any of its doom-y credentials, it nevertheless succeeds in appealing to a wider audience. Soma, a gateway drug? It’s more likely than you think.
Windham performs Thursday, Sept. 19, 8 p.m., at Monstros Pizza.