w/Point Line Plane, Zombi, the Building Press
Thurs April 14, El Corazòn, 9 pm, $8.
As heavy music pedigrees go, Asva's is hard to top. The band's growing list of contributors includes veterans of dirge-metal titans Earth as well as rock experimentalists Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3, and the Master Musicians of Bukkake, and that's only scratching the surface of their resumés. (Geographically they're spread along the West Coast).
Then again, all-star bands are a dime a dozen in this era of underground avant-gardists, and Asva aren't just some ad hoc vanity project. Core members G. Stuart Dahlquist and B.R.A.D. Mowen, on bass and drums, respectively, have been playing together for nearly a decade, going back to their days in the fearsome cult-creators Burning Witch. They've called the remaining Asva members--who on this tour include guitarists John Schuller, Dan LaRochelle, and Trey Spruance; organist Troy Swanson; and vocalist Jessika Kenney--to flesh out their gaping, skeletal song structures, and so far, their casting has been impeccable.
Asva's music is not your run-of-the-mill doom metal, with Spruance's Morricone-style guitar twang, Swanson's woozy organ, and Kenney's wordless vocals adding a ghostly Old West feel to the sludge-and-trudge foundation, an unexpected mix that works. Not that anyone was expecting rehashed Black Sabbath riffs from Dahlquist and Mowen, whose old bandmate, guitarist Stephen O'Malley, went on to cofound Khanate and Sunn O)))--two acts that have helped drag doom metal into the realm of pure sound. Consider Asva the more cinematic counterpart to Khanate's agonizing, claustrophobic aesthetic. And remember to bring earplugs to the show: Just because they're "cinematic" doesn't mean that their sheer heft is movie-theater appropriate.