Earthride: Vampire Circus
The Maryland/Washington area has few regional sounds to call its own. There’s Washington go-go, of course, and Baltimore club. But Maryland’s variant on the doom-rock sound has crunched skulls for decades, and Earthride is a fine bearer of that noble tradition. The band is a quartet fronted by Dave Sherman, former bassist for Spirit Caravan. Spirit Caravan, in turn, was masterminded by Scott “Wino” Weinrich, who also led St. Vitus and the Obsessed, two of the three American bands that pioneered the post-Sabbath biker rock under discussion. The third is Pentagram, featuring guitarist Victor Griffin, with whom Wino recently paired up with in Place of Skulls.
Those who still remember where they were when Spirit Caravan split can dry their eyes, because Earthride works the same heavy groove: vaguely bluesy, with vocals so harsh your throat aches in sympathy, a rhythm section (including ex-Internal Void drummer Eric Little) that throbs like a thousand Harleys roaring by in low gear, and guitar solos featuring more sustain than actual notes. Understanding the virtues of aesthetic conservatism, Maryland doom stands just to the right of metal; Earthride has more in common with Motörhead than Slayer—or even Judas Priest. Vampire Circus was produced by Corrosion of Conformity’s Mike Dean, and Clutch keyboardist Mick Schauer, another Marylander, plays Deep Purple-ish organ on “Dirtnap” and “Swamp Witch,” broadening Vampire’s vision just a little. Earthride is the band Jersey boy Zakk Wylde wishes he was in.