SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A veteran mainstay of the San Francisco underground metal scene in the ’90s, reunited headbanging power trio Old Grandad plays songs from the band’s first new album in 14 years at Bender’s Saturday night.
Founded in SF in 1994 when former Epidemic guitarist Erik Moggridge teamed with ex-Warfare D.C. drummer Will Carroll and bassist Max Barnett, Old Grandad appealed to a wide range of local heavy-music fans. The band’s over-the-top paeans to drugs and Satan featured a unique mix of Sabbathy sludge, thrash-metal tempos, growling, three-way death-metal vocals and Pink Floyd-inspired psychedelia.
Old Grandad were a constant presence on the Bay Area metal scene, playing frequent shows on both sides of the Bay Bridge and occasionally venturing outside of the region. The trio self-released their debut album Vol. 666 in 1997, spotlighting the group’s tongue-in-cheek humor and ferocious riffs. The follow-up OGD EP/San Fran666co Bootleg featured a mix of new drug-obsessed songs (“I’m Frying on Acid,” “The Highs That Bind”) and live recordings.
After the band put out their second full-length The Last Upper through M.I.A. Records in 1999 that explored longer, more psychedelic song structures, Old Grandad went on an extended break. It would be several years before the band reconvened to play live, eventually recording Hocus Corpus for Double Down Records that was released in 2005. The album’s hilariously titled opener “I Want Me to Want You” showed that the OGD cornerstones of tag-team death-metal growling, monolithic riffs and warped lyrics were still intact, even as they explored more melodic vocals.
While the band still played sporadically, as time passed, the members focused on other outlets. Moggridge would relocate to Portland, OR, where he would end up working with Northwestern doom duo Bell Witch (singing on two albums) and eventually launching his solo acoustic-focused psych project Aerial Ruin. Meanwhile Carroll and Barnett would stay in San Francisco, with both players putting in time as members of Hammers of Misfortune. The busy Carroll played with a number of bands, scoring his most high-profile gig yet as the drummer for Death Angel for the past ten years.
The trio’s long silence finally ended earlier this year when the band started posting an onslaught of old show flyers and press clippings from the ’90s and beyond on it’s Facebook page earlier this year. In April, the band headed up to Portland to record a new album with past producer/collaborator Guy Higbey. The band offered up a mix of old favorites and a preview of the new material this past July when the trio played its first show in a decade at the SF Eagle.
Just released this week, the group’s stellar new self-titled effort offers up a less sludgy sound without sacrificing any of Old Grandad’s trademark corrosive guitar onslaught and pummeling rhythms on opening track “Patient as a Pestilence” and the pummeling “Offering.” The epic tune “It’s Not the Same Here Anymore” may be the most poignant metal ode to pre-gentrification San Francisco ever written. The trio headlines this record release party for the new disc at Bender’s Saturday night alongside opening Oakland punk outfit Party Force.
Old Grandad with Party Force
Saturday, Nov. 9, 9 p.m. $10