Into the Pit is a new series dedicated to showcasing the Bay Area metal scene in its many forms, spanning artists, genres, venues, and locations. This week features stoner metal duo Tvsk.

I’ve never been a fan of the term “stoner metal.” It’s a bit of word association that implies that those who play it, or listen to it, are, um, a little slow (well, sometimes they are…).

While it’s true that the music often lags in tempo, I believe the “stoner” part of it refers more specifically to the dazed feeling you get when listening to it. When a band does this genre right, it’s simply absorbing, a simmering force that intoxicates you with the droning guitars, crushing drumbeats, and haunting vocal melodies characteristic of the genre.

Take out those droning guitars and you basically have Tvsk, a bassist/drummer combo from the industrial suburbs that constitute Alameda. They make a lotta noise for a little band, and their debut LP From the Ashes proves it: you don’t need a guitarist when the groove of “Dead Womb” is so oppressively heavy, when the eleven minute epic “The ‘All’/Transcendence” is so horrendously hypnotic, when the album alarmingly succeeds in getting you high without ever taking a joint hit or bong rip (though, chances are, you’ll be doing that anyway).

The duo met at, of all places, the Starbucks where they both worked, after Nick Baumgartner moved up from L.A. and switched to drums in order to find more musicians to jam with (everyone plays guitar, after all). Though he hasn’t been behind the throne for too long, he absolutely nails the behind-the-beat-feel required to drag the listener into the sonic swamp, and bassist Justin Dimig's riffs are suitably sludgy enough pull them further into the murky depths.

As I watched them tear up a stage on a Wednesday night at Oakland’s Golden Bull in front of a sparsely populated floor (hey, it’s tough even for the indie-pop acts to pull a crowd on a weekday), I was treated to the full experience: amps exploding, walls shaking, bass drum blasting. Head lightening, eyes reddening, body numbing — yes, this was stoner metal at its finest.

Beastmaker, Brume, Devoid, Tvsk
Golden Bull
March 11, 2015
8pm, $8 (21+)