Blackwater Drowning Goes Clowning with Craft Beer for a Cause

Dark metal band conjures new brew to benefit local music venues

On Charlotte heavy metal band Blackwater Drowning’s 2019 single “Saint,” grinding chords and tremolo guitars seesaw like current crackling up a Jacob’s ladder as vocalist Morgan Riley growls, gasps and hisses like H.P. Lovecraft’s demonic deep ones. But today, the durable and inventive group is not focused on the briny depths of the ocean, or the bodily fluids that flow when vengeance wreaks havoc. Instead, they’re talking about an entirely different liquid: refreshing and delicious beer.

Blackwater Drowning and Cornelius brewery Ass Clown Brewing are joining forces to conjure up a custom-crafted, limited-run brew to support live music venues in the Charlotte area.

Ass Clown is donating 15% of the sales to Music Everywhere CLT,  an economic initiative that supports Charlotte’s music scene. Proceeds will go to the city’s venues that have been struggling since March amid the economic fallout caused by COVID-19.

Amid their skull-crushing riffs, Blackwater Drowning — comprised of Riley, bassist Aria Novi, drummer Chris Peavy and guitarists Jeremy Bennett and Ron Dalton Jr. — has also embraced its funny bone. To celebrate the bonding of brewing and brooding melodic metal, the new dry-hopped sour ale is called “Blackwater Clowning.”

Blackwater Clowning (Photo courtesy of Ass Clown Brewing)

Beer-and-music lovers will be able to sample the brew on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Ass Clown Brewing on 10620 Bailey Road in Cornelius. Food will be available on site, with Blackwater Drowning adding its own dark delicacies to the celebration,  previewing their as-yet-untitled new record.

The band burst upon the city’s metal scene in 2015 with their debut EP Delusionary. Amid machine-gun drumming, spiraling guitar arpeggios and relentless double bass, Riley’s sustained, siren’s-call vocals duel with her throaty growls. But the band’s adept fealty to metal standards is punctuated with sonic experiments like the hardcore punk chorus of “Liar Inside” and the electronic progressive rock synths that introduce “Making Glass.”

Critics lauded the EP’s release as a breath of fresh air that helped revitalize Queen City metal.

Blackwater Drowning members see the new beer release as their chance to give back to the venues, fans and fellow musicians who continue to support them.

“We felt like we needed to do something to help the venues survive this,” says Riley. “These are the venues where we perform along with so many other artists. We want them to be here for everyone to return to.” 

“These venues are staples in our communities and neighborhoods. So many other businesses and the culture of those neighborhoods depend on them,” adds Novi.

Blackwater Drowning
Blackwater Drowning (Photo courtesy of 77Media)

As for the beer, patrons expecting a mysterious potion concocted in a cauldron can rest assured that Blackwater Clowning is a tasty dry hopped sour ale. But Blackwater Drowning may have the last word on the newly brewed elixir on their demonic and magisterial 2018 tune “Violent Ends.”

The sweetest honey is loathsome in his own deliciousness/ And the taste confounds the appetite/ They kiss like powder and fire, they consume

Except that, instead of being consumed by fire and brimstone, beer aficionados will get to do the consuming themselves.

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