I had been waiting for three months for this show. When the day finally came, with it with came Portland doom crew Shrine of The Serpent, local doom troupe Haggatha, along with Portland’s own funeral-doom bringers Usnea, New York’s Unearthly Trance and underground doom-dirge bearers Buried at Sea to cap it all off. I was ecstatic.
Shrine of the Serpent was great; despite not having a bass player present they worked really well as a two-piece. They brought huge riffs, awesome sound, great drumming.
Local doom bringers Haggatha were a treat – you could hear the pain and anguish and hopelessness in every scream. I ate that shit up, super cool, very tight, monolithic riffage and hopeless screams.
Usnea was when things started to get even better (or maybe I was just starting to get really drunk). This was the third time I have seen the Portland funeral doom band, and it was also the best.
I got caught up discussing their music with my boss and their guitar player-vocalist Justin. I realized that my boss and I like their music for the same reason – because it’s a part of each of them, not just because they are trying to be heavy. “It’s soul music. It’s heavy but your soul is in it.” Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with playing heavy for the sake of being heavy – I really love music that is about being heavy or dark just for the sake of being heavy or dark; but I also like music that is really personal along with music that is heavy for heaviness’ sake.
Unearthly Trance’s New York Doom was different altogether than the west coast doom that the earlier three bands played. They are a classic doom band with a titanic sound. Straightforward doom, throw in some black metal, a little sludge and you get the beast that is Unearthly Trance.
Buried at Sea I think might’ve been my favorite performance that night. I refrained from listening to them for a long time before the show to keep my virgin ears sacred and untouched. The vocals grabbed me by something deep within my soul and dragged me down to the abyss. The guitars and bass sounded giant, like waves crashing on a cliff-face with mountains of feedback and fuzz. The indecipherable lyrics sounded like the Sanford was buried 6 feet under and was trying to get out (a la Kill Bill vol. 2) One of my favorite performances I’ve seen. I feel lucky I got to see them, a privilege awarded to so few. Also, a big thank you to Sanford for giving me my poster; I also had a great time talking camera gear with you, and I hope you enjoy the photos.
SHRINE OF THE SERPENT
BURIED AT SEA