September 9th, 2011 – Hawthorne Theatre, Portland, OR
Musicfest NW is always a well-curated festival, especially from the metal perspective. This is mainly because most of the festival takes place indoors — where you can keep the metalheads all confined into one space, as not to upset the sensitive ears of pretty much everyone else who attends.
Transient is a four-piece grind band of youngsters who put on a pretty solid show. The band plays hard, they play fast, and most importantly, unlike most metal bands, they play with a smile on their face. These are four kids who are actually enjoying themselves, not too wrapped up in the world of metal to lose all connection with the excessive ridiculousness of the genre. The sound was impressive and technically concise, but the band was rather stationary on stage. The lead singer wasn’t confined to any instrument, and rather than just see her hold the mic stand in a death grip, it would’ve been nice had some physical thrash been added to the auditory thrash.
a storm of light
I would never go out of my way to A Storm Of Light, but I do always enjoy their live set. The brand of doom metal the quintet plays isn’t anything spectacular and often sounds too much in the vein as bands such as ISIS, but they have an ability to add harsh harmonies to their vocals and show off visual accompaniments that are always great. Images of doom and gloom flash across the screen (with the occasional wildebeest stampede from Planet Earth) in perfect sync with the mood the music establishes. In the end, A Storm Of Light are nothing you haven’t seen before, but also better than what you have seen as well.
Virginia grindcore stalwarts Pig Destroyer were obviously the big draw for the evening. Guitarist Scott Hull and brand new drummer Adam Jarvis are absolute machines with their respective instruments, which, in the case of Jarvis, comes in the form of inhumanely fast blast beats. Like the good grindcore band that they are, Pig Destroyer smashed through their set in forty minutes of straight devastation. Vocalist J.R. Hayes tore his vocal chords with his socially aware (and occasionally politically pointed) lyrics. The only real oddity to the set were the antics of knob-twiddler Blake Harrison, whose moshing on stage was addictive and entertaining, but he was also prone to asking the crowd for applause. It looked less like he had any place in the band aside from his being your standard hype-man — something that’s seen in the music world quite often, just not in the extreme metal world.