Greg Anderson is known for a lot of things in the heavy metal world, especially his part in Goatsnake and Sunn O))). With the introduction of Southern Lord Records and the recent splash the label has been making in snatching up all the best up-and-coming metal bands, it seems that pretty soon he will be known for manning the label of all heavy labels. At leas, that is the way it seemed after Anderson’s aptly metal-named The Power Of The Riff tour — a collection of pure, unadulterated metal shows that blasted up and down the west coast. The Pacific Northwest has been churning out some healthy new blood into the metal scene, and was appropriately given two dates of audio destruction.

The Highline
Seattle, WA
2011 – 08/20

After 48 hours of relaxation for my poor eardrums, it was time to gather up the strength and courage for yet another onslaught. This time, the Power Of The Riff was taking place in the cozy confines of The Highline and featured more a lineup that was a who’s-who of current Pacific Northwest heavy heavyweights. The sounds were also quite a bit more varied compared to the first day, going from the spastic hardcore stylings of Trap Them to the downright evil monster riffs of Black Breath, to the old-school crusty hardcore stylings of From Ashes Rise.

The true winners of the evening were Seattle’s own Black Breath. The metalhead maniacs had just gotten done playing a free show at a local bar, and literally packed up their crap and headed over for round two pretty much immediately after. If the band was too tired, too drunk, or anything, they sure didn’t show it as they headbanged their way through a ferocious forty-minute set. Much of the crowd lingered behind to watch From Ashes Rise play their own brand of angry, raspy, hardcore punk.

When all was said and done, after hearing many a thanks to Greg Anderson, it was well-deserved. The Power Of Riff was better curated than many festivals, featuring a pleasantly broad spectrum of sounds from a sometimes narrow genre. For me, it is now time to relax and go buy some earplugs.

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