The Portland festival circuit took on a bit of a different look this year, with MusicFest NW changing its format, the standard representation of PDX Pop Now! and Pickathon, and a new contender, Project Pabst. For the metalheads out there, the end of the festival season in Portland is oft marked by the incredible Fall Into Darkness festival, so when organizer Nathan Carson announced there would be no incarnation this year, it was hard not to be just a bit let down.
But in true committed form, Carson has organized a sick show in the name of Fall Into Darkness that is absolutely unmissable. Headlining the night are Year of No Light, arguably one of if not the best continental doom acts today. While most bands today seem content to offer a couple extreme albums before finding what could be described as more “accessible” sensibilities, Year of No Light have taken the opposite approach, moving from the ISIS/Neurosis worship prevalent on Nord to instrumental doom on Ausserwelt and finally to an unholy blackened post-rock-doom on their latest, Tocsin. Given the most recent election results here in the states, members in the audience are going to need a bit of time to reflect on crushing despair, and while Year of No Light is on the stage, they will have plenty of help.
Joining Year of No Light on tour is Take Over and Destroy from Phoenix. I find this to be an odd pairing, as Take Over and Destroy is going to be the “different” band of the night, with a straightforward black’n’roll approach contrasting with the styles of the other bands. I’m interested to see how the audience reacts to the shift in tone from Eight Bells to Take Over and Destroy.
Speaking of Eight Bells, it is great to see them on a bill like this, with the chance to showcase their abilities (and hopefully some new material) to an audience that will presumably be receptive to their thoughtful and mostly instrumental compositions. There is no other band like Eight Bells playing music in Portland today, and that alone is reason enough to see them.
I can fairly be accused of always saying that the audience should show up early for this kind of show. Fair enough, I usually mean it everytime, but this time I really, really mean it. Why? Because the opener is Barrowlands, whose Thane I just discovered a couple weeks ago and cannot stop listening to. By now there are enough bands have borne the label “Cascadian Black Metal” for the description to mean something, and whatever it means, Barrowlands exemplify it perfectly. If you do decide to show up fashionably late, their names will be on the lips of everyone else. “Did you catch Barrowlands? Fuck.”