Every year when the air gets colder and the days get shorter, Portlanders are invited to embrace the season with Fall Into Darkness, an annual festival curated and organized by Portland’s own Nathan Carson (of Witch Mountain fame). The festival never fails to deliver high quality heavy music to Portland’s eager masses, and this year is no different, with some big names as well as acts that are sure to pleasantly surprise. There are three great nights of music to enjoy.
None of the shows this weekend are considered “missable,” but there is absolutely no excuse to miss this show, as it comes in at the best price imaginable, free. San Francisco’s Worm Ouroboros headlines, bringing a doomy, solemn approach to metal that is the perfect music for the coming season. This also marks the first of two performances by Agalloch‘s own Aesop Dekker, who seems to be everywhere relevant metal is these days. The supporting acts bring considerable pedigree as well. SubRosa is a band in a similar vein to Worm Ouroboros but perhaps with a bit more straightforward of an approach. SubRosa will loudly pound a musical idea into listener’s heads, Worm Ouroboros will stretch that idea out and make the audience ponder it for quite a while. Wild Hunt is a contender for surprise band of the festival, with the ability to be comfortable with both speedy and straightforward passages as well as drawn out and droning interludes. Aranya opens up with night with tribal drums and vocals which will give the vibe a ritualistic feel.
Saturday’s show is an all out sludge/doom fest, with veterans Saint Vitus closing out the night. Expect this show to be packed, as Saint Vitus is a legendary doom outfit, making this show absolutely mandatory for anyone who would describe themselves as a metal fan. Supporters Weedeater are known for intense and earsplitting live performances which become occasionally punctuated by some bodily fluids spewing out of the mouth lead singer Dave Collins. Sourvein is a much under-appreciated sludge band that has been around since the 90’s, giving fans of the genre another reason to come early. The night opens up with Ephemeros, an up and coming Portland doom/black metal act that has been impressing recently. Fans on the fence about attending should make up their minds soon, as such a line-up on a Saturday night in Portland is sure to sell out eventually.
Sunday is the last day of the festival and history is going to be made. Not to diminish the accomplishments and pedigree of Wolvserpent, who are going to close out the proceedings with mind-blowing drone/doom, but the emergence of a new band, VHOL, will be on a lot of people’s minds going into Sunday. This is understandable, as the band is comprised of the drummer from Agalloch (Aesop Dekker) two members of Hammers of Misfortune (John Cobbett and Sigrid Sheie) and the vocalist from Yob (Mike Scheidt). They have kept their sound largely a mystery as well, so the level of anticipation before their set should be at a boiling point when they finally take the stage. It is only possible to be at a band’s first show ever once, and VHOL is giving Portland metal fans that opportunity on Sunday. Seattle’s Bell Witch is sure to give everyone the creeps with their crawling and deliberate doom compositions, and Portland’s own Eight Bells opens up the night with crushing, sometimes spastic instrumental heavy metal. Sunday’s ticket is an apt closing for a festival which beckons Portland metal fans to fall into darkness.