WHAT BETTER WAY to prepare for Halloween than with three days of scorching, demon-slaying metal at Berbati's Pan? Curated by Nanotear Booking, Fall into Darkness highlights some of the best Portland metal, as well as some of the more obscure bands that have slipped through the cracks into weird sub-sub-genres (psychedelic/neoclassic/folk metal, anyone?). Thankfully, Fall into Darkness does the scene a favor by reeling in diverse talent; from the truly bizarre experimental noise of Kawabata Makoto, to the comforting sludge of Earth and Atriarch, the all-female chamber gloom of Amber Asylum.
Thursday opens with Makoto, an elusive Sun Ra-esque experimentalist from Japan. Makoto has been messing with wacky sounds and homemade instruments since 1978, forming the band Acid Mothers Temple in 1995 with the sole purpose of making "extreme trip music." Recently he's put out some solo work that focuses on sharp ringing sounds, particularly the random ringing that can afflict your consciousness, which Makoto said he "believed were messages aimed directly at me from a UFO." He might be on to something here, but I'm surprised he made it out of the '70s without completely frying himself.
Friday's headliner is Agalloch, who've finally woken from a deep slumber and emerged from the fog to blast some heaviness our way. San Francisco's Amber Asylum takes a different approach, however, incorporating neoclassical piano, cello, and violin compositions for something rich and moody. Vocalist Kris Force's slightly operatic chanting captures the good ol' days of pagan witch burning—a venture from anything else you might hear this weekend, but dark nonetheless. Oh, and Friday's the only all-ages night, so you have no excuse not to go.
Ending the dark weekend is Yob—reunited after a two-year hiatus. The masters of psyche-metal released their album The Great Cessation this summer, summoning impressive reviews and heralding the group as one of the more formidable metal bands in the country. Fat and loud, Yob will leave your ears bleeding, giving you that last-minute Halloween costume.
Fall into Darkness has taken the time to redefine (or is it re-deafen?) the ultimate metal weekend; proving that, indeed, you can appreciate by metal by looking beyond clones of Disturbed, Static-X, and the most immediate Viking-clad, black-bearded band of the moment.