Swarming Hordes

Mercury Anniversary Fri June 11

Sabala's Mt. Tabor

4811 SE Hawthorne

Only having played in Portland about three times over the past four years, Swarming Hordes has left a hefty legend in its wake. Gnarly gymnastic double-guitar riffage and drumming that shook the earth: this is what I remember most from their last show here, which occurred in approximately 1964. They are enigmatic metallists, wizards practicing the alchemy of battered and torn-through technical proficience. They rip through solos and changes, with physical endurance seen in only the most high-caliber musical athletes, from Slayer to Hella. As you can imagine, there is a lot of sweat.

For their part, the instrumental metal trio--guitarists Mark Corier and Blane Patnode, drummer Zach Morris--arcanely describes itself as "battle-scarred shells of men, outcasts who can communicate their rage and fury only through the viciously intricate tantrums... of their compositions. Individually they are little more than introverted savant wankers, but together... [they call] forth the dark and unifying magic of mass delusion and the madness of crowds."

Morris explains their motivation in less murky terms. "The original idea of the band was to mix the cool parts of jazz fusion and metal so that no singer would be needed for the band. This kind of just turned into really fast technical stuff with varied influence. The bass players who tried out could not keep up."

A simple enough explanation, one that dashed all my fantastical notions they might be walking around shrouded and like, doing secret Masonic handshakes. Even still, when I ask what inspires them, they keep some of their cards off the table; Morris answers with some stuff about liking "tortured syntax," and on the topics of their music, Blane refrains. "If I were to disclose them Zach and Mark would quit the band." If you can keep up with their fingers, let your mind fill in the blanks.