IT BEGINS WITH WOLVES in the Throne Room: epic, organic, eco-metal from Olympia. Subverting the European black-metal aesthetic to reflect the nature of the Pacific Northwest, the Wolves are creating anti-modern music, promoting an anarchistic return to nature and the fundamental rhythms of the earth. Like Mother Earth, the Wolves work in geologic time. Songs twist and buckle in stretched dynamics, like volcanoes and plate tectonics.
Second on the bill are Maine's Conifer, another band drawing energy from the rhythms of the planet, though Conifer may be intercepting other signals as well; their songs sound like two-way communiqués between the trees and the farthest reaches of space. These guys broadcast on multiple frequencies, from quivering melodies of the topsoil and herd migration to the cataclysmic sounds of interstellar collisions. Prerequisites: Physics 212—Non-Equilibrium Statistical Physics.
Third up are PDX's Middian, with former YOB riff master Mike Scheidt at the helm. Just signed to Metal Blade, Scheidt, with bassist Will Lindsay and trap-man Scott Headrick, are going into the studio in the fall, with a world tour planned for 2007. When asked about the new sound compared to YOB, Mike replied, "[It] isn't YOB 2.0... Middian is more mid-paced and meaner on average, though there are definite slow doom parts for sure. My singing is as varied as ever, but somehow seems different from YOB. Plus, my bandmates bring their own influences into the mix." To which he added, "I want to thank people in Portland for the years of support they gave to YOB... The extreme music community in Portland is family and I cannot wait to get up there and see my friends and show people what Middian is about. I think folks who dug YOB will dig Middian."
San Francisco's Celtic-folk-metal gig Lord Weird Slough Feg are headlining. Taking their name from Celtic mythology, Slough Feg uphold the baroque foundations of the Bay Area metal scene—think early Metallica, or even Diamond Head—but contaminated with the bizarre themes of Irish legend. The result is true pirate metal, not pirate like an unlicensed radio station, but like killing, looting, drinking, and ships. Argh.