So, two months into the blog’s life and I’m already taking over a month in between posts. As I’m sure you all know, life gets hectic at times. I’ve been keeping busy though, and in the time that’s past since the last post, I’ve gone to two amazing metal festivals, Migration Fest and Eternal Warfare Fest, and have been keeping up with a lot of great music that I will share with you soon. Oh, and I started my last semester at university. Now that I’m all settled into my schedule, I’ll be posting things more regularly. The first thing I’d like to share with you all now that I’m back is my amazing experience in Portland last weekend at Eternal Warfare.
September 8th marked the first day of Eternal Warfare, a metal festival dedicated mostly to black metal and doom metal. The line-up consists of bands from many of the underground’s best labels, namely Psychic Violence, Black Twilight Circle, and Eternal Warfare, with Vrasubatlat, Dark Descent, and House Of First Light also seeing representation.
Unfortunately I missed the first two bands, No Trial and Crawl, while I was on a quest for dinner. It should also be noted that Aylwin cancelled their performance day of show. I made it to the venue in time to catch Triumvir Foul.
Triumvir Foul was one of the main reasons I was drawn to the festival. Their chaotic and destructive approach to death metal made their self-titled debut one of the most intriguing records I heard last year, and I’ve been wanting to catch the live ever since. They did not disappoint in the slightest. Their live sound is oppressing; their guitar tone is as murky and suffocating as it is on record, and the bass provided a thick low end that punctuated the heaviest moments of the set. There was almost no lighting during their set, only one red light behind the band shining, providing a dim atmosphere. Each song they played is a descent into madness, with fast dissonant riffs and guitar solos that sound like whirlwinds of flame.
Next was Blue Hummingbird On The Left. They were the first of many bands representing Black Twilight Circle at the festival. The band’s name is a translation of the Aztec sun god, Huitzliopochtli, and their lyrics focus on Aztec war culture and heritage. I’ve recently started exploring my Mesoamerican roots, so this performance couldn’t have come at a better time. The stage was engulfed in fog and red light, leaving the men on stage looking like shadows. The set started with a ritual like drum circle, with members playing drums, indigenous rattles, claves, and the front man playing an aerophone that produced a golden eagle like scream. This lead into a foray raw, militant black metal. Each song is a short burst of relentless riffing and blasting, and I was furiously headbanging throughout the entirety of each one. The band ended the set the same way they started it, but with an aerophone with a much deeper pitch. Blue Hummingbird On The Left put on a mystifying and entrancing ritual. They rarely play outside of southern California, so be sure to catch them if they’re ever in your area. If anyone is interested, I was able to snag a BHL setlist, which I’ll post below.
The night continued with Sanguine Eagle. Sanguine Eagle are new black metal from the hotbed that is New York City. This was the band’s third ever performance. Their set started with the front man banging out thick, dissonant chords for a couple of minutes to set the tone for the rest of the performance. Once the rest of the band joined, the rest of the set was mesmerizing. Each song is a cascade of fierce and brooding black metal riffing that only becomes more intense and hypnotic over time.
Closing the night was funeral doomers Merkstave. This was their first performance in three years and the excitement was radiating in the room. After they started, it was obvious why so many were excited. Merkstave played some of the slowest and most entrancing funeral doom I’ve heard. The guitars crept from chord to chord at tectonic speeds, and they had a cool vocal dynamic between the drummer’s low gutturals and the guitarist’s melismatic chants. Merkstave’s meditative doom was the perfect way to close out Day 1.