A photographic account of heavy music in Portland, Maine
The readers have spoken: Hessian is the Band of the Year for 2014.
In mid-December, we asked you which Portland heavy band “worked hardest, exceeded expectations, and best exemplifies Portland’s heavy music scene.” We nominated six bands that released albums in 2014 — Awaas, Falls of Rauros, Hessian, Murcielago, Pigboat, and Ruin — but we also left the poll open for write-ins.
The results were very, very close.
When the poll closed at the end of a seven-day run, it was nearly a dead heat between Hessian and Ruin. Only two percentage points separated the top spots, with Hessian taking 27 percent of the vote and Ruin taking 25 percent. The remaining four nominees amassed 28 percent. Another 20 percent of voters chose write-in candidates.
In all, 20 bands were chosen, including a significant number of votes for Sylvia.
In the end, however, we feel Hessian rightly earned its place at the top. After all, it was a really big year for the Portland four-piece. And, when you read the poll question, there’s little doubt that Hessian fits the bill.
In 2014, the band played 39 shows, the vast majority of which were beyond Maine. In September alone, Hessian played 29 shows in 19 states (including California, Georgia and Illinois), amassing a devilish number of road miles — 6,660, by singer/guitarist Salli Wason’s estimation — and more than 10,000 miles when air travel is included.
The U.S. tour was in support of the band’s first LP, “Bachelor of Black Arts” — a collection of smart, skillfully performed songs that evoke the ’70s and ’80s. By the end of the year, Hessian had already begun writing a follow-up record.
This year promises to be another big one for Hessian. In addition to the possibility of a new album, the band plans to perform this May at Muskelrock — a festival in Sweden — and “set up a few european shows around that,” singer/guitarist Angus McFarland said.
That same month, Hessian will play Ragrarokkr Metal Apocalypse in Chicago, plus some other U.S. dates along the way.
In short, this is a kickass, hard-working band that proudly hails from Portland, Maine.
Congratulations, Hessian. Happy New Year.