A photographic account of heavy music in Portland, Maine
Seven bands. Two venues. One evening.
That’s the cruel calculus tonight when competing shows round out an unusually heavy week in Portland.
At Geno’s, a reconfigured Stone Tools re-emerges after several months of hiatus, and Holy Filth makes its Portland debut as a four-piece. At Empire, Ruin celebrates its 10th anniversary, and Capture the Sun blends old and new when it rolls out material from its forthcoming album in a performance that features a temporary return of their original bassist.
It’s a good night to be everywhere at once.
Stone Tools hasn’t played a live show since late June, when they unleashed a literal bloodbath at Noshbow. Since then the band lost its two redheaded members — bassist Matt C Axe and drummer Calvin Heine — but reconfigured into a four-piece with vocalist/paladin G. Souza taking up bass.
“All the gingers fled south and west to escape the oncoming wrath of winter, so I was forced to take on the mantle of the war axe so the party could continue, now joined by (drummer) Zach Obeirn manning the battery,” Souza said.
A long-rumored album from Stone Tools now has a release date: March 7. The band is also putting together a tour.
“The album is mastered and the artwork is nearly complete,” Souza said. “Our reach will expand greatly with the coming year: a tour is in the works and a nonstop assault of shows will launch from our newly captured castle on the northern wastes.”
Souza said tonight’s show with out-of-towners Necronomichrist, Totality, and Holy Filth will be “an unholy clusterfuck of thrash, death and grind as each band tops itself and the others in a riff arms race.”
“Edged weapons and medium-weight armor are highly encouraged,” he added. “At the very least, come to the show with a good cleric or a purse full of coin for potions.”
Holy Filth kicks of the show at 9-ish. The band recently grew in ranks with a dude named Stingermissle (of melodic death metal band Incorporeal) joining to play bass. Former bassist Justin Hamm picks up guitar, which holds the promise of some sweet double leads.
The band, which was formed in 2013, is on the verge of releasing its fourth EP March of the Wicked. Their previous EP, Rifftual Slaughter, was released just a few weeks ago on Christmas Eve. The band’s first three EPs were all released within the past 13 months; all of them slay; and all of them are free on Bandcamp, so get some.
Guitarist/vocalist Ryan Curry said the band will continue its prolific pace in the new year.
“Plans for 2015 include riffs and more riffs,” he said. “We are also writing our first full length, that we will be recording at Portal Studios in Banggr. We will aslo have merch. Maybe.”
“We will have merch if we don’t spend all our money on Papa John’s double pepperoni pizzas,” Hamm interjected. “So it’s a 50/50 chance.”
“Totally beautiful axe,” Curry said.
Ruin throws a 10-year anniversary party for itself tonight at Empire with A Traitor’s Pact and Capture the Sun.
“This is gonna be a fun show, man,” said guitarist/vocalist Richard Carey. “Even though we have played gigs at Empire in the past, they don’t have a lot of heavy bands, so it’s really cool that they opened their doors to us.”
The band released a new album, Rite of Passage, in October and plans to build on that momentum this year.
“We have a great new album out, and we look forward to keeping busy, and hitting stages here and out of state,” Carey said.
“Living in Fear,” a song from the new album, is available free.
“This show is an interesting one for us,” he said. “Our current bass player is on vacation … [so] we contacted our former bass player, Tony. This is his first show with us in almost two years and it’s giving us an opportunity to play a couple different songs. One is from our first album called ‘Calculating … Remaining,’ which is heavily inspired by The Dillinger Escape Plan. The second is from our upcoming album and is called ‘Cloudless.’ This song is a bass and drum duo and was composed by Tony, himself. This is one of the few times we will be playing it live.”
Recording of their upcoming album, Terra Ignota — a concept album about the creation and progression of a planet — is well under way.
“We will definitely have it out sometime this calendar year,” he said.
The band is also planning some mini-tours for 2015, plus a visual component for their live act.
“It’s something I’m not going to spoil, but it’s something you could consider to be mixed media,” he said. “We have tried it once in the past and it was something we deemed to to be very successful.
“We are hoping for this to be big year for us.”