A photographic account of heavy music in Portland, Maine
It’s fitting that spring — the season of rebirth and renewal — will also bring the return of two great innovators to a Portland stage.
Tonight at SPACE Gallery, Zachary Howard and J. Morse will introduce new projects — Say John Earl and Nycterent, respectively. The bill also features Sewer Goddess (an industrial/experimental act from Boston) and headliners Mugwort, who will also release a three-song debut recording tonight on cassette.
Howard, of Conifer fame, has been out of the spotlight since September when Awaas played its farewell show. Back then, he announced the imminent formation of The Big Holy — something that he literally dreamed up. Creation of The Big Holy is on hold, Howard said, but Say John Earl has emerged in the meantime.
The band features Purse’s Bob Smyth on drums, Kevan Cox on bass, and Howard on guitar. In a collective (and somewhat cryptic) statement, the trio described Say John Earl as a “last will and testament. A farewell transmission. A sound worship. It’s loud like Conifer. It has vocals like Awaas. Holy, holy, holy communion.
“SJE is a sacred pact between brothers,” the statement continues. “Death is near. All that matters is family and holy communion of sound.”
Howard added that SJE is “not a metal band.”
Opening tonight’s show is solo electronic act Nycterent, which is the “(un)natural progression from one era to the next,” said J. Morse who formerly operated under the name Erroraeon.
Morse chose the name Nycterent — an obscure term for someone who hunts at night — because it is the “symbolic representation of the will transgressing against the world,” he said.
“Life is constantly changing, and sometimes it changes more drastically than others,” he said. “One can either stay the course or evolve. I needed a new association to my externalizations, so the change in moniker was a logical step for me.”
When asked whether the music under Nycterent differs from Erroraeon, Morse said it’s not for him to decide.
“Well, I’m biased,” he said. I’ll let the listener judge for him-/herself.”
Morse, who also serves as promoter for tonight’s show, said he’s “thoroughly pleased” to have Sewer Goddess in Portland.
“Their newest release Painlust on Malignant Records is easily my favorite recording yet for 2015,” he said. “They have been honing their craft for almost 10 years, and rest in that uneasy spot between nihilistic industrial, black metal, and power electronics.”
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