Tour includes Eternal North, Turned to Stone, Boudica, Anonymia
The Tonic Lounge has picked up an increasing share of the metal shows that pass through Portland, OR. But it isn’t just heavily established tours the venue is bringing in. Good thing, too. Otherwise, Portland might have missed out on the Frozen Summer tour which blew through on the 27th of July, and featured domestics Turned to Stone and Eternal North.
Local blackened-folk band Anonymia opened the night. The group exhibited a variety of vocal styles contributed to by lead vocalist, Nobody, and fleshed out by guitarists, Guy 1 and Guy 2, and drummer, Guy 4. The addition of violin by That One Chick, lead to a very different sound than a standard black and death metal approach could provide. Throwing out tunes ranging from grim black metal, to death metal, and even a couple of drinking songs, they got both the show and the crowdsâ€™ alcohol consumption off to a good start.
Second up was the aptly named Boudica. Taking the stage (mostly) shirtless, faces streaked with war paint, they play a more methodical and melodic breed of metal than the opening act. Frontwoman, Gillan Povey, unleashed visceral screams over the deep and rolling punch of Seaton’s bass and Caroll’s varied precision. All this is tied together by the alternately chugging and rhythmic guitar work of Ramsey and Priest. While currently without any recorded material, Boudica is on the rise, spreading their message of strength and rebellion, and will be a band to watch in the future.
Utah’s Turned to Stone took the stage, the first of the two touring bands. Anticipation built palpably during a beautiful acoustic intro played over the venues speakers. Abruptly, the five-piece dove into the title track of their album ‘The Memory I’ve Become’; a deep tune in the tradition of some of the best Scandinavian melodic death metal. To be honest, if somewhat uncharitable, I wasn’t aware that it was legal to make such heavy and incredible music in Salt Lake City. I stand happily corrected.
The set quickly took a decidedly unique turn. Black began interspersing his deep growls and potent screams with a powerful singing voice that taxed the capabilities of the Tonic Lounge’s PA system. Guitarists Andy Medeiros and Ian Mitchell shifted fluidly between trading leads and hammering the crowd with grim, sustained chords. The whole set was supported by Kristofori Maile’s honey-smooth bass lines, and Brian Medeiros’ enthusiastic percussive assault, both of which suited the inconsistent tone of song after song to perfection.
It would be hard to overstate how indispensable these two are to Turned to Stone’s overall sound. Maile ensured that the tone of each song stayed deep, dark, and contemplative, while Brian Mederio’s adaptability kept the percussion from ever feeling out of place, no matter how abrupt the change. I don’t know if I have ever experienced such an artful blend of dark rock and extreme metal at a show, let alone within a single set. The organic flow from song to song was an experience I’m glad to have had, and hope to have again.
Headliner Eternal North finished the night in frenetic form. Self-described “omni metal” from Idaho Falls, ID, the group appeared as a three-piece. They hooked me before they even started when frontman Andrew Smith sound checked with a burst of face-melting shredding. It was all uphill from there. Artfully blending black, folk, melodic, and death metal, and speeding the whole thing to a frantic pace, the energy of Eternal North’s live show is absolutely infectious. Smith, kilted and wild-eyed, spent large sections of his time away from the mic thrashing like a madman, all the while refusing to let up the auditory assault issuing from his guitar. The brutality was not limited to his side of the stage, however.
While Smith holds down his share of the leads, it would be a disservice to refer to Mark Seaquist as simply the groupâ€™s rhythm guitarist. Seaquist’s leads rival Smith’s in intensity, and his screams are just as vicious. Russell Kummer held the pace with an equally relentless barrage from behind the drum kit. While most drummers (especially in bands similar to EN) rely on blast beats, double kick, and constantly bashing symbols, Kummer contributed a more interesting and diverse backbone to the bands furiously melodic sound. It’s almost disgusting how much talent has been allotted to three guys from Idaho. With a set consisting of three original songs and a brutal Death cover (featuring Paul Black), I definitely have not gotten enough of Eternal North.
A huge thanks goes out to Chris and Koby (Anonymia) for their insight and wisdom!