July 18th 2008: It was kind of a rough show today. I was a little sleep deprived and exhausted after a long week. Luckily the music was great and it more than made up for my tongue-tiedness (?? case and point..). The first band played was DISTORTED “Reveal my Path”. This is a female fronted gothic metal band from Israel. Miri Milman, the lead vocalists doesn’t use the typical operatic style of most female fronted gothic bands. Instead its a smooth soprano against the crushing drums and guitar licks. PSILOCYBE LARVAE “Sleepwalkers”, is an up and coming melodic dark metal band from Russia. These guys lean towards the black side of the melodic dark metal title and there are a lot of different dark metal elements on display during this song. RUNNING WILD is one of the best, and best known pirate metal bands ever. Rock ‘n Rolf Kasparek is an epic lead singer and this band has been using a power metal approach to pirate metal since the early 80s. During the 80s they had 5 near perfect pirate metal albums, simply must haves for not only the power metal or pirate metal sub-genre, but for all pirate fans anywhere. “Tortuga Bay” is the name of the song and the name the famous pirate haunt off the coast of Hispaniola that has been widely popularized by the great Disney films “Pirates of the Caribbean.” This song is impossible not to rock too, it’s fast, it’s upbeat and a perfect example for the genre. SVARTSOT “Brages Bæger” from Denmark is an excellent folk/black metal song which features an excellent main riff that is complimented by flutes that play the same melody as the rhythm guitar. This is perhaps my favorite means of incorporation of folk instruments. I think it makes the song heavier while staying true to the folk nature of the music. MUSTAN KUUN LAPSET “Kauniinhauta” from Finland recently called it quits after a 14 year run that left 3 excellent melodic black metal albums. The good news is that the break up wasn’t because of inner tension among the band members, rather, they just felt that the band had run its course and they had accomplished what they set out to do. I’m hoping that the band members may reform a new project or form other bands. This song features some great violin work and as with most melodic dark metal from Finland, all elements of the song fit together perfectly. The next band played was a one man act from the great state of Maine USA. This self released album by BOTHILDIR was a little rough production wise but the great thing about metal is that good metal penetrates production. The main riff in “Entities of Putrid Cognizance” is excellent and it immediately got stuck in my head when I heard it. Looking forward to another full length from this band. Finland, ever the place for great melodic metal, produced this next band as well. ELENIUM has been gaining a lot of momentum in the melodic death metal genre for a couple years now. I like the song “Trail of Beggars” because there are times during the song when it feels a bit “disconnected”. I guess by this I mean the tempo slows down and the individual elements separate from one another intentionally. But true to form, like all great melodic death metal.. the song comes together for a perfect harmony of dark, melancholic sounds. The show wrapped up “Die Weide Und Der Fluß” from still my favorite album of the year, EQUILIBRIUM Sagas (2008). This album, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a perfect example of epic viking/folk metal.