May Metal Fest @ Ash Street

Featuring Separation From Sanity, In Her Memory, American Roulette, and Chapters End

Chapters End on Friday night at Ash Street Saloon
By Dylan Burke
May 14 12:00am

Metalheads showed up in droves to witness the second show of Portland’s first annual May Metalfest. The unprecedented event was sponsored by TCOR radio, one of the last purveyors of metal music and culture in the Northwest. Subsequently, their promotional efforts were not in vain, for on the second day of the five-day celebration metal heads from all walks of life filed into Ash Street Saloon, where within a darkened atmosphere, supporters looked to have found their sanctified metal Mecca.


American Roulette commenced the night’s celebration with a barrage of heavy metal that shook the crowd to their very foundation. Fueled by some incendiary metal God from the depths of the seventh circle of hell, American Roulette had the crowd whipping their necks to songs like "Season of Aggression", and "What Now". Like most metal bands that night, American Roulette consisted of five members: Scotty on lead vocals and guitar, Jimi on bass, Eric on drums, and Kris on rhythm guitar and vocals. Without a doubt, these four men amalgamated the sounds of their idols; however, they never seemed trite or unoriginal.


Moving right along. Chapters End came to that faithful crowd from Salem Oregon, and no doubt satiated that metal mob’s thirst for blistering vocals and head-banging rhythms. However, unlike the others, Chapters End was the only band with a ferocious female vocalist. Lead by Vanessa Power’s implacable voice, Chapters End can be likened to the vocalized femininity of Evanescence and the raw instrumental power of Deftones. Both Scott Rivett and Roger Tiffany produced some of the most bone crushing guitar progressions while Sebastian King and Amadeus Morant had everyone’s head spinning to what can only be described as the sound of bombs going off.


In Her Memory brought the crowd to their knees, where on they bowed their heads and forsook all others. It didn’t take long for their explosive, metal Molotov cocktail of “bone-smashing percussion” and eviscerating guitar licks to set the crowd alight with a preternatural energy that manifested into a scene from some primeval Celtic battle. Hailing from Lebanon, Oregon, In Her Memory humbly describes themselves as a metal band whose respect for the old school lends itself to a humility with regards to their quest for originality. Consequently, upon listening to tracks like The Beggar, one realizes instantly that they have succeeded in that objective.


In today’s age of complexity, it seems that even musical genres are no exception to the complexities of categorization. And so how would one describe the final band in that nights proceedings? Metal? – Yes. But what else? Thrash metal? – okay, now we’re getting more specific. How about “Agro Punk Prog?” Well, believe it or not that’s exactly how Separation From Sanity describes their sound. Upon listening to their first song, one could undoubtedly detect the “agro” in lead singer Jason X’s indomitable voice. But by no means is that the extent of their musical prowess. Both Randy Toten and Keith Fitzgerald produced a sound-scape of solid high frequency where in each listener was transported to one scene of another from the much-loved Heavy Metal 2000 movie. However, let’s not forget the complementary sounds of Ivar Forkbeard on bass and Jackson Coffey on drums. Together these two men succeeded in producing some of the heaviest feeling sounds in the history of amplified music.


May Metalfest was nothing short of a success, but it’s not over yet. New bands will be playing at new locations around Portland for the remainder of May. The next show is on May 19th at Dantes. Don’t miss Proven, Harness, and How The West Was Won, and be sure to head over to Bossa Nova on May 25th, and Tiger Bar on May 26th.