Local openers Beneath Oblivion kicked things off with a strong 30 minute set that contained all of 3 songs. I’ve covered these guys in the past, so I don’t want to get into a lot of detail, but it was nice to finally hear them in a big room where their sound could just absolutely take over and devastate everything in its path. By the time the band kicked on the siren that signaled the closing of their set, heads were bobbing all around and ear drums were throbbing. Doom at it's finest and heaviest.
Unfortunately, the alarms included in the Obsidian Tongue were not part of the show. Due to excessive smoke from the fog machines, the SGH alarms started screeching midway through Obsidian Tongue’s first song. The two-man band cut the song short after a couple of minutes of the siren blaring and strobes flashing all around. Once the alarms were silenced, the house lights came on and Obsidian Tongue made two short, aborted attempts to get the show going before the fire department showed up and evacuated the building. Once the all-clear was issued and we returned inside, Obsidian Tongue blazed through another half hour or so of solid atmospheric black metal. It’s really a shame that the set was interrupted because I really enjoyed what I heard. The band didn’t seem fazed by the delay, but I don’t think they really had time to conquer the audience properly. With only two albums under their belts, Obsidian Tongue is a relative newcomer so I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for future shows in the area.
Due to the apparently sensitive smoke detectors at SGH, Portland blackened folk metallers Agalloch had to abandon their usual stage setup, which usually features a bunch of candles and incense and wood smoke. That was kind of a bummer, but once they got going it was easy to forget the inconvenience and focus on the music. As cheesy as this sounds, you don’t really watch an Agalloch show; you experience the show. The term atmosphere kind of gets overused (I even used it the previous paragraph), but I can’t think of a better description for what Agalloch brings to the table. I’m not familiar enough with the band’s catalogue to know if they were playing new stuff, old stuff, fan favorites, or deep cuts, but whatever it was, I was definitely digging it. I’m always impressed with ridiculously fast tremolo picking, and it’s even more impressive if it involves some melody. I believe the band brought their own sound guy on tour and it showed. Every instrument and vocal was mixed perfectly. It’s kind of cool to hear bass prominently in a black metal-ish mix. The lead guitar player’s solos were stunning, in an emotional way, not the typical shredfest. The drumming was fast and heavy as shit and the vocals, while screamed in typical black metal fashion, had enough variety to keep me interested. Without gushing too much, let’s just say I was really impressed with Agalloch, overall. The crowd was great, too. I hope promoters take note of the huge turnout and realize that there is a market for this type of stuff in Cincinnati.