1. Uada played a late Sunday show at what might be one of their home locations, Tonic Lounge. The night was all loud black metal, fog machines, and dim lights.

Drouth took the stage first and jumped right into a few brutal black metal riffs. This was broken up by some contemplative, mid-tempo melodies. They seem to vacillate between the two without much in between. They are one of the best opening bands I’ve heard in Portland, and they are local. Check them out:

Next up was Dead in the Manger, a band that plays a heavy, grinding version of black metal. You’ve got your tremolo picking but you also have your chugging and hammer blast beats. It’s a combination that works despite breaking conventions. Let’s talk about this fog for just a minute (got any vape jokes?). They filled the room with so much of the stuff that I could barely see the person next to me and even the main room (a separate area) was cloudy as hell. The band looms, backlit by blue lights. Check them out:

It was pushing midnight when Portland natives, Uada, took the stage. Let’s get this out of the way, their stage show is very similar to the Polish black metal band, Mgła (translates to “fog”). The music also shares a few similarities, but they both play a melodic version of black metal. Otherwise, Uada is a very different band. I’m totally fine with another band departing from the corpse paint in favor of a black hood. It matches the haunting themes. So, I defend them when someone brings this up yet doesn’t mention any other trend in metal.

They play black metal that’s heavy on the melodic overtones and I wanted to say they have a haunting sound, then I realized Uada is latin for “haunted”. It’s an interesting achievement because this they aren’t an ambient black metal band or a band that relies on ghostly whispers and slower riffing. They are straight forward, aggressive, and their songs are typically heavy throughout. The vocalist, Jake Superchi, is one of the best in the business (imo). I get bored quickly when the vocals are just a repetition of the same scream, growl, etc. Variety can do a lot for the music and that’s what we have here. Awesome screams, banshee howls, droning speech, etc. really carry the music in different directions. I’m typing too much, check out a bit of their set in the video atop the post. Check out their music here:

The music was great but the mix was a little loud last night. I’ve been to Tonic around a dozen times and it typically isn’t this muddy; the treble was a wall of noise beyond what I’d typically expect even at a black metal show. All these bands feature some amazing riffs but beyond that it was hard to distinguish some of the notes in the more melodic parts of the music. The mix wasn’t bad, just louder than it normally was. I am all for headbanging to loud metal, but I don’t need a puff of air to hit me in the chest on every bass note even when I’m standing near the back of the room. Regardless, I’ll keep going back to Tonic Lounge.

How far should you drive to see these bands? 30-50 miles.

Show Gallery
(Drouth: red and purple, Dead in the Manger: blue, Uada: white)