Ogre (Portland) — Since 1999, this Portland trio has been playing their blend of stoner-doom-metal and quietly (pun intended) amassing a following both stateside and in Europe. They don’t play many shows, but after a nearly five-year hiatus they did release their fifth album “The Last Neanderthal” just two months ago, to wide acclaim across the metal community. You can download it via the Minotauro Records Bandcamp, which is Ogre’s Italian record label. It’s some pretty epic Maine metal, sludgy and evil but deceptively melodic.
Chaos Machine (Old Town) — For those who prefer their metal more on the brutal side, I present to you Chaos Machine, an Old Town-based progressive thrash band that is as big, mean and raw as their name might suggest. Its five members have been playing in bands both metal band not in eastern Maine for a long time. An EP was released last fall, but the band intends to release a full length later on in 2014. You can check them out live on May 9 at Tantrum in Bangor, with fellow metal bands Emerge From Silence, Sateris, Culling the Herd and Holyfilth.
Murcielago (Portland) — Murcielago has built up something of a legendary mystery. They’ve been playing sporadic shows in Maine for the past five years, but as of yet, they have not released an album. Theoretically, their long-awaited debut LP will drop in 2014. Early rumors from those who have heard cuts from it already say that the stoner metal band’s album is destined to be one of the best of the year — yes, stoner metal, but with a heavy dose of classic 1970s bluster, as if Kyuss and Blue Oyster Cult shared a beer with Lemmy Kilmister. There are a few early tracks online to listen to tide you over.
Capture the Sun (Orono) — First thing you need to know about Capture the Sun: they’re an instrumental band. Second thing you to know about Capture the Sun: they play music that’s equal parts technical metal, prog-metal and post-rock. What does that mean? It’s intensely complicated, high-energy music that could soundtrack either a video game or a really weird movie. In reality, they are four guys from Orono who have been playing together since 2010. Capture the Sun will play on May 13 at Geno’s Rock Club in Portland with Trioscapes and Superorder.
Sylvia (Portland) — And now for something completely different — Sylvia, a four piece black metal band featuring two former members of the late great Portland doom metal band Ocean. The eight-track self-titled debut full-length they released in Oct. 2013 is ambitious and full of almost entirely screamed/growled vocals, with elements of thrash and sludge creeping in amidst the blackness. No live gigs for Sylvia on the horizon just yet, but keep an eye out on Facebook for future shows.
Falls of Rauros (Portland) — Aside from the fact that their name is an amazing J.R.R. Tolkien reference, Falls of Rauros tread that wonderful path between folk and black metal, creating an atmospheric world with acoustic guitars, before burning the land to the ground with massive swaths of black metal riffs and scream vocals. The band just released a split LP with fellow folk metal band Panopticon; a new album titled “Believe In No Coming Shore” is set to come out later this year. A really nice remaster of their 2011 album “The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood” is up on their Bandcamp page.
Hessian (Portland) — They haven’t put out a new album in a while, but man, Hessian slays it live. They are old school metal, heavy but melodic and unafraid of the slightest of pop hooks, with clean vocals just asking to be sung along to. They actually have a female co-lead singer (Sally Wason), which instantly puts them in their own class, outside of the dude party that is nearly every other metal band in Maine. Classic metal riffs, with an occultist lyrical edge.