The evening began with Cloven Dozer. Having shed the forest-skeksis attire of their debut performance at the 48 Hour Music Festival two weeks ago, we were worried they had sifted out the apocalyptic weirdness of their sound. Not so. Approximating a heavy vessel of undead captained by a spastic Bust! magazine columnist, Dozer’s material was noticeably honed, with more-defined melodies seeping out over the dual drummers.

This band are best when going nowhere, restraining the urge to build their lurching, low-frequency riffs into big-finish fireworks. Frontwoman Kat Hulit’s roaming, childlike sneer represents uncharted vocal territory for music this doom-y, countering the drummer Adinah Barnett’s epic thunderbow. It’s refreshing to see a group of arbitrarily assigned musicians keep playing together, and we’re curious to see how this sonic polarity will play out.

While we couldn’t immediately recognize the frantic, colorful eight-bit Atari game Kaveldt projected stageward during their set, it acted like a broken iTunes visualizer, and was therefore helpful. Kaveldt’s first performance was an affronted python of coiling noise. Intricate guitar lines bounced off each other like repelling magnets, and a gallop of harmonies laid by keyboardist Mike Harvey lurked behind the sonic wall. Somewhere in the din, drummer Ric Lloyd was a beast. Although we’re eager to see the next show by this crucial addition to Portland’s heavy scene, Kaveldt intend to lay low and record a full-length soon.

Ultimately, veterans AoK Suicide Forest steered the sturdiest ship through Geno’s murky waters. Leif Sherman Curtis is a riff clinician, and after two bands heavy on the personnel, hearing the distinct elements of a tight and heavy trio was a welcome, while still brutal, treat.
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