[METAL OF THE GODS] “Epic” is an overused adjective in the
rock-crit lexicon, but applying any other word to the mountainous,
prog-y, European folk-metal of Portland’s Aranya would be inaccurate.
Just look at the band’s latest release: It occupies only one side of
this vinyl- and download-only record—the other half belongs to
California’s Speed of Darkness—but manages to pack enough mythology into
18 dense minutes to power several hours worth of Tolkien film
adaptations. Shit, the group even invented its own deity, for crying out
loud! Farabequah is, according to singer Uta Plotkin (also of local
doom-metal vets Witch Mountain), a goddess representing the relationship
between home and homelessness, and the three songs on the album bearing
Her name—connected by interludes of ritualistic chanting—are designed
to “[lure] the listener down an ornamented path into the heart of a dark
forest” and, on the concluding “The Thing Devours, Glutton, Gorger,”
into an encounter with a Lovecraftian beast “of scale and fur.” That’s
quite ambitious for what amounts to an EP, but Tyler Kellogg’s bouldered
slabs of hard-rock guitar, chugging underneath strains of sorrowful
viola and Plotkin’s ice-storm of a voice, turns what you’d think would
be a tossed-off batch of tunes into a sprawling and, yes, epic journey.
SEE IT: Aranya plays Club 21, 2035 NE Glisan St., with Order of the Gash and Creature Guts on Friday, Dec. 14. 9 pm. Free. 21+.