[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+.