Arts Desk

If You’re Not Going to the Virgin Fest…

Over the past few years I've learned that there are two genres that I should never recommend to friends who are not already fans: extreme metal and free jazz. The results of forcing this stuff on an unsuspecting listener are nearly always disastrous, if often amusing for all parties.

That said, for anyone not heading off to that big festival this weekend, my show of choice is happening on Sunday at DC9, with a triple-bill of slightly off-the-wall metal groups heavy on virtuosity and complexity. Two of these groups — Mouth of the Architect and Intronaut — mix atmospherics and diverse influences into their punishing sounds, such that they sound a lot like the better-known "post-metal" groups like Isis or Pelican (groups that have a considerable indie cred beyond just the usual metalhead crowd). Intronaut in particular bring a lot of sounds to the table, led by a uniquely fluid, almost funky bassist in Joe Lester, who not coincidentally also used to play with Mouth of the Architect.

It's the third group, the ridiculously named Behold... the Arctopus, that might be a little tougher to swallow. I saw these guys a few years ago and came away completely unsure whether I'd just seen a display of sheer genius or one of absolutely worthless wankery. Centered around Colin Marston's 12-string Warr guitar (the instrument is bigger than the instrumentalist), Behold... do a sort of jazzy technical metal with more notes per song than the other two bands on this bill will play all night, combined. It's all gratuitously excessive yet brilliantly complicated at the same time.

Personally, I'm most excited to see Intronaut, but Behold... is sure to be a head-spinning experience, one way or another.

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