Nashville, Tenn.’s Today Is The Day are one of the most terrifying bands to ever emerge from the American South’s metal scene. Where other Southern acts wrote their legacies by tuning low and dropping their tempos to a lethargic crawl, Today Is The Day dug deep into the sonic language of pure madness. Theirs is a sound trademarked by frenetic, spidery guitar riffs and frontman Steve Austin’s blood-curdling howl, all set over crushing low-end rhythm section work and a psychedelic swirl of strange effects and atmospheres. This Friday, the now 23-year-old band will kick off its 2015 tour right here in Portland, at SPACE Gallery with Atlantan freaks Lazer/Wulf and local metallers Shabti and Sylvia.
If you’ve never heard TITD before, perhaps the best introduction would be to drop into Youtube, pull up the video for their 1997 track “Pinnacle” and stand both disturbed and astounded. Trust me, little about the song is safe for work. In a lifetime spent trolling the depths of extreme music, from The Birthday Party to Prurient, from Gorgoroth to Jandek and beyond, I have rarely heard anything quite like this. Austin’s voice is unparalleled in the confines of noise rock and metal, possessing both a bassy low register to his scream and a demonic, larynx-grinding trebly buzz that makes him sound more like an animal painfully transforming into a man than a man at all. His music, too, is alternately hypnotic and scathing, full of disorienting dynamic shifts and hellish instrumental figures that seem to somehow push beyond the limits of what’s normally possible in any given extreme framework. To put it simply, TITD is a band that has to be heard or seen, words can only split the hairs that set the band apart from their peers. It should come as no surprise that an individual as frightening and hardened as Austin is right back on his feet, touring again, after experiencing a near life-threatening car crash in November of last year. On their way to New York from Orland, Maine, where Austin now lives, the frontman’s van was struck from the side by an oncoming vehicle, sending them spinning upside down. Thankfully, both Austin and the band’s merch man, Trevor, survived relatively unscathed. Now, fully recovered both physically and emotionally, Austin and company seemed poised to wreak some real havoc across the country, from Maine to Seattle and back again.
Today is the Day | With Lazer/Wulf, Shabti, and Sylvia at SPACE Gallery | Friday, April 24 | $8 Adv, $10 Dos | Doors 8:00PM, 18+