Three-finger salute from a Maine metal act

 

“It says a lot that we would rather play in Portland than our own hometown,” says Holyfilth guitarist Justin Hamm. “People in Portland actually care about music; that’s the difference between the two cities.” The Bangor area metal act will be playing Empire on Saturday night with Portland doom outfit Eastern Spell and New Hampshire rockers American Burn, all as part of the Bearded Brewfest’s epic afterparty. Growing up as a Bangorian myself, Holyfilth’s frustration with the relative lack of opportunity in their area was all too familiar to my ears. “The band itself was pretty much birthed as a middle finger to the stagnant local metal scene in central Maine. We were tired of what was being labeled ‘heavy metal’ in our area, and of bands playing one or two shows a year and playing the same boring Lamb of God riffs,” Hamm says. The band turned to the fertile grounds of British heavy metal in the late seventies and early eighties for inspiration; bands like Venom and Motorhead that still feel fresh and disgusting today. Holyfilth sounds like you rounded up a gaggle of madmen from the set of Heavy Metal Parking Lot, gave them a copy of Anton Lavey’s collected works, and set them free in a fog-filled practice space with the amps all turned up to eleven. “An average practice usually consists of Humpty Dumpty all-dressed chips, ignorant riffs and being goofy assholes,” Hamm says. Despite these typically regressive rawk conditions, the band has a dedication that’s hugely admirable. “We practice in a shed in the woods of Stetson. When it's cold it's extra cold, when it's warm it's too warm. The extreme conditions only strengthen our resolve and make us play even harder.” The band just released an excellent three-song EP, March of the Wicked, in February, and they’re already knee-deep into the process of writing their debut full-length, which Hamm says will be titled Enter the Realm of Eternal Dark Riffery. If the full length’s anything like their early demos, run for the Lemmy-lovin’ hills. As I’ve said before, this band is one of Maine music’s most promising secrets at present. Catch the show, throw up the horns, see what all the fuss is about. — Jakob Battick

Holyfilth, American Burn, Eastern Spell at the CanAm/Bearded Brew Fest After Party Saturday, March 21, 9pm Empire, 21+ $6 admission or free for Bearded Brewfest and CanAm contestants

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