Last night, Kings hosted a sold-out crowd for a touring trifecta that brought varying flavors of heaviness.
Portland's Lord Dying opened with a tough blend of trash and doom, its twin guitar attack relentlessly crushing riffs alongside E. Olson's raspy bark. The band only eased up on the pummeling for guitar solo heroics and a cover of "Forget the Minions" by the now-defunct post-hardcore act Karp, which also makes an appearance on Lord Dying's tour-only EP—oddly enough, only 666 copies were pressed.
Savannah's Black Tusk took the stage next in a uniform of beards and muscle tees that left their sleeves covered in ink rather than cotton. Soon thereafter, the lean, muscular trio led off Set the Dial's "Bring Me Darkness" with a chant of "6! 6! 6!" that, perhaps too predictably, had the dude-dominated crowd pumping the air with cans of Modelo and PBR.
Employing a triple vocal attack—with varying degrees of gruffness—over a more straightforward version of the sludgy metal championed by hometown brethren Kylesa and Baroness, Black Tusk's arrangements shifted without warning. Those punishing tunes—about "skulls, fire and all kinds of other cool shit," as they eloquently put it Thursday night—commanded a modest pit by set's end.
When bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam began the first song of Red Fang's set, it was the first time anyone came closer to singing than growling the entire night, though Durham-born guitarist Bryan Giles offered enough vocal grit to offset his clean delivery. Though the Portland quartet's hard rock is melodic and menacing—Bryan C. Reed's comparison with Queens of the Stone Age is apt—it only gets metallic on the occasional breakdown or dirge-like chug.
But the crowd's reaction to the headliners was far more visceral than earlier in the evening, erupting at the opening notes of each song and violently moshing throughout.