Shadow of the Torturer Lead Portland to Its Doom
Doom titans Shadow of the Torturer‘s vocalist and axeman extraordinaire Mike Brown wasn’t always an acolyte of the heavy. He mused to Noisecreep, “I was the first drummer in H.C. Minds, and I think I unknowingly played doom thinking it was industrial music?”
In fact, it wasn’t until former bandmate Ismu introduced him to one Tim Call and the two formed Portland sludge fiends Aldebaran that Brown truly felt the call and, as he said, “I have been a doom junkie every since!”
So what is it about monolithic riffs and staggering tempos that gets Brown’s amps humming? “I love to perform doom! I love the befuddled look on the people’s faces when the stand by on the amp is released and screaming contortions of perfectly low tuned madness! The slow motion head banging! The vacant stares! It is very different than performing … any other music. I love the teamwork that a band must have to play slow music,” he enthused. “I love the raw expression and the intense emotion that this type of music creates inside your mind.
“Plus there is a certain beauty of tone that other music is just too busy to reflect. The ring of a cymbal or a guttural moan of a cranked bass rig, I feel people key into the desolation of one’s own personality, doom allows you to explore the most painful and morose side of the mind in a controlled musical environment. You are not going from song to song quickly, you can milk and enjoy every bit of each note right along with the band as you listen.”
Shadow of the Torturer hail from the fertile green Northwest; Portland, Ore. to be exact. They count themselves as lucky to share the clean mountain air with so many other killer bands. Brown’s not sure what it is about the area that spawned such a vivid music scene, but it sure ain’t something in the water. “The grayness of winter mixed with incredible weed is my best guess. Seriously, I think that Portland, Ore. just thrives on metal. It really creates a pulse for Seattle and other [Pacific Northwest] cities, and it brings punks, crusties, doomers and metalheads out on an equa,l leveled playing field,” he said.
Brown admitted that, like any scene, the world of Portland doom does have its flaws, but the city still stands a shaggy head and shoulders above most of the competition. “There are a lot of bands who simply are riding the wave of doom popularity out here, but of course there are a few personal faves,” Brown said. “Even though I am no longer the frontman for Aldebaran, I am still a huge fan of the band and have been humbled by them often. There is of course the mighty Yob, they have been a doom entity that may never be equaled. I have heard rumors of wicked bands like Samothrace and Feedling, as well.”