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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: October 9, 2017

Maine metal fans won’t have to travel far for two-night festival in Portland

Written by: Ray Routhier
Falls of Rauros will perform in "Into the Aether" at Space Gallery in Portland on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Falls of Rauros

Falls of Rauros will perform in “Into the Aether” at Space Gallery in Portland on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Falls of Rauros

Jon Morse found he was always traveling outside of Maine to hear his favorite underground metal bands. Bands that played sludge metal, doom metal and similar genres weren’t coming to Maine enough for his tastes.

So about four years ago, he started his own music promotion company, Last Mercy Emissions, to give underground metal bands opportunities in Maine. He usually books three or four acts a month.

But this weekend, he’ll fill two Portland clubs with metal bands during an event called Into the Aether. Seven bands will play Geno’s Rock Club Friday, and six will play Space Gallery Saturday.

“I wanted a two-day festival where I could bring in all the bands I’ve been working with and have them play together,” said Morse. “It’s going to be the cream of the crop from underground (metal) bands that people don’t know about.”

The event’s name uses an alternate spelling of the word ether, playing on one of its meanings: the upper regions beyond the clouds.

Five of the bands are from Maine or have Maine members, while the others are from all over New England as well as New York and Pennsylvania.

The lineup Friday includes Maine bands Sylvia, Cadaverette and Come To Grief (one Maine member). Other bands scheduled Friday are Unearthly Trance from New York City, Hexis from Denmark (the country), and Rhode Island bands Sandworm and KINTAAN + The Vomit Arsonist. The Friday show is 21-plus.

The Saturday show at Space is all ages, with a lineup that includes two Maine bands, Falls of Rauros and Rare Storms. The other bands are Anicon and Theologian from New York, Haxen from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and Cemetery Flowers from Philadelphia.

Need a primer? Here’s an entire set from Falls of Rauros:

Come to Grief might be one of the better-known bands in the group, having recently come back from a tour of Germany, Belgium and Denmark. The band also tours around the U.S.

Jonathan Hebert, who lives in Sebago and is the singer for Come to Grief, appreciates Morse’s efforts to bring more underground metal bands to Maine and to promote the genre overall.

“The bands are there, the fans are here, and Jon has been trying to put it all together,” said Hebert.

Into the Aether

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday; 7:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Geno’s Rock Club, 625 Congress St., Portland (on Friday); Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland (on Saturday); Friday 21-plus; Saturday all ages.
HOW MUCH: $13 each night or $20 for both nights

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