While Insomnium ruled the night, it was the locals who made a big splash.  Everyone was waiting to hear Winter’s Gate, but as is not often the case, the buzz in the venue was for the debut show of Ligature Marks.

Up first was locals Divitius.  Female fronted metal done well.  With a new drummer in tow, Divitius laid down a solid set.

Up next was the much anticipated Ligature Marks.  Kyle Baltus of 36 Crazyfists and local bassist, rock star, and video producer Karl Whinnery make up the rhythm section of this new band.  This, their maiden show, they absolutely killed it.  This band will go places, not just because of who’s in it, rather, because they are extremely talented musicians, heavy as shit, and big supporters of the scene.

Portland favorites Von Doom made a big appearance, but they always do.  Always fun, always professional, always personable, always flawless.  Heavy, bouncy, groovy, the men of Von Doom are some of my favorite people.

Separation of Sanity was the final local before the headliners performed.  I had the privilege of standing next to bassist/back up vocalist Ivar’s tween son.  And, it was a pleasure to see him light up when he was his dad play.  I watched him beam with pride, telling everyone, “That’s my dad!”  They don’t play often, but when they do, it’s magical.  The intensity that Jason X puts into every show is inspiring.  It was at this moment, after they played Prong’s “Snap Your Finger Snap Your Neck,” that the slightly lackluster crowd went into full mosh mode.

Oceans of Slumber took it down a notch or 10, but they bridged the gap nicely between the local metal acts and Insomnium.  Metal elitists and metal fans joined together and took in the beauty of Oceans of Slumber.  Their brand of progressive metal blended beautiful with the somber and mysterious vocals; the quality of her voice is hauntingly beautiful.

Insomnium, full of ambiance, thrilled the crowd with Winter’s Gate parts 1-7, followed by Primeval Dark, While We Sleep, Revelation, Killjoy, Weather the Storm, Ephermeral, The Promethean Song, Only One Who Waits. The intimate connection between band and fans was a rare experience.  While they played a long set, the audience wanted more.