When: Sat., Feb. 25, 9 p.m. 2012
A vibrant and intellectually restless progressive metal band founded in 2004 by brothers Dan and Rob Sullivan, Arriver specializes in producing what are more or less books in musical form. The local four-piece's debut, the 2006 full-length Vanlandingham and Zone, was practically an epic sci-fi novel, complete with elaborate world building—which was allegedly inspired when a piece of voice-recognition software pulled a creepy ghost-in-the-machine routine and spontaneously generated the core text of that world's mythology. Their follow-up, the 2010 EP Simon Mann, was all about a failed 2004 coup in Equatorial Guinea, led by the British mercenary whose name gives the record its title. And this show is a release party for the amazing new Tsushima (Bloodlust!), a retelling of a 1905 naval battle during the Russo-Japanese war that all but destroyed the Russian fleet, which had been weakened by a voyage around Africa. Arriver seem to acknowledge the courage and perseverance involved in such a battle with their eruptions, interludes, and grand pillars of riffage, but their sonic fury rests on an undercurrent of righteous anger provoked by the tragedy and futility of war. It's a testament to the genius of this band that they can turn a subject you might dismiss as interesting only to military-history nerds and war gamers into something that can grab you by the throat—at least if you can use your head and bang it at the same time. —Monica Kendrick Anatomy of Habit and the Swan King open.