Hold Me … But Not So Tight

Gaytheist is exactly what it sounds like. The Portland trio is part of a growing contingent of heavies—which includes bands Torche and Kylesa—hell-bent on bringing a little fun back to the furrowed-brow set. Led by vocalist-guitarist Jason Rivera (who, as it happens, is gay, and an atheist), Gaytheist isn’t exactly metal, but the band is heavy as it manhandles Pacific Northwest sludge and early ’80s hardcore. Hold Me … But Not So Tight—the fourth full-length—hurls one rawk fireball at you after another over a mere 30 minutes. Even more barbed than the riffs are Rivera’s absurdist lyrics, which are usually funny only because they’re true. The nebulously titled “MANhattan” takes aim at the digital age: “If you dared to say how’s your day, they will cut you down like a stray/ in the streets for interrupting their Tweets.” There’s plenty more of that on songs like “Poocano” and “Elderly Assassin.” The band’s satire-and-riffage formula is more sardonic than silly. But even when things start getting a little serious, just remember: The name of the band is Gaytheist.