While a hyper-introverted genre like blackened folk metal rarely, if ever, gives rise to controversial public figures, John Haughm has consistently proven to be an exception to the rule. As if being the front-man and creative genesis behind Agalloch, one of this century's most beloved and critically acclaimed metal bands, wasn't enough, Haughm's highly controversial decision to break that band up and start from scratch in 2016 was the subject of endless message board hand-wringing. Now, he's back with Pillorian, and its latest record, 2017's "Obsidian Arc," comes across as a more streamlined Agalloch — less concerned with pantheistic atmospherics and focused instead on the fierce, blackened roar that made fans fall in love with Haughm's work so many years ago.
Pillorian will play with Obsidian Tongue, Mavradoxa, and Ancalagon on Friday, May 18, at Photo City Improv, 543 Atlantic Avenue. 9 p.m. $17. facebook.com/photocityimprovcomedyclub; pillorian.bandcamp.com.