Monday, February 2
Five Star Bar
From 1995 to 2004, this Swedish black metal act engaged in pursuits of pure musical blasphemy, most notably on their 1995 self-titled debut and 2004’s World Collapse. Intermittent activity in the years since has resulted in no new musical output, and bassist Kolgrim — aka “The Killer” — is the only original member in the current touring lineup. But with members of Watain rounding out rest of the lineup, this incarnation of Unpure has a strong shot at matching the ferocity of the group’s recordings.
Friday, February 13
East 7th St. Punx
Volahn mastermind Eduardo Ramirez eschews the traditional black metal tropes of Satanic imagery on his newest album Aq’Ab’Al. Instead, the Southern California native pays tribute to his Mayan ancestry with progressive black metal jams that can leave a listener physically and emotionally drained by their conclusion. Interludes featuring traditional Mayan instrumentation are but a mere respite from the primal rawness of what Ramirez brings to the table. The end result is a powerful black metal effort that leaves metal fans with a very substantive listening experience.
Saturday, February 14
This L.A. act has evolved into a technical death-metal powerhouse that is equally dexterous in their technicality and relentlessness. Vocalist/guitarist Charles Elliot channels very harsh demons with his abrasive vocal performance on their newest work, Obsolescence. Drummer Scott Fuller makes a strong case for being one of the most underrated drummers in modern metal with his performance. While the group is a product of the current Los Angeles metal scene, their overall approach to the death metal genre will please fans of legacy acts like Obituary and Suffocation.
Tuesday, February 17
Call of the Void
Five Star Bar
These Colorado miscreants put together a corrosive metallic blend from elements of crust-punk, dirty grindcore, sludge, and whatever the hell you would call what Mastodon were doing on their 2002 debut, Remission. There is no break from the pummeling the group lays down on their new album, Ageless. The record will have been out for only a week by the time this show happens, but we’re pretty confident that the new songs will nonetheless induce a very violent frenzy in the pit.
Wednesday, February 18
Whisky A Go-Go
This Scottish brigade of pirate-metallers is a testament to digging in your heels when you have a good thing going. Their fourth album Sunset on the Golden Age continues the group’s penchant for keytar-laden folk metal odes to sailing the seas and getting rip-roaring drunk while doing it. In the live setting, vocalist/keytarist Christopher Bowes is a charismatic carnival barker, leading the crowd in singing along drunkenly with anthems like “Surf Squid Warfare” and “Nancy the Tavern Wench.”
Friday, February 20
The Regent Theater
More than 20 years into their career, Machine Head leader Robb Flynn continues to be one of the most powerful songwriting forces in metal. The Bay Area group’s newest effort, Bloodstone & Diamonds, is full of ambitiously sprawling six-to-seven minute efforts that take many twists and turns, but retain the same power that won over metal fans on their 1994 debut, the groove-metal opus Burn My Eyes. This show, a special “Evening With” event with no openers, will showcase Flynn’s ability as an energetic live performer.
Sunday, February 22
House of Blues Hollywood
There exist few bands in any genre putting out relevant albums that stand against earlier efforts from decades prior. Napalm Death helped birth the chaotic grindcore genre with their 1986 debut Scum, but newest album Apex Predator – Easy Meat showcases an act that may be aging, but still has plenty of venom left to spew. Their brand of metallic mayhem has evolved into something a little more moshable, but their sense of organized chaos is still very much intact.
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Friday, February 27
Cold Blue Mountain
This Northern Californian group specializes in cinematic post-metal soundscapes that evoke some of the heavier moments of acts like Pelican. But on their most recent album, Old Blood, it’s the paint-stripping screams of vocalist Brandon Squyres that lend the group an extra dose of panicked atmosphere, setting them apart from also-rans in the subgenre. The promo photo above shows a band on horseback. Their music gives credence to conspiracy theories that there were actually Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse.