Thursday, Jan. 7
This San Antonio trio throws its hat into the atmospheric black metal ring, but not before caking it in layers of caustic crust. Existing in the happy medium between Deafheaven and Portland crusties Tragedy, Haunter also throws in a small touch of math-y technicality to dizzy the ears of listeners just a little bit more. Based on their output so far — two EPs and a split — the band’s first full-length could be one of the more promising upcoming releases of 2016.
Saturday, Jan. 9
Show Your Scars Festival
This all-day fest succeeds at filling the something-for-everyone quota. Virginia thrashers Municipal Waste will perform their 2005 breakthrough Hazardous Mutation in its entirety and rouse the crowd with odes to beer, pizza and horror movies. Fans of extreme metal history will be placated by performances from pioneering grindcore acts Repulsion and Terrorizer L.A and costumed splatter-thrashers Ghoul. The newest wave of rising L.A. underground acts will also be well-represented thanks to the NWOBHM-worship of Night Demon, the blackened death metal of Gravehill and the guttural death of Skeletal Remains.
Saturday, Jan. 16
This filthy Oakland quintet specializes in an abrasive doom stew on their 2014 tape Agglomeration MMXIV. The influences of the Bay Area crust-punk scene soak through on the sludgy riffs of guitarists Leo and Bryce, and the band’s misanthropic tunes are filtered through the razor-gargling growls of the vocalist known simply as Sean. This is ugly-sounding doom without any majesty lurking anywhere. A listener could hear this and easily imagine grime oozing out of every pore of the band administering this din.
Friday, Jan. 22
All Them Witches
This Nashville quartet continues to hone its brand of hypnotic psych-metal on their newest record, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker. While not as heavy as the rest of the bands featured this month, All Them Witches' mastery of the art of kicking out the jams makes their inclusion here plenty justifiable. There are times where the riffage on display locks the listener into a trance-like groove similar to San Diego psych giants Earthless and space-rock legends Hawkwind. There are also moments where they are not afraid to rock out like Kyuss.
Sunday, Jan. 24
Vision of Disorder
Whisky A Go Go
This New York act cranked out three stellar metalcore records in the late ‘90s and broke up in 2002, shortly before the subgenre exploded thanks to bands like Killswitch Engage. Vision of Disorder was a bit more raw than the bands that would take the sound to greater popularity, but the brute force of their metallic hardcore attack makes their older records more timeless. Their newest effort, Razed to the Ground, is their second record since reuniting in 2008, and perhaps the most purely metallic of their career.
Wednesday, Jan. 27
This bill is one of the more unpleasantly noisy lineups of the month. Norwegian act 1349 has explored every extremity of the black metal spectrum throughout their 15 years of recorded output. Their most recent effort, 2014’s Massive Cauldron of Chaos, is an appropriately titled collection of the thrashier extremes of the genre. The chaos perpetrated by Brooklyn’s Tombs on their 2014 Savage Gold is a haunting concoction full of hard left turns through roads paved with blackened death metal and atonal post-punk flourishes.
Friday, Jan. 29
Los Angeles act Gypsyhawk put out two solid slabs of Thin Lizzy-worshipping heavy rock before disbanding last year. Former Gypsyhawk guitarist Erik Kluiber has regrouped and taken over vocal and bass duties with his newest project, Ironaut. The power trio’s hard-rocking output is more meat-and-potatoes than the work he has been associated with in the past. Their self-titled EP is loaded with beer-drinking groove-metal that should appeal greatly to fans of acts like ‘90s-era Corrosion of Conformity and Black Label Society.
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Saturday, Jan. 30
This Bay Area black metal act released one of the most artistically ambitious albums of 2015 with their most recent release, All Fours. An entrancing disc of atmospheric black metal tempered by post-hardcore leanings, All Fours showcases a band that is pushing the genre in similar directions as Deafheaven, but trades the shoegaze beauty of that band for a more abrasive layer of dirt and grime. Bosse-de-Nage would have fit as comfortably on the 1980s Touch and Go Records roster as they do on their modern-day label, the extreme-metal-minded Profound Lore Records.