The Best Los Angeles Metal Shows to See in May

Inter Arma
Inter Arma
Tony Lynch

Friday May 1
Inter Arma
Complex
This Virginia quintet effortlessly shape shifts from caustic black metal to stoner-doom and back on albums such as 2013’s Sky Burial. All of this is done on sprawling, post-metal compositions that display a level of musicianship normally reserved for prog-metal circles. The sweeping riffs of guitar duo Trey Dalton and Steven Russell provide a great backdrop for the paint-stripping screeches of vocalist Mike Paparo.

Cavalera Conspiracy
Cavalera Conspiracy
Courtesy of Napalm Records

Monday May 4
Cavalera Conspiracy
House of Blues Hollywood
Metal fans still crave a reunion of the classic Sepultura lineup, but a nice consolation prize came when the brothers Cavalera — Max and Igor — rejoined forces in 2008 as Cavalera Conspiracy. A ferocious and thrashy beast is present on records like 2014’s Pandemonium, which contains some of the duo’s angriest work in years. The group’s live sets are also a fantastic trip through the Cavalera brothers' entire career, with a set list full of songs from Sepultura, Cavalera Conspiracy and even Nailbomb.

Ensiferum
Ensiferum
Ester Segarra

Wednesday May 6
Ensiferum, Korpiklaani
House of Blues Hollywood
Both of these acts come from the Finnish folk-metal scene, but each has its own distinct sound. On their newest album, One Man Army, Ensiferum uses the folk elements and instrumentation as extra frosting on a ripper of a record that contains tales of battle and war similar to Viking metal acts like Amon Amarth. On their newest album, Noita, Korpiklaani continue to sound like a heavy metal party in the woods, with violins and accordions lacing jaunty, Finnish-language songs about Scandinavian spirituality and beer.

Elder
Elder
Harry Gould Harvey

Thursday May 7
Elder
Harvard & Stone
If Led Zeppelin did an album full of nothing but their proggier jam-outs like “Achilles Last Stand,” the vibe would be similar to what you get from New England trio Elder on their newest record, Lore. Songs clock in at 10 to 15 minutes, but the group’s massively powerful riffs and orchestrations are so mesmerizing that the songs fly by and the barrage of rock never feels excessive. Within Elder’s cosmic-based aesthetic lurks a sound heavy enough to appeal to fans of heavier stoner-metal acts like High on Fire.

Anaal Nathrakh
Anaal Nathrakh
Courtesy of Metal Blade Records

Tuesday May 12
Anaal Nathrakh
Complex
The masterminds behind Anaal Nathrakh specialize in a sound that can be best classified as simply terrifying. Vocalist Dave Hunt and guitarist/bassist/drummer Mick Kenney are the core duo behind a dizzying whirlwind blending black metal and grindcore with an atomic blast of the industrial metal that their hometown of Birmingham, England is known for. Their latest work, 2014’s Desideratum, is absolutely bludgeoning from start to finish.

Goatsnake
Goatsnake
Samantha Muljat

Wednesday May 20
Goatsnake
Complex
Featuring Southern Lord Recordings founder Greg Anderson on guitar and ex-members of The Obsessed and Scream, Goatsnake cranked out two impressive slabs of fuzzed-out stoner-doom around the turn of the millennium. 1999’s Vol. 1 and 2000’s Flower of Disease are still fine standout examples of the genre, but what has us most excited about Goatsnake right now is that after several years of live shows since reuniting in 2010, a new album is finally coming on June 2: Black Age Blues. 

Armored Saint
Armored Saint
Stephanie Cabral

Saturday May 30
Saxon, Armored Saint
House of Blues Hollywood
Metal has many legacy acts that continue to age like fine wine. U.K. group Saxon was part of the late ‘70s/early ’80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement, and classic anthems like “20,000 Feet” still inspire waves of headbanging at their live shows today. L.A. group Armored Saint has made their 30-year career by incorporating the finest elements of thrash metal and commercial hard rock. The pipes of vocalist John Bush (ex-Anthrax) still sound as powerful as ever on their new album Win Hands Down, coming June 2.

Ufomammut
Ufomammut
Andrea Tomas Prato

Sunday May 31
Ufomammut
Complex
This Italian group continues to refine their hypnotically psychedelic doom-metal on new record Ecate. The repetitive drone of Ufomammut’s sludge riffage is laced with spaced-out fuzz effects that evoke a hallucinogenic trip, with just enough twists and turns to keep you a little on edge. Each song builds slowly, lulling listeners into a trance, before it crescendos into a powerful crash of beefy riffs and frantic drumming that leaves even the most hardened stoner-doom fan completely drained.


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