Friday, September 13
For many months, "The Battle of San Bernardino" has been the most hotly anticipated metal concert of the summer. The undercard of thrash titans Megadeth, Anthrax and Testament is mighty impressive, but the main reason 45,000 metalheads are making the trek to the amphitheatre is to see almighty British metal legends Iron Maiden. Even at their advanced age, the group is still an incredibly powerful live presence that puts most younger bands to shame, and the "air raid siren" vocals of Bruce Dickinson still soar strongly.
Saturday, September 14
A Tribute To Jesse Pintado
When then-Terrorizer guitarist Jesse Pintado laid down his caustic riffs on the L.A. group's 1989 debut album World Downfall, it helped trigger a wave of explosion in the subgenre of grindcore. Pintado's moshable grooves were a big part in that album's influence, as well as his later work with U.K. great Napalm Death. Pintado passed away in 2006, and so on this day, such fellow grindcore pioneers as Nausea (with fellow Terrorizer member Oscar Garcia on vocals) and Repulsion share the stage with local death-metal veterans Sadistic Intent to pay tribute to their fallen brother-in-metal.
Tuesday, September 17
These Boston-based metal misfits are building their reputation on breakneck anthems full of crust-punk laden thrash metal. The group's newest album Doomed To Destroy, Destined To Die is a major leap both in production values and overall song structure. It is nearly impossible not to headbang along, but Ramming Speed tempers its thirst for pure heaviness with some catchy shout-along choruses and incredible guitar shredding from the duo of Kallen Bliss and Blake Chuffskin.
Sunday, September 22
Richmond's Windhand plays bone-rumbling stoner doom that worships at the altar of genre legends like Sleep and Saint Vitus. The band does just enough though to make the sound its own -- separating itself from the here today, gone tomorrow clones. The group's new album Soma is both full of fantastically psychedelic guitar work and full of hooks. The haunting vocals of Dorthia Cottrell would be equally at home in the '70s Sabbath worship scene and the '90s shoegaze scene.
Tuesday, September 24
German power-trio Kadavar harkens back to the days when the phrase "metal" was used to describe feedback-drenched '70s acts such as Blue Cheer. The group's second album Abra Kadavar stands alongside beastly throwback-metal albums from acts such as Graveyard and Witchcraft, with perhaps more of an emphasis on the rock. There may not be any blastbeats or death growls from these guys, but the jams they bring are still incredibly heavy, reminiscent of what it might have been like if The Who jammed out with Black Sabbath during each band's glory days.
Friday, September 27
Between The Buried And Me
This North Carolina quintet continues to push the boundaries of metal on albums such as 2012's The Parallax II: Future Sequence. The group has made a decade-plus career out of expanding the subgenres of hardcore and death metal with progressive-rock overtones. As the band's career continues, the members never fully settle into one single groove. All of these disparate sounds would sound like a jumbled mess in lesser hands, but Between The Buried And Me puts enough thought and care into every aspect of its sound that everything blends together into one smoothly wicked brew.
Saturday, September 28
Norway's Shining evolved over the course of a decade from a fairly quiet jazz act into a sonically pulverizing industrial-metal beast. 2010's breakout album Blackjazz was a chaotic cacophony that assaulted the ears of listeners with a sensory overload of industrial keyboards, drumming simultaneously influenced by jazz and black metal, the sounds of actual air raid sirens, and the tortured screams of band leader Jorgen Munkeby. Its 2013 album One One One is somewhat more straightforward, but it still retains enough chaos that fans are looking forward to their first-ever L.A. appearance.
Saturday, September 28 & 29
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Few bands have helped birth two distinct metal scenes. England's Carcass helped birth the goregrind scene with its bloody 1988 debut Reek of Putrefaction, but later streamlined its sound in favor of melodic death metal on 1993's Heartwork. The group's legend only grew during a hiatus from 1995 to 2008. Carcass has thankfully retained the venom and pure power of past output on Surgical Steel, its first album in eighteen years. The group envelopes the listener with a wave of fantastic melodic death metal that makes it feel like the last 18 years of mostly inferior bands diluting the sound never happened.
Follow Jason Roche on Twitter @JasonRocheLAW.