"THE" 10 best LA Metal shows of the year? How dare we? Alright--we're gonna go there. It wasn't easy but after a few hours rummaging through the desk drawer that finds my old drunkenly discarded ticket stubs and wrist bands, backtracking through my paper and computer calendars, and scanning facebook photo uploads I've rounded up the most accurate list possible. Still skeptical? I dare you to find a better metal show. Check out the countdown:
Top 10 Metal Shows in LA in 2010 (in chronological order)
Behemoth @ House of Blues 1/16
A killer way to kick of 2010, Behemoth set the tone early at House of Blues. It's hard to believe that a few months later frontman Adam Darski would be diagnosed with leukemia and seeking a bone marrow transplant.
Arch Enemy @ HOB 2/19
Let's get one thing out of the way, Arch Enemy is one of those bands that reminds you why you got into metal in the first place: Classic, tight and fully badass. Chops that make even most experienced players feel small. To say their songs are well written is like saying the Empire State building is kinda tall. Then there's the live show, everything a metal band should ever be. It's not fair to rule them out of the top shows of the year just because the show this year was as good as their shows in the past--it was cruel, bone rattling and classic metal.
Opeth @ Wiltern 4/9
Anniversary shows were apparently the thing to do this year. Everyone was doing it. Megadeth, Slayer, Killing Joke, Einstürzende Neubauten... oh wait, maybe not everyone. Opeth took part in the wave and unleashed what was probably the most epic of the anniversary shows and played their 20-year-old Blackwater Park album in its sacred entirety at The Wiltern. The show sold out quickly and left many enormously bummed, and well, they should be, since it was easily one of the best shows of the decade.
Amon Amarth & Eluveitie @ HOB 4/10
Amon Amarth was as explosive as a Desert Eagle. It was the closest anybody could get to the savagery of Vikings in modern day LA. Eluveitie opened with their always incredible over the top 8 piece pagan wall of sound. Definitely one of the strongest shows in this list.
Finntroll with Moonsorrow, Swallow the Sun & Survivors Zero @ House of Blues 4/24
Finnish extreme metal outfit Finntroll stepped it up a number of notches. They played fan favorites like "Trollhammeren" and new gems like the particularly barbaric "Solsagan". All of course in their classic and epically entertaining troll-like way.
Alice Cooper/Rob Zombie @ Gibson 9/30
As Zombie and Cooper unleashed every toy they ever had, the ecstatic crowd took over the lower section and total chaos broke out. The Gibson staff tried desperately to manage but were ultimately defeated by the power of metal (with the help of immense quantities of overpriced Budweiser products). It was the ultimate kick-off to the Halloween season.
Slayer/Megadeth/Anthrax @ Gibson 10/21
It was like going back in time 20 years and landing at the best thrash show of your life. Slayer and Megadeth were as incredible as expected as they played their 20 year old albums Seasons in the Abyss and Rust in Piece in their entirety. Anthrax my not have played an anniversary set, but they did play one of the best shows in the band's history.
Combichrist @ Music Box 11/7
The ultimately violent and crude boys arrived in Los Angeles fresh---well, as fresh as a bunch of men off a tour bus for the European circuit with Rammstein can be. The amount of energy in the room from the band and fans could have fueled an inter galactic spacecraft.
Goatwhore & Watain @ Whiskey 11/19
Goatwhore and Watain both brought ruthless Black Metal. Watain also brought a few rotting dead animals with them from Sweden. They also set the stage a blaze when they went on, literally. After the show the Whiskey asked Watain to keep the mic: when the band offered to return it, the venue explained they could never find a safe use for it again.
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Dimmu Borgir & Enslaved @ Galaxy 11/27
Proggy Norwegians Enslaved played 12-minute masterpieces for over an hour, leaving the crowd begging for more when they took their leave. Dimmu Borgir brought props as oversized as their orchestral arrangements (which were being played by keyboardist Geir Bratland, whose resume includes Apoptygma Berzerk and The Kovenant-simultaneously awesome and wtf!) Rather than traditional black they broke out white leather costumes hand-made by Junker Designs more massive and detailed than characters in the Narnia movies. They played every fan favorite as the crowd literally screamed until they collapsed.