Oakland's Neurosis have spent 25 years crafting haunting eight-to-ten minute opuses; their tracks slowly build until they explode in an emotional crescendo. Band leaders Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till tell harrowing tales of apocalyptic plagues and other disasters. The band only performs live once every few years, so this will be a rare opportunity to enjoy some of the most emotionally-crushing metal around.Sat, Jan 5
This bill is loaded with talented Los Angeles metal bands, but we're most intrigued right now by the technical thrash of Exmortus. There is a more progressive bent to the musicianship on display here than from other newer thrash bands. When it's time to shred, however, guitarist/vocalist Conan puts together blazing solos that complement his guttural barks quite nicely, as on their 2011 album Beyond The Fall Of Time.Sun, Jan 6
Castle, Behold! The Monolith
Castle's 2012 album Blacklands was a fantastic burst of Saint Vitus-inspired doom thrash. Their take on the doom metal sound doesn't revel in the slow dirges found elsewhere within the genre. Instead, Castle crafts hard rockers built around some of the catchiest riffs which, alongside the rasps of vocalist/bassist Elizabeth Blackwell, help the band stand out. Be sure to get there early for local favorites Behold! The Monolith.
Pantera frontman Philip Anselmo has worked on numerous projects since his famous group's demise. But his first love will always be Down. A collaboration with members of Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity and Eyehategod, they've made their mark by cranking out metallic rock that packs much soul. There is a more laid-back Southern vibe to what they do, but there's still plenty of power here to get a pit going.