Thursday, April 2
House of Blues Hollywood
Testament and Exodus have remained two of the most enduring acts from the ‘80s Bay Area thrash scene that lured Metallica away from Los Angeles at the start of their career. Testament’s most recent album, 2012’s Dark Roots of Earth, showcases a band that has firmly regained its groove after a hiatus at the beginning of the millennium. Exodus was re-energized on 2014's Blood In, Blood Out by the return of on-again, off-again vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza, whose snarls are are still as angry as ever.
Sunday, April 5
Vocalist Uta Plotkin lobbed a hell of a last pitch on her final album with Portland doom-metallers Witch Mountain, 2014’s Mobile of Angels. The group laid down the heaviest Sabbath-style riffage of their career, while Plotkin also hit new highs on the sultry bellows with which she helped Witch Mountain rise above their contemporaries. Judging from her early performances, new vocalist Kayla Dixon has a slightly bluesier register to her voice, but it is a voice equally as powerful as Plotkin's.
Friday, April 10
This L.A. act puts together a bruising interpretation of the Isis-blueprinted post-metal sound on their debut album, Saros. Wovoka’s musical volleys are both panoramically expansive and crushingly claustrophobic. Visions of the 2013 hallucinogenic historical drama, A Field In England, come to mind thanks to the band’s sprawling soundscapes.
Saturday, April 18
Daniel Dismal is best known in today’s Los Angeles scene as the mastermind behind underground metal promoters Church of the 8th Day, but from the mid-'90s until 2007 he served as lead vocalist for local act Crematorium. The group’s relentless and pummeling assaults on albums like 2005’s The Process of Endtime saw groove-oriented death metal welded together with a hardcore ethos. This one-off reunion is being promoted as a final show, putting Crematorium officially to rest for good.
Sunday, April 19
Doom metal is a genre that prides itself on being the sludgiest and most depressive strain of metal in existence. This pack of English metallers continued to build their reputation as the sludgiest of them all on 2014’s Time to Die. Drowning listeners in fuzzed-out rumbles for the last two decades, Electric Wizard looks to make their fans feel intense vibrations throughout their entire bodies on their first U.S. tour in over a decade. The word “epic” gets overused, but Electric Wizard is one act where it's genuinely appropriate.
Friday, April 24
This Utah act got the 2015 metal year off to a sword-raisingly triumphant start with their debut album, The Revenant King. Visigoth specialize in kick-ass wizards-and-warriors metal — without a tongue in cheek to be found — resulting in one of the best hit-the-ground-running debuts in recent memory. Their sound is equally reminiscent of heavier ‘80s Judas Priest and Viking metal acts like Amon Amarth. Vocalist Jake Rogers shines with an infectious style similar to the lower registers Rob Halford uses when he’s not screaming for vengeance.
Wednesday, April 29
Hard rockers that prefer their bands to be burly and bearded rejoiced when this show got announced. On 2014’s Once More 'Round the Sun, Mastodon continued to evolve their massive psychedelic-tinged sludge into a wicked brew with some prog-rock touches. In the end, however, their sound still appeals more to fans of Motorhead than of Rush. Clutch has built a 20-year career out of weaving heady lyrics about science fiction and conspiracy theories around some of the heaviest and catchiest blues-rock to be found, most recently on 2013's Earth Rocker.
Thursday, April 30
Whisky A Go Go
Both of these acts are cornerstones of the thrash revival in the Los Angeles scene. Warbringer hit the ground running with their 2008 debut War Without End, a throwback to angry mid-‘80s thrash in both style and production. Lineup changes have been a constant with the group, but vocalist John Kevill’s barks have remained ferocious throughout the years. Exmortus took a little longer to gain momentum, but their 2014 effort Slave to the Sword is an excellent slice of thrash laced with neoclassical shred guitar.
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Correction: An earlier version of this article wrongly identified Witch Mountain as being from Seattle. They are from Portland.