Sunday, March 1
Black Sheep Wall
This Los Angeles act changes up the sludgy dirge of stoner-doom metal on their newest album, I’m Going to Kill Myself, by injecting angular chord structures from the post-hardcore template. The paint-stripping vocals of Brandon Gillichbauer live up to the provocativeness of the album title, lending an appropriate air of desperation to every lyric emoted. Despite the shortest tracks on the album being nine minutes long, Black Sheep Wall does a great job of changing the questions when you think you have the answers figured out.
Friday, March 6
El Rey Theatre
This Norwegian act has spent the last 20 years setting the blueprint for bands that start out full of pure black metal mayhem and then transition seamlessly into a well-oiled progressive-metal machine. The group’s newest album, In Times, showcases a band that is continuing to refine the integration of their black metal past with catchy keyboards and guitar solos that stand alongside those from current progressive-metal greats like Porcupine Tree. But unlike their Swedish counterparts Opeth, Enslaved thankfully refuses to completely leave their extreme-metal past behind.
Wednesday, March 11
This German punk-metal duo goes full blast on the dirty din contained on their 2014 debut album, Death by Burning, and manages to pull it off with just a guitar and a set of drums. The massive number of riffs on display should equally please fans of the more punk-oriented end of the black metal spectrum — think more the rawness of Venom than the keyboard-laden theatrics of Emperor — and stoner-rock fans worshipping at the altars of acts such as Fu Manchu.
Tuesday, March 17
Whisky A Go-Go
On their newest album Poisoned Altars, this Portland group summons a wicked brew of heavy doom riffs and dirty thrash grime. Their sound calls to mind other similar greats in the genre like High on Fire, but there is a level of darkness that lends Lord Dying a scarier element to their madness. You can literally hear the sweat and dirt coagulating in their noise with every mighty bellow band leader Erik Olson roars out and every massive riff he throws down on guitar.
Thursday, March 19
Five Star Bar
This on-the-rise L.A. act has a sound as ugly as the source of their name. The phrase “Colombian Necktie” describes a grisly body mutilation where a murder victim’s throat is deeply slit and the victim’s tongue is pulled out through the slit, displaying like a necktie. On their first proper album, 2014’s Twilight Upon Us, the band’s sound is an ugly cacophony of depressive sludge-laden hardcore. The room you are in definitely feels a little dirtier after you have been blasting this for a while.
Saturday, March 21
The grindcore subgenre has been known for the fastest and most chaotic music in extreme metal since its formation in the mid-‘80s. But Pig Destroyer co-founders J.R. Hayes (vocals) and Scott Hull (guitars) continually aim to push everything as chaotic and fast as humanly possible on albums like 2012’s Book Burner, leading to some of the most terrifying-sounding grindcore laid to wax. This show will also have more chaos on display thanks to support performances from local powerviolence favorites ACxDC and Despise You.
Wednesday, March 25
This Las Vegas act shines with their superb approach to heavy stoner-doom on their 2013 debut The Hundredth Name. The band’s compositions have much in common with subgenre icons like Candlemass and Saint Vitus, but vocalist Shanda Fredrick raises the stakes with an ethereal and otherworldly performance that lends an air of the occult to everything that is happening. A follow-up album has yet to come, but with Fredrick continuing to lead the band’s devilish charge, we’re definitely fiending for new material.
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Friday, March 27
At the Gates
This Swedish act pioneered the subgenre of melodic death metal on genre classics like 1995’s Slaughter of the Soul. The band broke up shortly after that album, and gradually over the years the sound got watered down by pretenders to the throne. On their 2014 reunion album At War With Reality, the group doesn’t quite match the enduring greatness of Slaughter. But they still put together a ripper of a record that makes it seem like the last two decades of pretenders never existed.