Venom Inc.
Venom Inc.
Courtesy of Earsplit PR

The Top 5 L.A. Metal Concerts to See in June

5. Venom Inc.
Thursday, June 23
Whisky A Go Go

It's not uncommon for long-running bands to split into dueling entities. Last year, drummer Abaddon, guitarist Mantas and bassist Demolition Man — all of whom have been gone from the Venom fold for many years — formed Venom Inc., a touring act performing Venom songs without iconic vocalist Cronos. Reviews of Venom Inc. live performances so far have been strongly positive, with many Venom fans asserting that this lineup does great justice to the blackened speed metal of genre classics like 1981’s Welcome to Hell. Demolition Man returns to vocals on the abrasive Venom standards, much as he did during a brief time when Cronos left the fold in the early ’90s. All accounts indicate that he settled back into the gig as if he had been shouting out these songs from day one.

4. Taake
Saturday, June 11
The Regent Theater
For more than 20 years, Norwegian musician Hoest has released wave after wave of dissonant black metal under the Taake banner. Playing all instruments on his albums and spewing raspy vocal venom, Hoest presents a Scandinavian black-metal sound that conjures up visions that are entirely in grayscale. That’s not to say that his recorded output is a barrage from start to finish. Taake’s most recent record, 2014’s Stridens Hus, is peppered with flourishes of catchy guitar hooks that place emphasis on the “metal” side of black metal, especially on tracks such as “Orm.” It is this blend of hooks and hammering force that makes Taake stand out from the vast array of corpse-paint–wearing musicians, and what has L.A. metal fans frothing for his first SoCal performance as an after-show (separately ticketed) for the Sound and Fury Festival.

Armored Saint
Armored Saint
Stephanie Cabral

3. Armored Saint
Saturday, June 4
Whisky A Go Go
Birthed out of the Los Angeles metal scene of the early 1980s, Armored Saint made their presence felt thanks to a thrash edge smoothed out by a flair for catchy songwriting and melodic hard rock. From their 1983 self-titled debut EP through 1991’s Symbol of Salvation (which we named one of the “Top 20 L.A. Metal Albums" in 2012), the band’s strong musicianship was enhanced by singer John Bush’s ability to marry a powerful vocal range with a rough, world-weary quality. The group disbanded in 1992 after Bush replaced Joey Belladonna as Anthrax's vocalist, but reconvened for the stellar 2000 reunion album Revelation, and once again became Bush's primary musical outlet after he left Anthrax in 2005. Last year’s Win Hands Down is another excellent slab of anthem-laden metallic goodness, with Bush’s vocals as strong as ever.

Rotten Sound
Rotten Sound
Mika Aalto

2. Rotten Sound, Graf Orlock
Wednesday, June 8
Finland’s Rotten Sound have spent 20 years perpetrating some of the most bludgeoning acts of sonic violence put to record. Their blasts of grindcore fury — most 60 to 90 seconds in length — are packed with chaotic riffs, disorienting blastbeat drumming and vitriolic vocal shouts that could likely strip paint off walls. The title of their newest record, Abuse to Suffer, conjures up a sufficiently nihilistic vision to match the sound. This is music designed to inspire its listeners to barrel through anyone that gets in their way. As if that wasn’t enough sonic violence for the evening, L.A.’s own Graf Orlock will be contributing to the mayhem with their ’80s action-film inspired "cinemagrind," fresh off their newest record, Crime Traveler

The Obsessed
The Obsessed
Courtesy of Relapse Records

1. The Obsessed
Friday, June 3
Scott “Wino” Weinrich is one of the most legendary voices in stoner rock and doom metal. The Obsessed was the first band in which Weinrich plied his trade, though he gained more notoriety for his late-’80s run in pioneering doom-metal legends Saint Vitus. After being shelved for five years, The Obsessed's self-titled debut was finally released in 1990, followed by two more records before the band dissolved in 1995. Since then, The Obsessed have gone on to be almost as influential as Saint Vitus. The sound of later stoner-metal labels like Small Stone has its roots in that power that The Obsessed put forth. Weinrich has put together a new lineup to revisit this era of his career and release a new album under the Obsessed name later this year, and this show should be a good preview of what is to come.

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