Sun, Dec 9
Gravehill, Behold! The Monolith
On December 9th the spiked leather armband crowd and the bearded denim vest crowd will gather together…at a go-go club. Orange County's Gravehill plays to the former with uncompromising, blackened thrash metal with a bludgeoning focus on brutality over musicianship. L.A.'s Behold! The Monolith plays to the latter with a more elaborate concoction of sludgy stoner-doom, flavored with slight prog-rock leanings. These are two different approaches to metal, but both are pretty damn well-executed.
Tues, Dec 11
3 Inches of Blood, Huntress
Song titles like “Metal Woman” and “Rock In Hell” should tell you all that you need to know about British Columbia's 3 Inches of Blood, a gig from whom is an opportunity to celebrate the power of metal. A great compliment to the headliner will be support act Huntress, local upstarts whose approach is a little more focused on the swords-and-sorcery aspect of heavy metal imagery.
Wed, Dec 12
The Sword, Gypsyhawk
Austin's The Sword received a backlash from die-hard metal fans following their 2006 debut Age Of Winters; their straight-forward brand of Sabbath-worship was quite loved by hipsters, oddly enough. On subsequent albums (including new one Apocryphon) however, they have evolved into a very confident band that is still grounded in the Sabbath textbook, but adds just enough variety to call their sound their own. Be sure to get there early for local favorites Gypsyhawk.
Thur, Dec 13
Australia's Vomitor is like a '70s exploitation horror flick. The death metal on their newest album The Escalation is filthy and grimy; in fact, it's a little unsettling. At times, their music sounds like someone dropped an old '80s death metal demo cassette in the toilet, fished it out, and pressed play. But much like that exploitation flick that freaks us the fuck out, we're compelled to watch anyway.
Thur, Dec 20
High On Fire
Oakland's High On Fire has made an impressive, decade-plus career of melding thrashy stoner metal and sludge doom. They sound like Motorhead on steroids. Off-stage issues derailed the band earlier this year when band leader Matt Pike entered rehab to treat alcoholism. But reviews of the band's shows since Pike exited rehab indicate that the power trio has been, well, on fire. L.A. fans who have been waiting anxiously for months to hear material from the band's new album De Vermis Mysteriis live should be pleased.
Sat, Dec 22
O.C. thrash legends Hirax never broke huge nationally, but in the '80s Southern California metal fans often considered them in discussions of thrash's “Next Four.” Nowadays vocalist Katon W. De Pena is still a powerful presence live, often outperforming and outworking vocalists half his age. Cleveland's Midnight will have a tough task trying to keep up, but the Venom-worship found on their 2011 album Satanic Royalty is so pummeling, we're looking forward to seeing them try.
Follow Jason Roche on Twitter @JasonRocheLAW.