Tuesday, March 8
This Buffalo death-metal band was the bane of Christian soccer moms in the early ’90s thanks to the gore-obsessed chaos perpetrated on early works such as 1991’s Butchered at Birth. More than 20 years later, the shock value has worn off, but the band’s expertise at delivering musical brutality has not. Their 2014 effort A Skeletal Domain still features twisted death-metal odes with titles like “High Velocity Impact Splatter,” but those grisly tales are now delivered with the poise and confidence of a veteran act.
Wednesday, March 9
Sumerian Records 10th Anniversary
Los Angeles record label Sumerian Records has been a strong champion of the deathcore and “djent” metal movements, with many of its bands placing more of an emphasis on musical technicality than the majority of their cousins in the deathcore genre. Headliners Born of Osiris play a synthesizer-laden, prog-slanted variant of the tried-and-true deathcore sound, with their latest effort, Soul Sphere, featuring plenty of dexterous guitar work that bludgeons with heaviness as much as it awes with technicality.
Tuesday, March 15
This Los Angeles progressive-sludge group continues to master the balance between earth-shattering heaviness and hypnotic, polyrhythmic complexity on their latest record, The Direction of Last Things. Their newest effort is the band’s most melodic of their decade-long existence, but guitarists Sacha Dunable and Dave Timnick still cake their sound in layers of thunderous riffage. Bassist Joe Lester still remains one of the most criminally underappreciated musicians in the metal scene, laying down rumbling grooves that teeter the line between metallic ferocity and jazz-fueled insanity.
Sunday, March 20
This British trio rains down cacophonous doom metal that is so heavy even the mythical warrior of the same name may tremble at its power. Their newest album, Revengeance, engulfs the listener in roaring metallic thunder, but at times balances that force with warm, catchy guitar tones that hypnotize. Guitarist Jon Davis and bassist Chris Fielding share vocal duties, trading off of each other with tortured shrieks and guttural growls that match the raw power of their riffage.
Wednesday, March 23
This Austin outfit’s latest record, 2015’s High Country, finds the band still expertly slinging updated takes on classic metal and rock sounds, but now the homages are more in the vein of the catchiness of Thin Lizzy than the doom of the almighty Sabbath. There still turn out plenty of straight-up classic rockers, and the band’s heavier early material hasn’t left their set list just yet. But The Sword’s care in balancing the new experimentation within their existing framework makes High Country their most engaging listening experience since their debut a decade ago.
Thursday, March 24
This Los Angeles act’s third album, Times of Pride and Peril, continues to reflect their early ’80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal influences, but the shredding from guitar duo Alex Lee and Eli Santana is firmly in the tradition of Los Angeles guitar icons like Randy Rhoads. The vocals of James-Paul Luna soar in the air-raid siren tradition of greats like Bruce Dickinson, but the band’s modernized take on their influences allows Holy Grail to ride higher than simply being a tribute to bands they like.
Saturday, March 26
Whisky A Go Go
British metal veterans Satan were birthed from the same early-’80s U.K. scene that gave rise to fellow greats like Iron Maiden and Saxon. Their 1983 debut album, Court in the Act, was one of the last great albums from the original wave of bands that paved the way for faster-paced speed metal. Reuniting in 2011 after a 20-year-plus hiatus, the group have not lost their flair for expertly crafted traditional metal on their newest album (and second since reuniting), 2015’s Atom by Atom.
Monday, March 28
Decibel Tour with Abbath
The Regent Theater
One of the founding members of ’90s Norwegian black-metal giants Immortal, Abbath has become more known over the last few years for offstage legal battles with his bandmates than for his music, resulting in his official departure last year. His newest work – released under his own name – sees Abbath successfully steering the focus back to the music with an album full of catchy, fist-pumping black metal anthems that match the standard set by his previous work with Immortal. There are no drastic departures here – just well-done, uncomplicated, Norwegian black-metal goodness.