Friday, August 2


The Black Castle

This O.C. outfit eschews the usual SoCal metal influences. Instead, they take their cues from Scandinavian symphonic black metal acts like Dimmu Borgir and filter them through the progressive leanings of modern-day Opeth. Their 2012 debut full-length Blessed He With Boils is a musically ambitious effort pulled off with a dexterity that betrays their youth. The guitars and drums are viciously heavy, but the keyboard melodies explored in between blasts of mayhem are downright beautiful, lending an ethereal air to the proceedings.

Last Chance To Reason; Credit: Jeremy Saffer

Last Chance To Reason; Credit: Jeremy Saffer

Tuesday, August 6

Last Chance To Reason

Whisky A Go-Go

One of the most musically diverse bands in metal today, Maine's Last Chance To Reason has dazzling musicianship that will please fans of progressive metal acts like Cynic and Animals As Leaders. They also expertly pepper in moshing-mad breakdowns to make fans of deathcore acts like Suicide Silence tear the place apart. The group's newest album Level 3 comes out the same day as this show. The group amps up the progressive parts, but there's still enough heavy to get everyone crashing into each other.

Harassor; Credit: Rick Kozik

Harassor; Credit: Rick Kozik

Thursday, August 8


The Handbag Factory

One of the grimiest acts in today's L.A. metal scene, Harassor presents an uncompromisingly morbid vision of the world around them, on albums such as 2012's Hater of Man compilation. The album title pretty much says it all. The group's haunting slabs of filthy black metal are layered in crust and make for an almost suffocating listening experience. This show will see Harassor previewing tracks from their upcoming album Into Unknown Depths, due out later this fall.

The Obsessed; Credit: Al Mojica

The Obsessed; Credit: Al Mojica

Friday, August 9 and Saturday, August 10

The Power of the Riff Festival

The Echo and The Echoplex

The fourth annual installment of this fest expands to two days this year. There are many acts we are excited about — including local thrash legends Hirax and Seattle powerviolence madmen Iron Lung — but we are most stoked for headliners The Obsessed. After leaving doom-metal legends Saint Vitus in the '80s, vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich returned to his original band. The Obsessed put out three killer albums in the early '90s that were not as doomy or punk as Saint Vitus, but still rocked very heavily and carry great influence to this day.

Howl; Credit: Andrew Fladeboe

Howl; Credit: Andrew Fladeboe

Wednesday, August 14

Howl, Lord Dying

Five Stars Bar

On their newest album Bloodlines, Providence's Howl delivers with bludgeoning force the same monstrous riffs that drove early efforts from Mastodon and High On Fire, but have a darker and more sinister aesthetic in their lyrical efforts. This makes them a perfect fit for tourmates (and labelmates) Lord Dying. The Portland group's debut Summon The Faithless is a caustic blend of heavy doom riffs and a dirty thrash grime. You can literally feel the sweat and dirt dripping off this one.

Sunday, August 18

The Funeral Pyre

Five Stars Bar

Vocalist John Strachan has spent the last year as the new frontman for vitriolic hardcore greats Early Graves. On this night though, he returns to his original group, SoCal blackened-thrashers The Funeral Pyre. The roots of The Funeral Pyre are more grounded in traditional black metal, with not a single breakdown to be found. Albums such as 2010's Vultures At Dawn revel in blood-curdling mayhem. Strachan shreds his vocal chords so much that you wonder how he has any voice left.

Deafheaven; Credit: Randi Sumner

Deafheaven; Credit: Randi Sumner

Friday, August 23


The Echoplex

One of our contenders for metal album of the year, Deafheaven's Sunbather is a wedding of beauty and beast. Outbursts of blasting black metal are tempered by gorgeous post-rock atmospherics. Drummer Daniel Tracy puts in what may be the finest percussion performance in metal this year. The screams of George Clarke would already be haunting on any other album, but the beauty of the shoegaze-inspired guitar work behind him just makes the entire framework just a little more chilling.

See also: Deafheaven is the Black Sheep of Black Metal

Wintersun; Credit: Nana Simelius

Wintersun; Credit: Nana Simelius

Monday, August 26


House of Blues Sunset Strip

Finland's Wintersun put on a show last year that was one of our favorite sets of 2012. The incredible ambition of band leader Jari Maenpaa displayed on their 2012 album Time I translated very well to the live setting. His brand of melodic death metal is deeply layered. Folk metal influences and symphonic beauty are weaved in, amplifying the scope of what Wintersun pulls off. Sweeping guitar solos and tasteful keyboard work makes for one of the more spectacularly grandiose metal efforts in recent years.

See also: The Best Los Angeles Metal Shows of 2012

Follow us on Twitter @LAWeeklyMusic, and like us at LAWeeklyMusic.

Follow Jason Roche on Twitter @JasonRocheLAW.

The 20 Greatest Metal Albums in History

Top Ten Awesomely Absurd and Absurdly Awesome Clutch Lyrics

Five '70s Metal Bands Who Are Better Than Black Sabbath

Top 20 Sexiest Female Musicians of All Time

LA Weekly