Friday, December 6
For the last 20 years, Peruvian quartet Mortem have made some of the best metal to come out of South America. Their uncompromising approach to brutal death metal is very raw, and their works like 2005's De Natura Daemonum are very powerful. They don't release many full-length albums, but it's definitely “quality over quantity” with these guys.
Tuesday, December 10
Earlier this year, New England progressive metallers Fates Warning released Darkness Descends In A Different Light, their first effort in nine years. The group has returned to a comfortable groove; potential over-indulgences are reigned in by tight songwriting. This isn't brutal by any stretch of the imagination, but there is still plenty of excellent riffage for a headbanger to wrap his or her head around.
Thursday, December 12
High On Fire, Kvelertak, Windhand
The heaviest riffs of the month will likely be at this show. Oakland's High on Fire continues to be a beast in the live setting, with no end in sight for their beefy “Motorhead on steroids” sound. Norway's Kvelertak is still building their rep as the finest party-hardcore band on the planet. Their aggressive riffs are caked in catchy hooks. Virginia's Windhand bring the bottom end, with thunderous doom that ripples through your body.
Saturday, December 14
Highland is a rising force in L.A.'s burgeoning black metal scene. Their 2013 self-titled EP is full of twists and turns that feature both musicality and brute force. On record, the gargoyle-esque screams of vocalist/guitarist Gevork Matevosyan provide a strong front for the group's relentlessness and dexterity. On stage, his vocals take on even more power; his eyes and face contort as if he is trying to suppress the demons that are lurking inside of him.
Saturday, December 14
The tech-death genre has become very saturated over the last few years. But on their most recent release, 2012's Formshifter, Colorado's Allegaeon proved that there is still plenty of life left in the field.
The frantic drumming and guitars contained within are simply massive-sounding. The group manages to avoid the pitfalls of many newer bands in the genre by not letting sets of riffs and drums linger for too long, changing things up enough to keep the pit constantly moving.
Friday, December 20
These Venice pioneers were among the first to wed hardcore punk and metal into one blistering sound. It may now be old-hat to put those two forces together, but Suicidal Tendencies still sound as impactful now as they did then. Crossover classics like “Institutionalized” and “War Inside My Head” mght make you want to retreat to the balcony for safety and watch the massive pit form.
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