Saturday, July 4
Author & Punisher
San Diego musician Tristan Shone generates a harsh din on his newest album Melk En Honing. Perfecting a sound that is industrial-metal in both literal and figurative terms, Shone is a mechanical engineer who designs and plays custom-made fabricated instruments that jump out of your worst steampunk-induced nightmares. His musical compositions are harsh doom-metal opuses that substitute discordant synths for the genre's usual droning guitars. Watching Shone lug his apparatuses onstage can be exhausting enough to watch. But to then see him work his concoctions live is awe-inspiring, as he almost disappears inside his machines.
Wednesday, July 8
This Australian act has managed to stay ahead of the technical death metal curve by constantly upping the ante just when other acts catch up to what they are pulling off. On their newest, self-titled record, Psycroptic steers the listener on a tumultuous path of twists and turns through the power of chaotic yet proficient riffage and blastbeat drumming. Joe Haley’s guitar work is dizzying, and we give vocalist Jason Peppiatt credit for coming up with deliveries that are equally frenetic.
Saturday, July 11
Holy Grail, Exmortus
Inglewood-based metal label Prosthetic Records has made a strong investment in the local Southern California scene by signing the acts on this bill. Holy Grail has spent several years putting together a traditional, melodic shred-metal attack that appeals to fans of genre greats like Iron Maiden and Anthrax on albums such as Ride the Void. Exmortus merges the thrash onslaught of acts such as Exodus with a flair for neoclassical swords-and-sorcerers grandiosity on albums such as 2014’s Slave to the Sword.
Thursday, July 16
The progressive slant that American black metal has taken the last few years is nowhere to be found on the 2015 untitled full-length spewed forth by Minneapolis black metal group False. The group is technically proficient, but in the end chaos reigns supreme in the caustic venom generated by their aural assaults. Local rising stars Pendulous put forth an atmospheric death/doom blend on their newest record, A Palpable Sense of Love & Loss. The album title is one of the most appropriate of the year, with vocalist E.R.M. blending gothic croons and harsh growls into a seamless emotional experience.
Saturday, July 18
Five Star Bar
Harassor’s haunting slabs of filthy black metal are layered in crust and make for an almost suffocating listening experience. Their reputation has been built on a lo-fi aesthetic that stands in sharp contrast to where many acts have taken the black metal sound. Harassor’s 2014 album Into Unknown Depths sees the band digging deep into a punk rock swagger, but overall they are still one of the grimiest metal acts in the entire local scene. Your headbanging here will also support a good cause, as this show is a benefit for animal rescue charities FurryTails Rescue and Orange County Pit Bull Rescue.
Saturday, July 25
This Chicago quartet puts together a repetitive yet infectious stoner-doom brew on albums such as 2014’s Miserable, but you probably figured that out from the band name. They execute their familiar sound with such expert precision, however, that Miserable arguably stands as another genre classic alongside the likes of Sleep’s Dopesmoker.
Thursday, July 30
Local boys Night Demon wave the flag of traditional heavy metal high on their newest record, Curse of the Damned. Vocalist/bassist Jarvis Leatherby wields a stage presence that would have seen the band standing tall alongside legendary ’80s heavy metal greats at venues such as London’s Hammersmith Odeon. The band seems to exist in a world where Bruce Dickinson never left Iron Maiden and Rob Halford never left Judas Priest — a world we would be happy to reside in.
Friday, July 31
High on Fire, Lucifer
Oakland’s High On Fire continue to perfect their “Motörhead-on-steroids” sound on their newest record, Luminiferous. Band leader Matt Pike remains one of the most powerful shirtless metal forces on the live stage. What has us most excited about this tour, however, is the U.S. debut of German metal upstarts Lucifer. Their debut record Lucifer I features the mesmerizing croon of Johanna Sadonis — formerly of The Oath — spearheading catchy, Sabbath-style doom-metal, co-authored by former Cathedral guitarist Gaz Jennings.