Tuesday, May 7
Toronto bassist/vocalist Jason Decay was near the forefront of last decade's revival of classic metal sounds, with his previous band Goat Horn. With his current outfit Cauldron, the brand of thrash falls more on the melodic side, taking strong influence from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal of yesteryear. The guitar shreds and vocal harmonies on the group's newest album Tomorrow's Lost has a warm, vintage feel that would sound perfect on a turntable after some classic Judas Priest.
Wednesday, May 8
This Norwegian sextet mines thrash, hardcore, stoner rock, and punk into a high-energy raucous celebration of anthemic sing-alongs. Never mind that all of the lyrics on their albums — 2010's self-titled debut and their brand-new follow-up Meir — are in Norwegian; you'll still find yourself drunkenly shouting along with the choruses to tracks like “Mjod” and “Bruane Brenn.” In the live setting, frontman Erland Hjelvik has a boozy swagger that is infectious, and the rest of the group carry themselves with arena-rock levels of energy.
Saturday, May 11
Thrasho De Mayo
From 2006 through 2010, the Thrasho De Mayo festival was a celebration of raging mosh pits. Every metal festival has its heavy-hitting headliners, but what made this one special was its undercard, spotlighting rising upstart L.A. thrash bands. It was the rare all-day fest worth slogging it out from start to finish. This year's return installment will be no exception, with headline acts like Bay Area gore-metallers Ghoul and rising L.A. acts like thrash-punkers Xpulsion.
Monday, May 13
Finland's Rotten Sound have spent the last 15 years putting out some of the most bludgeoning grindcore sounds that exist. Their short blasts of fury are chaotic with no room for wasted motion, their riffs seemingly designed to get its listeners to run full-speed into a wall…and fucking smash right through it. We wish The Joint the best of luck in maintaining its structural integrity.
Wednesday, May 15
Having just impressed audiences opening for Anthrax on their most recent national tour, Los Angeles quintet Holy Grail returns for a triumphant homecoming. The group's 2012 sophomore release Ride The Void saw the band taking a slightly more serious turn with their lyrical content, but keeping the noodly guitar-driven power metal sound of their previous material. The guitar duo of Alex Lee and Eli Santana dazzles with technicality while singer James-Paul Luna's vocals soar.
Friday, May 17
Arsis leader James Malone has long had a reputation for putting together intricately ornate death metal riffage that is both technical and catchy. The band's new album Unwelcome continues to build on that reputation, blowing you away with fingerwork that makes Musicians Institute nerds unfold their arms in worship. Everyone else will headbang, and sing along — well, more accurately, growl along.
Sunday, May 26
One of the first bands to get signed out of the L.A. thrash revival of 2005-2007, Warbringer celebrates the five-year anniversary of their debut album War Without End. The work was an explosion of unrelenting bullets-and-bombs thrash-metal. Two more albums and five years later, the band's fury is still powerful. The devilish snarl of vocalist John Kevill and blazing guitar work of John Laux still pack a potent punch.
Monday, May 27
One of the pioneers of the '90s European death/doom metal movement, Sweden's Katatonia has strayed more melodic as the years have gone on. But don't confuse that for a positive outlook on life. The group's 2012 album Dead End Kings is just as moody and melancholic as ever. The growls are gone, but the obsession with dark emotions may be more potent for that very reason. The band opens for Opeth at The Roxy on Friday, May 24th, but is coming back a few days later for this special, extended headlining set.