Tuesday, November 3
He Whose Ox Is Gored
This Seattle group specializes in mathy doom metal loaded with psychedelic atmospherics. New record The Camel, The Lion, The Child is a 60-minute haze-laden trip, filtered through post-rock and sludge that resembles slower tracks from acts such as Kylesa. Keyboardist Lisa Mungo enhances the airy mood with trippy synth work that wraps an ethereal aura around dizzying instrumentation from the rest of the band. Many groups are dipping their toes into this sort of sound lately, but few execute it as gracefully as this quartet.
Thursday, November 5 and Friday, November 6
After a four-year hiatus due to health issues, iconic vocalist King Diamond came roaring back with a vengeance a year ago and was eagerly welcomed back by fans of classic heavy metal. The grandiose theatricality of his live performances evokes the atmosphere that scared Christian moms away from heavy metal in the ‘80s, and the King’s trademark falsetto is as distinctive as ever. As an added incentive to lure back those who saw him last Halloween, he'll be performing his landmark 1987 album Abigail in full.
Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7
Grindcore J.P. 2015: A Tribute to Jesse Pintado
Ukrainian Cultural Center
This annual fest pays tribute to fallen Terrorizer/Napalm Death guitarist Jesse Pintado. His legacy of metallic mayhem continues on with a lineup consisting of the most frantic, frenetic and furious acts in the metal underground. Notable L.A. bands paying tribute to their fellow comrade include veteran thrash metal greats Hirax and '90s powerviolence powerhouses Despise You. The worldwide appeal of the sounds of aggression will be also well-represented, thanks to a rare U.S. appearance from Italian grind-masters Cripple Bastards.
Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14
Midnite Communion III
The Breakers Hotel
This two-day festival in Long Beach serves as a celebration of rumbling doom-metal and dark graphic art. Haunting art pieces presented by artists from all over the world will complement the caustic sounds emanating from the stage, courtesy of such apocalyptic bands as New York’s Unearthly Trance and Boston sludgesters Morne. An arts-and-crafts fair that gives off an “Etsy for metalheads” vibe will provide additional indulgences for those looking to extend their pitch-black experience beyond music and art.
Wednesday, November 18
Whisky A Go-Go
The latest sonic assault from this Seattle blackened thrash act, Slaves Beyond Death, sees the band continuing to pummel listeners with Swedish death metal–influenced grooves and more expansive songwriting. Black Breath moodily slows down on tracks such as “Reaping Flesh” and “A Place of Insane Cruelty,” giving listeners just enough room to breathe before the relentless riff barrage begins anew. The group has evolved from a speedy middleweight that lands quick hits to a beefy heavyweight that bludgeons with raw power.
Friday, November 20
This Oregon trio continues lurch forward ever so slowly over a decade into their career of producing numbing doom-metal. Yob is the musical equivalent of smoking prime cuts of meat — and your bong — for many hours. The plodding riffs that drive the group’s brand of Sabbath-inspired stoner-doom on albums such as 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend are a slow-bake listening experience. Much as you might feel after gorging on those prime cuts of meat and the stickiest of ickies, you'll attain a satisfying sense of catharsis at the end of a Yob record.
Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21
One of the most polarizing acts in today’s metal scene, Deafheaven’s masterful blend of blistering black metal and gorgeous shoegaze guitar work endears them to more adventurous heavy music fans and enrages metal enthusiasts who are more set in their ways. The band’s newest album, New Bermuda, finds Deafheaven doubling down on all elements of their music. Vocalist George Clarke hits the most guttural black metal delivery of his career so far, while guitarist Kerry McCoy continues to expertly juggle bruising riffs and beautifully soaring solos.
Sunday, November 29
Between the Buried and Me, Intronaut
Between the Buried and Me was one of the first breakthrough bands of the new millennium to embrace progressive-metal song structures and seamlessly weave in aspects of the technical death metal that their peers were specializing in. Hardcore and death growls are still found in a few spots on new album Coma Ecliptic, but these days BTBAM focus mostly on being a sleek progressive-metal machine. L.A. progressive-sludge group Intronaut’s new album, The Direction of Last Things, sees them continuing the master the balance between earth-shattering heaviness and hypnotic, polyrhythmic complexity.
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