Tuesday, Oct. 6
Overkill, Symphony X
The Regent
The angry snarl of vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth on albums such as their 1989 landmark, The Years of Decay, and last year’s White Devil Armory helped Overkill rise high on the ladder of thrash metal greats, in the level just below the Big Four (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax). Symphony X’s 20-year career has seen them master musicianship that rivals that of prog-metal greats Dream Theater while applying a hard rock sheen that evokes the catchier moments of classic acts such as The Scorpions, most recently on their newest work, Underworld.

Ancient Altar; Credit: Courtesy of Southern Cross PRWednesday, Oct. 14
Ancient Altar
The sludge-laden, doom-metal assault contained on this L.A. group’s newest album, Dead Earth, is a hauntingly depressive take on a well-worn sound. Their crushing odes to apocalyptic destruction contain swampy yet catchy guitar work that evokes genre greats such as Down and Eyehategod. A good percentage of the group’s compositions take the listener through sweeping twists and turns for 10 to 12 minutes at a time. The band’s overall sound is bleak, but there is plenty enough riffage to keep the listener engaged for the complete trip.

Slipknot; Credit: Courtesy of Roadrunner RecordsSaturday, Oct. 24 and Sunday, Oct. 25
San Manuel Amphitheater
Slipknot returns for another two-day run of this annual festival. Arguably one of the heaviest acts to gain a mainstream following, Slipknot's curation of this year’s lineup is especially impressive, with a bill full of nods to fellow mainstream heavy acts (Korn, Bring Me the Horizon), legit metal legends (Judas Priest), longtime metal and hardcore cult faves (Cannibal Corpse, At the Gates, GWAR, Suicidal Tendencies, Body Count), underground death and black metal (Belphegor, Abysmal Dawn), and Ghostface Killah (Ghostface Killah).

Opeth; Credit: Courtesy of Roadrunner RecordsSaturday, Oct. 24 and Sunday, Oct. 25
Orpheum Theatre
This influential Swedish group is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year with a series of shows featuring two sets, one of which will see them performing their 2005 album Ghost Reveries in its entirety. The group’s last few albums have veered towards full-blown, 70’s-influenced prog-rock. The prog influences have always been in Opeth’s blueprint, but Ghost Reveries represents the last vestiges of the band’s harsher death metal roots.

Ghost; Credit: Courtesy of Loma Vista RecordingsMonday, Oct. 26
The Mayan
These Swedish hard rockers initially gained attention thanks to their image. A Satanic cardinal named Papa Emeritus takes center stage in live performances, elaborate photo shoots and music videos, flanked by Nameless Ghouls in hooded robes. It would be all for naught though if their songs weren’t as damn catchy as they are. The melodic croons delivered by Papa Emeritus on their newest album, Meliora, are as sinister as those delivered by any death metal growler. Massive-sounding production lends heaviness to the band’s demonic odes.

Fear Factory; Credit: Stephanie CabralFriday, Oct. 30
Fear Factory
Whisky A Go-Go
This Los Angeles group's dystopian approach to industrial-metal on albums such as 1995's Demanufacture made them genre pioneers. The group’s songwriting on their newest record, Genexus, is the tightest and most focused it has been in many years, with tracks like "Autonomous Combat Systems" and "Dielectric" sitting comfortably side-by-side with some of the band's classic work. Tracks like "Battle for Utopia" features the band's best synth orchestration in many years as well, alongside vocal work from Burton C. Bell that sounds fully rejuvenated.

Saturday, Oct. 31
The Infamous Gehenna, Thou, The Body
Los Globos
This is the one show on Halloween where we don’t endorse wearing a costume. Every group on this seven-band matinee bill (3 p.m. to 9 p.m.) specializes in different, heavy strains of bleak musical nihilism, and anyone showing up in costume will likely get their ass kicked. We’re particularly intrigued by the raw, blackened hardcore of longtime West Coast misanthropes The Infamous Gehenna, the thunderously plodding doom of New Orleans sludge-masters Thou, and the harsh noise din generated by Providence’s The Body.

Saturday, Oct. 31
Danzig's Blackest of the Black Tour
Microsoft Theater (formerly Nokia Theater)
Every year, genre icon Glenn Danzig takes center stage as the headliner of this tour. However, it’s the curation of the tour’s undercard that really makes it an attractive metal night year after year. The 2015 installment sees metal’s resident Man in Black receiving support from the touring return of Philip H. Anselmo’s breakneck-paced hardcore group Superjoint (formerly Superjoint Ritual) after a 10-year hiatus. Groove-metal stalwarts Prong, the dizzying deathcore of Veil of Maya and the bluesy doom of Witch Mountain are also extra incentive to show up early.

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