Looking for a good place to see flashy and exciting music played at high volume, have your mind blown by dark and powerful sounds, or just stomp around like a drunken goon with your shirt off? Then a heavy metal concert might be just the place for you. Each month I'll be offering my top picks of the upcoming metal shows in town that I think shouldn't be missed. And I'll try really hard not to make fun of the ones I think should be avoided like responsibility on the fourth of July.
Portland, Oregon's Lord Dying are the most recent addition to the legendary Relapse Records roster with a debut album hitting stores on the ninth of this month. The band has only previewed two tracks from the forthcoming Summon the Faithless so far, but they're two that show promise, filled with Baroness-esque (say that four times fast) riff-rock mixed with a dark aggression reminiscent of more recent Celtic Frost and Triptykon.
Local support will come from jazz metal favorite the Gorge, who will be performing with its original bassist, current Baroness member Nick Jost. Also playing are the always impressive Black Fast, Cathedral Fever, and STL newcomers Death Horse.
Shai Hulud with Perfect People at Fubar July 20 7:45 p.m. / $12
Shai Hulud wore the brand of "metalcore" before it became essentially a bad word that meant "cute boy metal for teens to karate kid to." The band originated almost twenty years ago back in 1995 in Tampa, Florida, and were on the forefront of the late '90s progressive hardcore movement along with more well-known bands like Converge and Cave In. Although it never reached the same level of commercial success as some of its peers, Hulud have always retained a strong underground following. Only releasing an album on average once every five years, the band has always put out quality, heartfelt material. The music of Shai Hulud is fast, technical, brutally heavy, but also fiercely melodic, with angry and thoughtful lyrics.
This year saw the release of Reach Beyond the Sun, the band's first new recording in fifteen years to feature original vocalist Chad Gilbert (who had left the band to work at some store at the mall called New Found Glory). The mic on this tour will not be occupied by Gilbert, but rather newcomer Justin Kraus, a fact that will be irrelevant when every member of the audience is shouting along to every last word.
Winnipeg, Canada's Ken Mode has been around for well over a decade now, and while still largely unknown in most mainstream metal circles, its name is always spoken with admiration by underground metal fans and musicians alike. The band plays furious, drop-tuned prog-metal with dizzying rythyms that come across like the audio equivalent of a drunken three-legged dog on the attack. Along on the tour is Richmond, Virginia's Inter Arma which I've previously written about back in March, whose latest Relapse release Sky Burial is easily one of the best records of 2013 so far. Add the great local talents of Everything Went Black and Jack Buck to the bill and you've got one hell of a solid show.
Melvins 30th Anniversary Tour with Honky at the Firebird July 23 8:00 p.m. / $20
If you don't like the Melvins, you either don't like heavy music or you like it for all the wrong reasons. With over twenty albums under its belt, there isn't much territory in the world of rock, metal and experimental music the band has not only covered but mastered. Over the past 30 years the Melvins have avoided clichés like Satan and death, instead being as strange and silly as anything you can imagine all while being kilo tons heavier than your favorite death metal band. The band that once employed a roadie named Kurt Cobain is still going strong, and none of its members have been murdered by their crazy wives yet (I mean "committed suicide"). Nirvana, Tool, Faith No More, Neurosis, Mastodon and countless others all owe the Melvins for helping shape their sound. All you owe them? Twenty bucks for a ticket to the show.
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