August is filled to the brim with heavy metal shows around Metro Phoenix, thanks to concerts and gigs by locals and major international legends. So check out the 10 best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley next month.
Anyone who calls themselves a fan of heavy metal needs to see Slash shred live at least once in their lives. Most probably saw him back in late-'80s/early-'90s with Guns N' Roses, or in the mid-to-late-2000s with Velvet Revolver. But his current solo kick, with his 2010 self-titled, rock star-loaded album, and 2012's Apocalyptic Love, recorded with Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge), Brent Fitz and Todd Kerns, is a solid rock 'n' roll effort as well. After all, Slash has been included on "greatest guitarists" and "best guitar solos" lists by publications such as Time, Rolling Stone, Guitar World and Esquire, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Guns N' Roses, and in 2010 the West Hollywood mayor even declared August 26 "Slash Day." I saw Slash performing with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators at Rock on the Range in 2012, and onstage the group has an amazing chemistry.
Even though Deep Purple's music has consistently evolved since the 1970s, the band is still known as one of the pioneers of heavy metal, alongside acts like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Granted, with the countless lineup changes over the years, some purists may scoff at seeing the band live today with only one original member (Ian Paice). Side note: I wish I could've seen Ritchie Blackmore as one of the first shredders, with those bold blues licks and classical interpretations. But 100 million albums sold worldwide is a testament to the talent, and the band's most recent album, 2013's Now What?!, features some fantastic content, including two tracks dedicated to one of the band's founding members (and incredible keyboardist) Jon Lord, who died in 2012.
This show is all about the best of both worlds: the fusion of punk and metal. Vices to the Grave is all about the punk with four members that all contribute to vocals. Sanitation Squad is influenced by an array of styles, from the Dead Kennedys to Iced Earth, to create their own style: technical metal meets rock and roll, edged with the sharp attitude of punk. SkullDrug blends thrash metal with classic '80s punk, with a peppering of funk, country and blues. Contradiktion and Guilt Society round out the bill.
Every year, heavy metal musicians gather to pay tribute to D-Low, Soulfly frontman Max Cavalera's stepson Dana Wells, who was killed in a car accident in 1996. 2014 marks its 18th year, and it's always a triumphant "family" affair for the local metal scene. Besides local thrash/death metal vets Soulfly (Cavalera's son Zyon is also the drummer), you've got a veritable buffet of other Phoenix bands: the internationally loved speed-metal demons Sacred Reich, the textural avant-garde metal stylings of Sicmonic, and the chaotic grooves of Psyphen. There's also Incite, which only adds to the musical Cavalera mix: The band is fronted by Ritchie, another one of Cavalera's sons, and has been on the Top 40 Sirius Metal Charts and are releasing their fourth album in September.
I've loved Chimaira since 2000's EP This Present Darkness. In the beginning, it was because the band name derives from a huge fire-breathing monster, and I was obsessed with Greek mythology -- really, anything extremely imaginative that is composed of such mismatching parts. After I got past that phase, I realized that the name perfectly described Chimaira's music -- and the band's intensely energetic live show.
For three decades, progressive heavy metal act Queensryche has been a solid, reliable fixture on metal playlists everywhere. This tour is Geoff Tate's "farewell" tour, and the co-founder and original vocalist will be playing all the hits (and rarities) of the band. It's a long story, but basically Geoff and the rest of Queensryche had a falling out, Geoff has been touring with his own version of the band, and then they all finally came to a legal agreement in order to move forward musically. Tate will still tour with his own lineup after this tour (and under a different name), but only has the exclusive rights to play music from the Operation: Mindcrime and Operation: Mindcrime II concept albums. Bring on the original "Silent Lucidity."
This North Carolina-bred, punk-turned-hardcore-turned sludge metal band has been tearing through stages since the early '80s with a somewhat consistent lineup of the original members. When they put out their 1985 album Animosity, it was an important time for the thrash/punk crossover movement, and COC was at the forefront. This tour is all about embodying that time, energy and lineup, even though drummer Reed Mullin was forced to recently pull out due to a torn rotator cuff. However, Kylesa's former drummer Eric Hernandez is stepping in and you'll still hear all the classics such as "Albatross" and "Loss for Words," as well as content from the band's new album, IX, which was released July 1.
Killdeath Productions is bringing around seven hours of thrash and serious death metal music music into Mesa with this fest. There's almost a dozen bands spanning from California to New Mexico, and of course, all over Arizona, including Warhead, Ye-itsoh, Napalm Strike, and Sakrificer Deathrash. Get ready for some serious moshing.
Pub Rock is great for metal: a tight mosh pit, cheap whiskey, and you can pretty much see the stage from anywhere in the venue. Head there to see the intense hardcore/punk music of Dropdead, 20-plus-year veterans who garner influences from bands such as Septic Death, Siege and Icons of Filth; and the raw, gritty grindcore/death metal of Landmine Marathon, an act that's shared the stage with bands like Cannibal Corpse and Voivod. The lineup is rounded out by Juice and Kashyyyk.
Get there early to grab a seat for this show that's all about extreme metal; and in this small venue you might want to bring some ear plugs, too. Depraved Heretic is modern blackened death metal, with musical stylings akin to Morbid Angel and Emperor. Blast Perversion is a Texas-based death metal band with a brutal live show, and Singularity is one of Arizona's finest extreme metal bands. The walls are going to be shaking.
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