Now more than ever, there are a lot of metal -- from comedy to thrash to black to grindcore -- getting slung in and around Metro Phoenix thanks to concerts and gigs by locals and touring acts alike. As such, Up on the Sun's resident metal scribe, Lauren Wise, is on the lookout for the best upcoming shows.
That's why we have her compile a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts that will be staged at venues around the Valley during the month of April, and so far in 2014, this seems to be the month of metal. From a delicious mix of national acts like Behemoth and Dillinger Escape Plan, to local favorite bands and promoter parties, each is worth checking out.
Plus, since Club Red is moving next month, its calendar is packed to the metal-studded brim with metal.
Some know behemoth as a powerful entity mentioned in the book of Job. Others, like us metalheads, know Behemoth as one of the most important players in Polish black and death metal. They will play an array of favorites including hits from their most recent album, The Satanist, which was released earlier this year. And speaking of new records, Goatwhore has its sixth coming out later this year -- and it's this straight up heavy metal act that I'm most anxious to see. The lineup is rounded out by Black Crown Initiate, 1349, and Inquisition.
For fans of Static -- or it's lead singer's balls-to-the-wall vocal style -- this show will satisfy that particular itch they may have for his brand of musical mayhem known as "evil disco." Wayne has been making his way through Arizona regularly over the past two years, but this particular set may include such recent additions to his arsenal as "Noise Revolution," Wayne's 2013 collaboration with RUN DMC. We Are the Riot and Corvus makes this concert deliciously diverse, so be sure to get there early for the openers.
No Cover's Birthday Bash - Saturday, April 5 - Joe's Grotto
While this show may contain the least amount of death metal on the list, it contains some truly metal people. Namely, Michelle Diaz Leach and Janet Blankenship of local concert promoter No Cover Phoenix. The two have worked hard over the last couple years in the Valley's music scene booking shows, particularly in the realm of hard rock and heavy metal, and both will celebrate their birthdays at this event.
Element A440 will perform their brand of dark metal that combines electronic, melodic and industrial influences, as will instrumental gurus Vex, who are debuting their video release for their song "Quiet." Vivicide, Frequis, and Havens End will also perform.
Weapons of Mosh Destruction Tour - Wednesday, April 9 - Club Red
Since releasing their debut album in 2002, the members of Ghoul have mainly been known for weird alter egos and masks on stage, names such as "Creamator" and "Dissector," and a unique collection of death and thrash metal. And hardcore/punk crossover band Iron Regan is a personal favorite of mine, featuring members of Municipal Waste and Darkest Hour. The rest of the bill features solid acts Occultist, Sorrower, and Funerary.
KUPD's Ufest - Saturday, April 12 - Quail Run Park
Given that this all-day outdoor concert is put on by the Valley's biggest hard rock radio station, you can bet it's going to plenty metal. Its schedule may obviously feature more mainstream metal (A Day to Remember, Escape the Fate, Devour the Day, Trivium) than old school faves (such as Powerman 5000), but it's still a solid line-up for those craving some double bass, heavy hooks, and thrashing vocals. A few surprises also await, including a gig by Ice-T's infamous thrash metal band Body Count. Here's hoping they include the once-controversial track "Cop Killer." August Burns Red, Born of Osiris, Gemini Syndrome, Redlight King, Let Live, and others will also perform.
Motorhead on April 15 at Wild Horse Pass Casino
Call me crazy, but this show seemed to sneak up on everyone. It's the first time in memory that Motorhead's ever done a gig at a casino. Perhaps Lemmy Killmeister is trying to tone it down a notch? Or maybe he wants to kick some ass at blackjack. Either way, you can't go wrong with Motorhead. Its practically required to see 'em in concert at least once in your life. And if you've never seen 'em live, you better get make it happen soon before something else happens to Lemmy. Besides his recent health problems, one can only break the world record for the amount of Jack Daniels shots taken in one night before tempting fate.
Kataklysm - Saturday, April 19 - Joe's Grotto
Canadian death metal fiends Kataklysm released their highly anticipated eleventh studio album last October, and since then they've been ravaging the world on tour. But Aborted -- who has a new album releasing this month -- is an even bigger sight to see: Who can really pass up a death grindcore band with an album called The Necrotic Manifesto, which is the band's own take on the infamous book of the dead?
Hemlock - Friday, April 25 - Club Red
Hemlock always puts on a kick-ass show. The Vegas-bred band has been together for 17 years, and has toured with such bands as Lamb of God, Coal Chamber, Hatebreed, Ministry and Soulfly. Scattered Guts, whose members formed over a mutual love of heavy metal and weed, makes for a formidable opener with their thrash. Also booked to appear on this particular gig are Scattered Guts, Play for Blood, She Murdered Me, and Cry Evil.
Excystation - Saturday, April 26 - Palo Verde Lounge on April 26
This free show is all about bringing metal to the masses. Excystation garners influence from bands like Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Death, Terrorizer and Slayer. Listening to their heavy*duty sound is pretty much like being pelted with jagged bits of black metal in the face (in a good way, of course). Tucson-based Magguts (just their album covers alone make me gag) all hail from different Southwest metal acts, like Genocaust, Saphead, Diseased Reason and Vesuvius. And it makes for a pretty badass act that has to be one of the only metal bands I'm aware of that actually has played a rodeo. The lineuo also includes Six Million Dead and Meathook.
Green Jelly - Saturday, April 26 - Joe's Grotto
For just $15, this all ages show is going to sell out for sure, so get your tickets ASAP. Well, if you're a lover of Green Jelly like myself, that is. For those who are unfamiliar with them, this metal comedy band has been around since 1981, and has counted Maynard James Keenan and Danny Carey of Tool, Jim Laspesa of The Kinks, and Kim O'Donnell (Hollywood visual effects artist for films like Con Air) as members. There's nothing better than hearing the seven-plus member band sing the "Little Pig, Little Pig" jam in unison.
And of course, local beloved act St. Madness comes right before Green Jelly, a perfectly theatrical and solid metal act for the gig. You can also check out performances by Xpansion Theory, Discordant, Fire Glass, Nothing, Camel Enamel, at Foreign Bodies.
Dillinger Escape Plan - Sunday, April 27 - Pub Rock
Never seen Dillinger Escape Plan live? Tragic. But even if you've seen the punk/metal outfit, have you seen them in an intimate, jam-packed, and sweaty setting like Pub Rock? There's going to be nothing like it. It will be like going to be like an old-school basement house party, rounded out with cheap whiskey and Kansas City Chiefs' paraphernalia. Just last year, I saw these guys bleed and breathe fire at the Golden Gods Awards and they stick out in my memory just as much as the performances by Metallica, and Anthrax and Phil Anselmo. Tera Melos blends rock, jazz, electronics and unique song structures to create an ideal interlude from the atmospheric black doom metal tunes of Vattnet Viskar. And of course; TOAD needs no introduction.
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