Our desert summer is finally winding down; and really, it wasn't so bad, now was it? It's probably in part to the awesome parade of metal shows that came through our fair state since the music industry's touring season was in full swing. Either way, at least the October nights will only be in the 90s when you're leaving those sweat- and blood-drenched mosh pits.
The Halloween season is filled to the brim with heavy metal shows around Metro Phoenix, thanks to concerts and gigs by locals and major international legends. As such, we're on the lookout for the best upcoming shows.
That's why we compile a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of October. There's metal vets like Crowbar and Deicide; to festivals like the Carnival of Death and Southwest Terror Fest in Tucson; and two Halloween shows that will feed your metal cravings, whether you're looking for a creepy death metal holiday, or a costume party with some of the best metal bands AZ has to offer.
After leaving Down in 2013, legendary sludge metal guitarist Kirk Windstein now has his entire focus on Crowbar -- for the first time ever since the band's inception. It's only made the band even more prominent in the metal scene, with their newest album released in May, Symmetry in Black, selling more copies in its first week of release than any other album in the band's 25-year career. Rounded out by Revocation and Havok, this lineup is a must for any thrash or sludge metal fan.
Oct 9 - Adverse Betrayal, Singularity, Warhead, Death Awaits, Winter Monolith with Unholy Monarch - Tempe Tavern
This roundup of Arizona heavy metal brings an array of different genres to the table, from extreme death metal to underground thrash to experimental and classic. My personal favorites include Singularity and Warhead, but heads are going to be banging all night long. Plus, admission is free!
Oct 16-19 - Southwest Terror Fest III: The Western Front- The Rialto Theatre & The District Tavern
Granted this show is in Tucson, not the Valley of the Sun -- but it's well worth the drive down Interstate 10. The four day and night festival is hosted by a handful of Arizona metal's most enthusiastic musicians and industry pros, and is one of the state's biggest -- and heaviest -- parties. Between the two venues in downtown Tucson (District is 21-plus; Rialto is all ages), you can expect more than 30 underground metal bands from the Western region of the country for a mere $66. We're talking favorite acts like Twingiant, Godhunter, Goatsnake, T.O.A.D, The Atlas Moth, Sorxe, Secrets of the Sky, Sex Prisoner, and Neurosis.
Some might consider Mastodon on the borderline of heavy metal and hard rock (hell, bassist Troy Sanders even said he doesn't consider them metal); however, I have a penchant for the technical prowess of the band's progressive, unique instrumentation. The band's sixth studio album, Once More 'Round the Sun, came out in June, and shows an even deeper level of the act's thrash, punk and psychedelic style. Alongside French metal band Gojira, and Norwegian punk-meets-black metal act Kvelertak, this show is going to be packed with music fans of all variations.
There's nothing like heavy metal for a good cause. This show is all about raising awarenesss and money to help people with depression and anxiety, and all proceeds will be donated to Behavioral Health AZ. Featuring Black Metal Box, Sectas, Dead Light Shines, Latency and more, the show will be broadcasted live on Valhallaradio.com, as well as 365 radio network.
Joe's Grotto will turn into a madhouse at this celebration of all that is death metal. Expect the speedy, cracked-out stylings of Kataklysm, who hail from Canada and pack ample movie-quote samples into their melodic death metal. The band describes their brand of music as "northern hyberblast"; pretty self-explanatory description once you hear the intensely fast blast beats from the drummer. Long Island death metal outfit Suffocation also headline, and metal vets Jungle Rot, Pyrexia, Internal Bleeding round out the bill.
California deathcore band Suicide Silence has attracted a strong following for years, and unlike what often happens, the unfortunate loss of their frontman Mitch Lucker in 2012 banded them together even more tightly. When I saw them at the Golden Gods Awards earlier this year, their stage presence was commanding, and vocalist Hernan "Eddie" Hermida (who came on board in late 2013) displayed some fantastic vocals. The Black Dahlia Murder also has a very prominent following, although I have never personally been a huge fan of the Michigan melodic death metal act; same goes for Chelsea Grin. At the very least, if you have never seen Suicide Silence, check them out here.
Oct 23 - Whitechapel, Upon a Burning Body, Glass Cloud - The Nile
Tennessee-based deathcore act Whitechapel has released four albums since 2006, a testament to the fact that they really strategic about -- and take their sweet time -- during the writing and recording process. The band is known for hosting three guitarists on stage, each performing unique parts of the songs, as well as their combined style of hardcore with black, death and European metal.
Since its formation in the early 1980s, The Melvins have had great influence within the genre of heavy metal on bands like Tool, Eyehategod and Isis. Besides their sludgy mix of punk and metal, they are known for a bizarre sense of humor and a willing to experiment with their music. Singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne is always a trip to talk to, or watch on stage. No doubt this one will sell out, so get tickets early.
Oct 26 - Carnifex - The Nile
Carnifex translates to "executioner" in Latin, and they do offer up that foreboding feeling on stage. The band has released five albums since 2007, most recently Die Without Hope in May, and it's all about the drama. The extreme deathcore act's lyrics are always based around negative emotions, such as self-destruction, hatred, heartbreak, betrayal, but the band's instrumentation has evolved greatly since their first album, when they often didn't even incorporate elements like guitar solos or choruses.
Oct 26 - In the Minds of Evil Tour - Joe's Grotto
It's about damn time. Deicide released their 11th studio album In The Minds of Evil almost a year ago and still haven't toured to support it. Still seen as one of the best death metal bands of all time alongside Cannibal Corpse, it's hard not to appreciate frontman Glen Benton's guttural growls and high shrieks. Septicflesh, Inquisition and Abysmal Dawn round out this intense bill.
Oct 31 - Killdeath Productions presents Dia De Las Brujas - Crabby Dons
If you're looking for a very happy death metal Halloween, then this is the spot for you. This lineup includes a lot of Phoenix bands, like Malo De Dentro fuses Southwest tribal beats with thrash metal, and Ax Harbo, an act influenced by bands like Exodus, Pantera, Skeletonwitch and Sylosis. Then there's Contortion from San Diego, and Whoracle, a melodic progressive metal band from my homestate of Kansas. This is going to be a solid show of creepy, good music.
Oct 31 - Halloween Party: She Murdered Me, F.U.M.E. Bros, Downhill Trend, and more - Joe's Grotto
Now, for the fans who are looking for some metal on the lighter side they can go to this Halloween concert, which is being predicted as one of the best costume parties in the Valley. Beloved local act She Murdered Me is throwing the party in hopes of getting on a national tour. The show will be streamed to nearly half a million viewers around the world, so you know the bands will be playing their hearts out. The lineup includes F.U.M.E. Bros, Downhill Trend, Eroticide, Hands of a Traitor, Artificial Insanity, Element A440, Sorizon, Ill Patientz, The Exiled Martyr, and more.
Cprrection: This blog originally misspelled the name of the band Hands of a Traitor.
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Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.