In the realm of alternative rock, metal mostly had been regarded as a distant fascination, a weird, drunk cousin from a red state. Nineties bands like Testament and Melvins appealed to heshers and hipster slackers alike. Today, however, the genre is so expansive and unpredictable that it's no longer solely the property of the black-clad. Some credit goes to heralded metal writer Brandon Stosuy, who singlehandedly brought contentious, experimental metal bands like Liturgy into the mainstream indie-rock conversation, but no entity has done more to showcase metal innovation than Los Angeles-based Southern Lord Records. Championing monolithic doom metal bands like Sunn O))) (whose Greg Anderson runs the label), Earth, and Om in the 2000s, Southern Lord became known for a roster of ambitious, iconoclastic acts that obliterate the simplistic virgin/whore notions of metal as somehow both ludicrously self-serious yet macho and shallow. It's not surprising, then, that the Southern Lord Tour offers a palette of bands that are as diverse as they are heavy. Headlining the tour is Black Breath, purveyors of hardcore thrash from the Pacific Northwest. Also featured is the crusty black metal of Martyrdod from Sweden, the jacked-up punk of Burning Love, and the mathy hardcore of Enabler. Thanks to Southern Lord, the future of metal never looked so bright (black T-shirts still encouraged).
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