It can be easy to miss unless you're looking for it, but there are a lot of metal (heavy or otherwise) 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 had 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 March. Each is worth checking out, especially if you're into local metal.
Since 1993, Finland's Children of Bodom has built a rock solid following as one of death metal's purest bands, with its melodic hooks and guitar acrobatics. Club Red is a great venue for this band and it'll no doubt be packed with mosh pits galore. Death Angel opens. Like-minded metal acts Death Angel and Tyr will open.
Ex-Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee started Red Dragon Cartel a few years back, based on an idea similar in spirit to Santana or Slash's first solo album. The band has since recorded with Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), Paul Di'Anno (ex-Iron Maiden, Maria Brink (In This Moment), and a few other huge names. Lee undoubtedly is a great guitarist in the world of heavy metal, so this show should be pretty interesting.
No Cover's F**k Cancer benefit is one of those shows that's been anticipated for several months in advance. Not only is it for a great cause, it always showcases a ton of badass local and national metal bands. My personal favorites on this lineup include Vex -- who are more think-outside-the-box atmospheric rock -- thrashers Pelvic Meatloaf and headbangers Altered Silence. Other acts on the bill include Tome, Phoenix and Dragon, Scarab Vex and Black Curtain, as well as acoustic acts by Throw Logic, Havens End, Eleven Year Solstice, and more.
Local metal blog and concert promoter Death Weddle will fittingly celebrate the murderous mid-March holiday with an evening-long festival of death metal. The bill includes Enkaged, L.V.D., Invading Uranus, Furthest From Faith, Three Seconds More, Back From Ashes, Fifth Density, Souless, He Who Binds Himself, and Motive. It's a killer lineup of locals with some bands that run the spectrum of styles -- hell yeah for Souless and Motive -- but I must say that Invading Uranus is one of the more intriguing, as they are influenced by "UFO's, alien abductions, science fiction and ice cream."
Scottsdale's Pub Rock is one of those ideal music venues: It's centrally located, a nice open area for shows (you can see the stage from just about everywhere), and the whiskey is cold and cheap. The Valley's resident "hot chicks in metal" Alexia and Anissa Rodriguez will take the stage for the first time in awhile. These sisters definitely know how to rock out hardcore and have been a regular fixture on the local metal scene for quite some time.
Okay, some people may not categorize The Sword as metal (c'mon, they've even toured with Metallica), but this is my blog and I love this kick-ass Austin-based stoner rock/doom metal band. From their science fiction narrative concept album (2010's Warp Riders) to their own brand of hot sauce, these guys simultaneously crack me up while making me head bang.
Killdeath Productions has been putting on a lot of shows at Crabby Don's in Gilbert, which may be a bit out of the way for some metal fans -- but the bar hosts some killer metal shows. This particular lineup includes Talk to Sheep, Impulsive Aggression, 2 in the Chest, Abiotx and Warhead, the latter of which is one of my faves.
Extreme metal band Carcass may have been a pioneer of the grindcore genre, but its touring schedule is a lot less reliable than the awesomeness of the music. All I know is that between the morbid lyrics, gruesome album covers, and the melodic death metal realization of 1993's Heartwork, these guys are not only great on record but fantastic in concert. In addition to Carcass, the Decibel Magazine Tour will also feature The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts, Noisem, and GOG.
Yucca doesn't host too many metal shows, but this will be one for the books this month. Phoenix-based Frankenshred is a cross between power, speed and thrash metal, and I gotta say that I become enthralled by some of the guitar solos they put out on stage. Throw in solid vocals and plenty of melodic hooks, and you've got yourself one hell of a show on the Yucca stage.
St. Madness has been a fixture on the local scene for years, but every time I see them, I love them even more, because they command the hell out of the stage. Coupled with Sectas, a three-piece alt metal band influenced by such acts as Megadeth and Alice in Chains, and Downhill Trend, there will be a great deal of moshing. Fellow locals Ghost 211, Footer, Failing to Fly, and Crimson Storm round out the lineup.
Mosh Pit Army and Asylum Records are banding together to give the local metal scene Last Band Standing, an event where 10 bands compete for an array of prizes and Morbid Angel drummer Tim Yeung will judge the competition. Expect to see Enkaged, I Am Within, Unsheathe, Twelve Gates, Forlorn Creation, Apathys Insight, Breaking the Nexus and more on stage. This event starts early with doors opening a 4 p.m.
Killing Spree has been described as "an episode of Dexter personified," and they definitely know how to push the limits with growling vocals, catchy choruses and a driving bass backbone. Deathcore act Virulent and experimental group Dead Swarm are also on the bill.
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Find any metal or hard rock show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.