The year 2014 ended with a hell of a heavy metal season, with shows like Yucca Tap Room's "Not So Silent Night" ushering in the New Year -- but unlike the insane holiday spending and the snowbird-thick traffic pace, the show calendar isn't slowing down any time soon.
I'm aware that this Metal Mondays Best Metal Shows of January is a little late, so it doesn't include killer shows like the Dead of Winter Festival this past weekend and Anti-Flag. However, there's an abundance of shows throughout January, and that's why we compile a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley.
There are prominent metal acts like Cattle Decapitation, Machine Head and Periphery, and a wealth of local shows, including the ever-intense HannemanFest and a "When Titans Collide" show, where some of the best metal acts in the Valley share the stage.
Cattle Decapitation, GodAwfulNoise, Magguts, Invading Uranus, Grindhouse and Sadmasochist - Friday, January 9 - Club Red
We have 13th Floor Entertainment to thank for this meaty lineup, headlined by progressive grind death metallers Cattle Decapitation. The San Diego quartet is all about pushing the musical (and nausea-inducing) boundaries of imagery and instrumentals. This lineup is rounded out by GodAwfulNoise, Invading Uranus, Grindhouse & Sadomasochist, and Magguts, the last of which brings an ideal element of crunchy thrash.
Saturday, January 10 - John Holmberg's Sodomizing Linda with Aperfecttool, Bloomfield, Beyond Faded, Resurgence Girls, Radio Fix - Joe's Grotto
This show leans more towards the "rock 'n' roll" spectrum of January shows, but it will be full of familiar faces -- and voices, if you haven't seen Sodomizing Linda before. 98 KUPD's John Holmberg from "The Morning Sickness," is on vocals, and they put on a hell of a show. While I am a fan of the morning show, something else I love about this band is that all their ticket and song purchases reportedly go to charity. Aperfecttool offers up a tribute to Tool and A Perfect Circle, and alt-metal act Bloomfield, nu-metal female duo Resurgence Girls, and rockers Radio Fix and Beyond Faded round out the bill. Oh yeah, and there will be acoustical performances on the patio stage by Christopher Shayne.
Thursday, January 15 - Incantation and Funerous - The Nile
Incantation is undoubtedly seen as one of the most influential bands in extreme music over the past two decades. The act has helped pioneer the underground metal scene, with a brand of metal that crosses such genres as death and doom. The duo known as Funerus brings their brand of death metal to the table as well, strongly rooted in old school '90s Scandinavian death metal. Local acts Six Million Dead, Mortem Dei and others also share the stage.
Friday, January 16 - Machine Head - Club Red
If you're a Machine Head fan, you definitely can't miss this show. Dubbed "A Night with Machine Head," this concert is just two hours of full-blown metal, with no other bands or openers on the bill. It's the first time the band has been in the Valley since the release of Bloodstone & Diamonds this past summer. Catch some killer solos from shredder Phil Demmel, and hope that glowering frontman Robb Flynn is in a positive mood.
Friday, January 16 - Westfield Massacre - The Rockbar
Metal bands don't usually frequent this Scottsdale stage--but Westfield Massacre is about to change all that. This four-piece is made up of members form Divine Heresy, Snot, Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, and a handful of other heavy hitters. And the lineup for this night gets even more metal when you add special guests Lost in Lies, Deathgrip and Something to Kill to the mix.
Sunday, January 18 - Headbang for The Highway's Battle for South By So What - Club Red
This is a huge lineup, consisting of hardcore, rock and metal bands vying for a chance to go play the South By So What Festival in Texas. There's an array of great acts here, including Fire From the Gods, Stands With Fists, Modern Color, Dehumanizer, Singularity (one of my personal favorites!), A Lapse of Ethos, Talk to Sheep, Wrath, Infinite, We Are Nemesis, and A Moment of Clarity.
Tuesday, January 20 - Madball - The Nile
Anyone who is a fan of hardcore from back in the day should be at this show. Madball has been a staple on the New York hardcore scene since the late '80s, and has never ceased representing the core values that hardcore music is about. For those who don't know, Madball originally started as an Agnostic Front side project, with Roger Miret's (Agnostic Front frontman) younger brother on vocals. Decades later, the band has influenced just about every major metal band on the scene today, like Hatebreed and Terror.
Wednesday, January 21 - Periphery - Club Red
Experimental metal act Periphery is one of the most impressive breakthrough metal bands on the scene today. With triple guitars, poly-rhythmic patterns, complex grooves, and array of accolades (the band is often identified as one of the most important bands in the djent subgenre), the six-piece band is all about creating the most interesting music possible. The lineup also includes Nothing More, Wovenwar, and Thank you Scientist.
Friday, January 23 - When Titans Collide 2015 - Joe's Grotto
It should be obvious from this lineup--but this kick-ass show is all about bringing together some of Arizona's best and favorite metal acts. That includes heavy acts such as Talk to Sheep, Altered Silence, Sectas, 94 Blades, and St. Madness.
Sunday, January 25 - Tyranny Enthroned - The Rogue Bar
The Rogue will surely fill up for this blackened death metal bash, featuring Tyranny Enthroned and Micawber. Of course, it wouldn't be a true death metal fest without some variation, like crossover thrash, grindcore, doom and sludge from local AZ favorites Lago, Deadspawn, and Saint Breaker.
Tuesday, January 27 - Dark Tranquillity - Club Red
As one of the longest standing bands in the Gothenburg scene, Dark Tranquillity is coming back through town to feed the masses with their brand of Swedish death metal. This lineup is rounded out by melodic death metal act Insomnium, and two female-fronted acts: prog metallers Insatia and black metal band Severed Receptors.
Friday, January 30 - HannemanFest 2015 - Joe's Grotto
Here's to another year of celebrating one of the greatest thrash guitarists of all time! Spread across two stages at Joe's Grotto, you get a full buffet of Slayer favorites form bands like She Murdered Me, Souless, Unholy Monarch, Deathgrip, Throw the Switch, Das Brutal, Enkaged, Amongst, Dehumanizer, Betrayal of Allies, Skull Drug--all for just $10.
Sunday, January 31 - Adavant, Storm of Perception and more -- Club Red
13th Floor Entertainment Presents a night of truly epic metal--no really, each of these bands play as if they are Vikings storming a castle, and now they are all on one bill. Adavant's roster includes musicians like "Charlotte the Alluring" (vocals) and "Andy the Cunning" (keyboard), while Storm of Perception is no stranger to on-stage Viking helmets and stogies (just steer clear when all the members head bang at once; the collection of whipping hair is so intense it got me in the eye last show). Rounding out the bill is The Spider Hole, Oak & Stone and Tibetan Rose.
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