Ten must-see metal shows in Denver this month
Seris plays technical metal without trying to splice in another genre of music willy nilly. Melati Olivia is the kind of singer that isn't just strong but versatile. The rhythm section of Robert Jepsen and Cody Goodman pound out rhythms in precise sequence, adding in accents and flows with the melody while also driving the music. Scott Beckman's guitar work has that crunchy, start and stop pounding but on the edges he is able to transition to tripped out atmospherics worthy of early Pink Floyd or Voivod. The band's latest album, Rises, explores classic prog metal with a rare fluidity and grace.
Yngwie Malmsteen got started playing guitar at a young age and had his first band at age ten. During his teen years he recorded a demo that somehow found its way into the hands of Shrapnel Records head Mike Varney. From there, Malmsteen had short stints in Steeler and Alcatrazz before setting off on a solo career with the release of his debut, Rising Force. The technical prowess displayed on the record showcased not only Malmsteen's interest in classical music but also his command of hard rock guitar. Malmsteen's technical ability has since become so widely known that the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II has an "Yngwie Malmsteen" award for players able to hit a thousand notes in a row without making a mistake.
Getting its start in what passed for a hardcore scene in Tokyo in the early '90s, Boris channeled more difficult to classify bands like the Melvins (from whom the act took its name) and Sleep, as well as noise and psychedelia. As result, every Boris album is different, for better or worse, but always worth a listen. The act's 2005 album, Pink, was a bit of a breakthrough for the band, in terms of its popularity, critical praise and commercial success. The group has released numerous albums and collaborative records with the likes of the Cult's Ian Astbury, Fushitsusha's Keiji Haino, SunnO))) and fellow Japanese psych musician, Ghost's Michio Kurihara. Boris is heavy and dynamic but never boring.
The Dillinger Escape Plan came out of the hardcore scene of Morris Plains, New Jersey, in 1997. Former members of Arcane, including this group's sole remaining original member, guitarist Ben Weinman, got together and wrote songs with a savagely mathematical precision coupled with a more adventurous spirit of sonic exploration than generally heard in hardcore. After releasing its debut album in 1999, Calculating Infinity, Dillinger's contorted and seething dynamics caught the attention of Mike Patton, who brought the band on what would be Mr. Bungle's final tour. Despite the inexorable forward momentum of the music and chaotic clangor of the music, there are multiple rhythms that separate and come together giving Dillinger a sound of amplified outrage. The outfit's latest album, One Of Us Is the Killer, comes out later this month
This band from Oslo, Norway, took more than a cue or two from Finnish glam rock legends Hanoi Rocks and that band's heroes, New York Dolls. But these guys took the theatrical side of glam a few steps further with completely outlandish make-up and absurd, and cartoonishly sexual, lyrics. Anyone who thinks a band is too serious with song titles like "The Midnight NAMBLA" and "Hobbit Motherfuckers" from an album titled Ass Cobra, is probably missing the joke. All jokes aside, Turbonegro's bombastic live show and profane songs should appeal to anyone that enjoys glam metal when that music pokes fun at its own ridiculousness.
Opeth started out as a death metal outfit when it's members were still teenagers. But within a few years of its 1990 formation, the band went in a far more melodic direction while maintaining its technical, even progressive, musical instincts. Guitarist and vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt employs distorted death metal style vocals and clean, even ethereal, vocals for the quieter passages. With acoustic guitars and synths as part of the band's soundscape, Opeth has a broad enough songwriting palette that it has been known to do acoustic tours, much to the puzzlement of some of its fans. But fear not, this will be a two night run of its ambitious and orchestral metal.
Savannah, Georgia's Kylesa began in 2001 when Philip Cope, Brian Duke and Christian Depken, formerly of Damad, teamed up with art student/guitarist Laura Pleasants to form the kind of band that always seemed open to experimentation around a core of heavy music. A perfect amalgam of sludgy, sometimes bluesy, metal, hardcore and psychedelia with occasional shoegaze flourishes, this band's music defies easy categorization. Think later Isis or even Neurosis, in terms of the experimental edge with an ear for the accessibly strange. Kylesa's upcoming album Ultraviolet, due out May 28, features Pleasants more prominently as a vocalist, giving the weighty music an uncommon buoyancy, and includes some of the band's most daring songs to date.
Bassist John Campbell, brother of 3 Kings Tavern co-owner Jeff Campbell, says that Lamb of God is "a punk band that plays heavy metal," which may seem counterintuitive on the surface level because Lamb of God has a sound similar to that of the groove-oriented, influential thrash band Pantera. But Randy Blythe's aggressive and distorted singing style is very much rooted in a more hardcore vocal style and the pulsing momentum of the instrumentation has the headlong pace of punk. But the guitar sound and its rapidly winding leads is pure metal. In 2012, Blythe was charged with manslaughter in the death of a fan in the Czech Republic. But last month, he was acquitted of all charges in that tragic and accidental death. So now, the band can tour with Blythe as a free man.
When Soundgarden started out in 1984, Chris Cornell was the drummer as well as the singer. That lasted about year and Cornell was soon fronting the band and playing guitar. The band became one of the original groups lumped in with "grunge," but when the band was first marketed to a national audience with its A&M debut, 1989's Louder Than Love, it was sold as heavy metal. But the metalheads that bought the record under those auspices discovered a band far musically stranger than most metal with deeply poetic lyrics about truly dark subjects that most heavy bands of the era weren't touching and today still don't much. The band broke to a mainstream audience around the time grunge became a nationwide phenomenon with the release of its 1991 album Badmotorfinger. These guys never got quite as big as say Nirvana or Pearl Jam, but it also never released a subpar record.
This Miami band formed in 2004 when Steve Brooks and Juan Montoya of influential doom band Floor got together with their friends Jonathan Nuñez and Rick Smith. Somewhere between sludge metal and noisier punk, Torche's sound has more in common with the likes of the Melvins, Helmet and Baroness than it does doom and stoner rock with which it is often associated, and that's mainly because Torche's songs aren't particularly slow nor drawn out. Instead there is an energetic drive behind the songwriting that takes the sounds of a swampy, psychedelic metal and accelerates it. The band's latest album, Harmonicraft, was mixed by Kurt Ballou of Converge and includes the cheekily titled "Kiss Me Dudely" -- a possible reference to Brooks' being one of the few openly gay musicians in metal.
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