The best metal shows in Denver in September
If you've seen Last Days Here, you're familiar with the frustrating tale of Pentagram. Formed in Virginia in the early '70s, the pioneering psychedelic metal band should have, by all accounts, realized massive worldwide fame. Instead, success evaded the outfit, thanks in part to the struggles its frontman (and sole core member) Bobby Liebling has faced over the years. Thankfully, "last days" is merely the title of the film focusing on the band. Pentagram, which has existed for decades in various forms on the fringes of obscurity, beloved by pretty much any metal fan who's come across its music, is still a going concern. Catch Pentagram with Havok, Kadavar and a slew of other acts at the first annual Snowboard on the Block festival.
Vital Remains, from Providence, Rhode Island, has been around for more than twenty years. As pioneers of death metal, these guys aren't often among the first to be named by fans of the genre. However, the band's signature mixture of melodic yet punishing music blurs the line between death and black metal. From the beginning, Remains was vehemently anti-religion because of how it has been used as a means of warping minds and serving as a pretext for violence. In 2001, Deicide's Glen Benton joined Vital Remains for two albums, including the appropriately titled Dechristianize with its gleefully blasphemous lyrical content. The rapid-fire jackhammer kick drum and Paganini-esque guitar work can be off-putting, but there's no denying this group's sense of liberating outrage and seething intensity.
Valient Thorr is from North Carolina by way of outer space (the players have constructed an amusingly overcooked personal cosmology involving a time machine, Venusian babies and Walt Disney), with each member taking the surname "Thorr" for reasons that have more to do with sensibility than sense. Sonically, meanwhile, the group exists in the twilight zone where modern rock and old-school metal overlap. Take "Parable of Daedalus," which juxtaposes overamped lyrics such as "Don't you fly too high!/'Cuz it's a long way down!" with crazed boogie riffs that seem to be fueled by moonshine. A lot of the music comes across as a goof, albeit a very entertaining one.
With every album, Between the Buried and Me continues to find new, unexplored territories of the progressive metal world, stabbing forward with a meticulously polished nimbleness with their instruments and the world-isn't-flat kind of an attitude towards music. The band's multi-layered maze isn't for everyone, but for those seeking a challenge with their ears, Between the Buried and Me could put you in the right place and time.
Miss the Shining and you'll miss the newest delivery of envelope-pushing, experimental, extreme metal. This band's music will surely make your brain bigger and bigger with its smart compositions until it explodes on the poor fool behind you with his jaw dropped. Shining is a horde of Norwegian crazy fucks purveying mind-bending, industrial, progressive black metal that's evolved from jazz, a blend that would surely crush zee Rammstein Germans in a heavy metal battle.
If you often have the urge to watch The Lord of the Rings while blasting death metal like we all do -- I mean, the two go together like mulled wine and salted pork, amirite? -- then A Band of Orcs is a great way to kill two dragons with one stone. Just like orcs running into battle, A Band of Orcs doesn't hold back on unleashing a raging pit of death metal while putting on an elaborate show of battles with props -- often handing out plastic weapons to other war enthusiasts in the crowd.
Otep loves coming to Denver, and Denver opens its arms every time. In a world where women aren't always heard, Otep Shamaya makes sure her voice is heard with deep growling grunts and brash lyrics. Shaymaya is known for having lyrics condoning aggression against men, but has also repeatedly spoken out about her avant-garde principles saying, "I am an equal opportunity dispenser of rage." In the late '90s when she was younger, she didn't completely look like an aggressor, but with age came a stronger, tougher look and presence on stage.
This is an absolutely kick ass, can't-miss all local metal bill featuring a pair of steadily emerging titans in the scene, Arise in Chaos and Gomorrah, along with a stellar supporting cast of promising acts like From Within the Trench, Sinful Flesh and Knife to a Gunfight.
Allegaeon is a successful amalgamation of tuneful technical death metal out of Fort Collins. The band, which signed with Metal Blade records in 2009, has released two albums that display a metal sophistication far beyond its years.
The Acacia Strain generates pure unadulterated rage. The brutality boiling from the Massachusetts band is carried out with precision, immolating a naturally flowing rage through its growling vocalization of well-placed wordage in a boiling alphabet soup of lyrics and powerful drumming.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.