Best Metal Album 2023 | BetrayalNecropanther | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Courtesy Necropanther

Necropanther has been an active metal band since forming in 2014 with Haakon Sjogren (drums), Marcus Corich (bass), Joe Johnson (guitar) and Paul Anop (guitar/vocals), playing a high-speed technical death metal that's been refined and perfected over the years behind the dual-guitar attack of Johnson and Anop. The band's latest release, Betrayal, captures the four-piece at its peak in a performance that's equal parts fast, heavy and melodic, with pieces of blackened thrash peppered throughout. The razor-sharp production gives the music a clarity that allows the musicianship of all four members to shine, from soaring guitar solos to blast beats. With standout songs like "One and Only" and "If You Can Count," Betrayal is relentless from start to finish.

Best Celebrity Guitar in a Dentist's Office

Nikki Sixx's bass

Dr. Michael Diorio, Denver dentist extraordinaire, is also a music junkie who goes by the handle "Rock Doc." In another incarnation, he's a photographer who's shot countless local and national bands, even working a few shows at Red Rocks over the past 25 years. In July 2022, Diorio was part of a meet-and-greet at a Mötley Crüe concert in Kansas City, where he met bassist Nikki Sixx and acquired the bass that Sixx played on 1985's "Home Sweet Home." Now the Sixx-signed bass adorns a wall in Diorio's office, where patients (and curious visitors) can pose with it or play it, inspiring them to post their own photos and musical memories on his Instagram page. The guitar has also led a double life as a "therapy instrument" for patients at Craig Hospital, where Diorio has been a dental consultant for nearly three decades. To see what stories this amazing ax has spun, follow the good doc on Instagram.

If you're tired of radio with the same old songs and the interminable advertising that interrupts them, give Indie 102.3 a shot. It's public radio, listener-supported and admirably devoted to playing lesser-heard "adult-album-alternative" music, with special attention paid to homegrown Colorado acts. While listening, you'll find yourself less likely to utter a scowling "What the fuck is this?" and much more likely to signify eyebrow-arching approval while saying, "Hey, what the fuck is this?"

Denver listeners still turn to the radio for new music, and when they tune in, it's often to the trusted voice of KTCL 93.3's Nerf. The curly-haired pride of Littleton High School, Nerf takes to the airwaves every weekday from 3 to 7 p.m., when he's a whiz at finding great bands at the beginning of their careers and making them famous over and over again. Under his leadership as KTCL's program director, the station has set every rating record in alternative radio; when he's away from the microphone, he plans live concert events for the station, including must-see shows like Channel 93.3's Big Gig, Keggs & Eggs and Hometown for the Holidays, which have become scene staples. But the proudest of all his promotions is 303 Day: Every year, Nerf pushes March 3 not as a radio promotion, but as a celebration of Colorado in general. And he's one of the best things about this state.

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