The ten best metal shows in Denver this month

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7. OTEP @ MARQUIS THEATER | WEDS., 3/13/13 Fronted by Otep Shamaya, who, in so many ways, is a heavy metal cognate of Wendy O. Williams, this band has been lumped in with nü metal. But Shamaya is a poet, as well as a singer, and this is evident in her lyrics; there's a lot more than usual creativity involved in what she has to say. That and her wicked sense of humor and social critique -- the poetic sense of which was lost on Fathers & Families, who accused her song "Menocide" of being hateful toward men -- which has become well developed and obvious over the course of several albums. The band's latest record, Hydra, is purported to be the band's last, so this may be your last chance to catch the band in action in person.

6. ALLEGAEON @ MARQUIS THEATER | FRI, 3/15/13 Formed in 2008, Allegaeon and its tuneful, technical death metal quickly caught the attention of Metal Blade. The Fort Collins band signed with the respected and influential heavy metal imprint in 2009, and released its full-length debut, Fragments of Form and Function the following year and immediately became popular with fans of death metal. For the 2012 follow-up, Formshifter, the band challenged itself and produced an album that not only contained much more sophisticated music but the lyrics hint at Edgar Cayce's mystical dream visions of Atlantis and abstract if pointed social critiques. Maybe Allegaeon has smoothed out some of its rough edges but the result is a more focused approach in both the songwriting and live performance. This bill also features fellow local heavyweights Vale Of Pnath, Dissonance In Design, Suns Of Sorath and Artemesis.

5. ORANGE GOBLIN @ BLACK SHEEP | MON., 3/18/13 Not too many bands can say their first record was a split 7-inch with Electric Wizard but that's the claim that can be made by Our Haunted Kingdom. But after that split, the group switched up its moniker to Orange Goblin. This is swampy blues rock channeled through the dark imagination of Black Sabbath, who these guys have covered on their own albums more than once, but there's even more psychedelia around the edges. Unlike some of the bands lumped into doom and stoner rock, Orange Goblin's songs really have some lively momentum behind them. After a five year hiatus, Orange Goblin put out its most recent album, A Eulogy for the Damned, last year, proving why it has exerted such an influence on like-minded bands for nearly two decades.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.