The ten best metal shows in Denver this month

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4. NILE @ GOTHIC THEATER | TUES, 3/19/13 Karl Sanders became a bit of a known figure in the early days of death metal when he played shows with his old thrash band Morriah. But it was his band Nile, formed in 1993, that he decided to take his music in a more extreme direction into the realm of technical death metal. Chances are that the lyrics with references to Egyptian religion and mysticism are part tongue-in-cheek in tone but serious in the interest in the subject. Nile recently made its sense of humor clear in naming a song "Ethno-Musicological Cannibalisms" from its latest album, At the Gates of Sethu. Playing in drop A, Nile truly isn't kidding around with sounding heavy.

3. IN THIS MOMENT @ FILLMORE AUDITORIUM | TUES, 3/26/13 Formed in 2005 out of the ashes of Dying Star, an older project that included singer Maria Brink, guitarist Chris Howarth and drummer Jeff Fabb, In This Moment mixes thrash with threads of hardcore and, more recently, industrial metal á la Fear Factory or Marilyn Manson. Brink's wail is powerful in a way that can only really be compared to Doro Pesch in its versatility and facility with expressing mind shearing emotional intensity. But it's not all blasting volume with this bunch. The band's 2012 album, Blood, may be more imbued with a darker spirit than previous efforts but it also emphasizes the act's sonic diversity.

2. CEPHALIC CARNAGE @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | SAT., 3/23/13 Since 1992, Cephalic Carnage has carved out a unique place for itself in the milieu of metal by being an early purveyor of deathgrind. But for anyone who's seen the band live, or listened closely to its albums, it's obvious the guys writing the music are well familiar with jazz. This became very apparent on the group's 2000 album Exploiting Dysfunction. What also became obvious is the sharp sense of humor with song titles like "Dying Will Be the Death of Me." As the band has become more experimental, the music is evokes a far more metalized Naked City. If merely seeing Cephalic isn't metal enough, this bill also features fellow titans of Colorado metal Havok, Speedwolf and Silencer.

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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.