11 Best Metal Concerts in Phoenix in December


It's that time of year where I get to say "'Tis the season to be metal."

The temperatures have finally fallen, and some of our favorite metal band's touring schedules are still in full swing. It's that time of year where we can leave those sweaty mosh pits and emerge into some crisp cool air.

The season for giving is bringing a bounty of metal shows around Metro Phoenix, thanks to an array of locals and major international legends. As such, we're on the lookout for the best upcoming shows.

That's why we compile a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of December. There's prominent metal acts like Emmure, Devin Townsend and Opeth, charity benefit shows to help feed the hungry, and a major two-day festival featuring the top Valley metal bands. There's also three killer shows on December 5 -- so skip the whiskey so you can check out at least two.

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Pallbearer's Prog-Doom Metal Comes from Strange Places (Like Kansas)

Categories: Metal!

Diana Lee Zadlo
Pallbearer loves Kansas. What's next -- does Taylor Swift like Queensr├┐che?

Being the torchbearer of the modern American doom metal movement can be a tough job, especially when you list Kansas as one of your favorite bands. But it makes sense, according to Pallbearer bass player and vocalist Joseph D. Rowland, who says the band's progressive tendencies are just as important as its metal roots.

"I think we are just as much a prog-rock band as we are doom metal," says Rowland from the band's recently repaired van as he drives it from Lexington, Kentucky, to the band's home base in Little Rock, Arkansas. "We're huge fans of King Crimson, Yes, Kansas . . . bands that pushed the envelope. We like telling a story through the music as well as the lyrics."

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15 Best Guitarists in the Phoenix Metal Scene Right Now

Categories: Lists, Metal!

Clayton Haugen
Jeremy Davis from Animus Complex

The Valley of the Sun has a lot of musical talent that spans across all genres. However, when it comes to heavy metal, the desert spawns some killer musicians. So we decided to take a look at some of our favorite heavy metal shredders. There's no way to really define the best guitarists -- everyone's a critic, right? -- so we chose this list based on several factors.

Let it be known that this list was difficult to compile; it started with about 35 guitarists and was whittled down to 15. This is about honoring standout local guitarists based on talent, presence in the local scene, background as a musician, and other miscellaneous available information.

So, in no particular order, here are our favorite Valley shredders.

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After Bassist's Death, Suicidal Tendencies Singer Talks Life

Categories: Interview, Metal!

Photo taken from artist's Facebook
Suicidal Tendencies singer Mike Muir (center) was reflective when Up on the Sun reached him.

There are three bands about to come through Phoenix that have, collectively, been writing, recording, playing and influencing heavy metal for around 100 years. One. Hundred. Years.

You might think, yeah, okay; that's impressive. What if I also said that, collectively, these bands have released more than 30 studio albums, sold more than 10 million copies, have five Grammys nominations, helped pioneer thrash metal as one of the Big 4 Acts, and have been dubbed the "fathers of crossover thrash."

Well, any true metalhead has probably correctly guessed; I'm talking about Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Exodus.

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Judas Priests' Rob Halford on Why He Loves Phoenix

Categories: Metal!

Maria Vassett
Judas Priest is coming. Hide your kids.

Long before heavy metal was known for ingredients such as shredding guitars, double bass, "horns up" or black leather, the budding chefs were studying up in the 'burbs of England. Not far from Birmingham -- which eventually spawned Black Sabbath -- a young Rob Halford walked to school in Walsall on a daily basis, past the metal foundries with molten metal oozing out of vats.

In 1973, Halford (in his early 20s) came on board with Judas Priest, just a few years after the band's conception. A year later, the landmark metal band released its debut, Rocka Rolla, followed by such legendary albums as Painkiller, British Steel , and Screaming for Vengeance.

"We say that metal was invented in the West Midlands," says Halford. "So we were living and breathing it before a note was even played."

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Metal Monsters Mastodon Make Twerking Video

Categories: Metal!

Travis Shinn
Mastodon doesn't give a toot what you think about their music video.

As a drummer, Brann Dailor makes even the most complex songs seem simple. As the rhythm machine behind progressive metal titans Mastodon, however, it's obvious the apparent ease is a product of enormous skill and loads of practice.

But when singing is added to Dailor's to-do list, things get much hairier, and even the accomplished musician is forced to admit it can be a struggle.

"It takes a lot of energy to play Mastodon songs anyway, so when I'm singing, too, I get out of breath," Dailor says. "I try to space the songs, be smart about it, not playing too many songs in a row that one person sings. But there are some songs that are extremely hard to play that I sing on."

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Metal Memoirs and Stories Abound, Including Books from Scott Ian, Phil Anselmo, Carla Harvey

Century Media
Butcher Babies' Carla Harvey is one of several metal musicians with a memoir out soon.

Former Guns N' Roses manager Alan Niven once told me that rock 'n' roll is created because people are subconsciously trying to form the perfect family that they didn't experience as children.

As transparent as that may seem, it's an easy concept to grasp. Heavy metal lyrics celebrate the underdog and the unknown, sticking a big middle finger to society, and marionetting the masses, demanding that we act, feel and look a certain way. The most amazing guitarists, drummers and bass players in heavy metal admit to spending most of their childhood alone, honing those musical skills.

The darkness of heavy metal and rock is one that often pulls people into the light. Finally understanding that journey is usually the revelation that prompts an influential musician to write down their story that they fought so hard to create. And while the exploration of that journey usually leads down some dark paths, as they say, "The darkest hour is just before the dawn."

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13 Best Metal Shows in Phoenix in October

Mastodon's Facebook
Metal heavyweights Mastodon come to the Marquee Theatre October 18.

Our desert summer is finally winding down; and really, it wasn't so bad, now was it? It's probably in part to the awesome parade of metal shows that came through our fair state since the music industry's touring season was in full swing. Either way, at least the October nights will only be in the 90s when you're leaving those sweat- and blood-drenched mosh pits.

The Halloween season is filled to the brim with heavy metal shows around Metro Phoenix, thanks to concerts and gigs by locals and major international legends. As such, we're on the lookout for the best upcoming shows.

That's why we compile a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of October. There's metal vets like Crowbar and Deicide; to festivals like the Carnival of Death and Southwest Terror Fest in Tucson; and two Halloween shows that will feed your metal cravings, whether you're looking for a creepy death metal holiday, or a costume party with some of the best metal bands AZ has to offer.

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Rob Zombie and Powerman 5000 - Westworld - 9/19/2014

Jim Louvau
Rob Zombie. Full slideshow here.

On Friday, Rob Zombie officially brought the Halloween season to the Valley of the Sun in wicked style. The heavy metal musician's show celebrated the opening of his very own Great American Nightmare haunted house at Westworld, and his stripped down performance took place in the shadow of his three haunted houses that totally immerse those daring to walk through in his horror films.

Right at 8 p.m. sharp, Powerman 5000 took the stage to a packed field and a humid 90-degree atmosphere. I'm pretty sure it's the earliest the band has ever played. The bass reverberated through the crowd as the band launched into "Invade, Destroy, Repeat" to a sluggish crowd.

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The Butcher Babies Became Different People After Writing Their Album

Century Media
Always ready to butcher the masses

The Butcher Babies have been slaughtering their way through the Valley of the Sun as of late. In fact, the heavy metal band's upcoming September 27 at PubRock Live will mark their third show in Phoenix during the past year and a half.

After getting signed to Century Media, the Los Angeles band released their debut album Goliath in summer 2013. Since then they've been touring the world nonstop, sharing the stage with legends like Marilyn Manson, Glenn Danzig, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Black Label Society and Down. In early 2014 they dominated Europe, furthering establishing themselves as a major break-through metal band.

Now, the Butcher Babies are releasing a tasty little "snack" for fans while they're finishing up their new album, set to be released in early 2015.

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