13 Best Metal Concerts in Phoenix This March

Categories: Metal Mondays

Jim Louvau
Korn, with our without dreadlocks, will play Pot of Gold Music Festival this month.

March in Phoenix is usually one of the most beautiful months of the year -- the transition between winter and summer is in full swing, so the weather is usually in the, oh, high 80s. For those who aren't familiar, no -- we don't have a spring season here. It just goes from three weeks of coat weather to one week of cool breezes, to five months of grueling heat. Then it just repeats.

So make sure you get suitable time outdoors, because the nights are filled with lots of heavy metal. There are a ton of great shows around town, which is why we compiled a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of March.

There are legends like Anvil, Whitechapel, and Texas Hippie Coalition, an outdoor festival featuring Korn and Godsmack, and a local metal Annual Mustache Massacre and Metal for the Hungry event.

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Rock in Rio with Metallica, Deftones, Sepultura to Be Held in Vegas This May

Categories: Metal Mondays

Rock in Rio
A photo of a main stage performance at Rock in Rio

While I try not to whine about it too much, it's a true fact that our fair Southwest desert doesn't get too much "rock festival" action. Sure -- we seem to have EDM raves and indie rock fests galore. But when it comes to weekends packed with hard rock, and a little enclosed world metalheads can call their own, I'm constantly racking up airline miles flying over to the East Coast and Midwest.

However, during this spring it's the desert's time to shine, when Rock in Rio will make it's U.S. debut in Las Vegas, just a mere 4.5 hours away, on May 8-9 and May 15-16.

The theme-park-like Rock in Rio on the Strip, teamed up with MGM Resort, has been about two years in the making--but the plan is that it will stay for the long haul. Not only was an entirely new open-air venue, called City of Rock, constructed for the event, it's already attracted some of the biggest names in music--and we even get a dose of that heavy metal feeling, too.

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Ella Kaye's Collaborative EP Features 12 of Band's Phoenix Metal Peers

Categories: Metal Mondays

Courtesy photo
A record exec ripped apart Ella Kaye's new record, and the band released its response EP last night.

One of the great things about Phoenix bands is that they constantly pump the local scene.

Local hardcore/death metal at Ella Kaye reinforced this with their recent EP release Comas Collide on February 8. It's a collaborative effort; meant to showcase metal variety and musicians having a damn good time, rather than celebrate the local band that actually came up with the idea.

First off, the band's EP features eight signed musicians and 12 total artists -- on just five tracks. Ella Kaye's founder and vocalist, Justin Chard, and guitarist, Michael Martin, are the only two band members involved in the making of the record. Album guests include Matt Good (From First To Last), Jared Warth (blessthefall), and David Sanders (The Attitude), Eric Lambert (blessthefall), Michael Barr (Volumes), Alexia Rodriguez (Eyes Set To Kill), Tony Pizzuti (The Word Alive), Aaron Matts (Betraying The Martyrs), Tony Pizzuti, and Zack Hansen (solo) (The Word Alive).

"People are fans of the album's guests rather than my band [Ella Kaye], so it's a cool story," admits lead vocalist and founder, Justin Chard. He decided to make an album with all his favorite musicians, and by a mix of pure serendipity and great connections, the people he asked agreed and came together.

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8 Best Metal Concerts in February in Phoenix

Jim Louvau
Marilyn Manson has a new album out, and he's coming to town to promote it.

The start of February made it one of the busiest, most exciting months of 2015 in the Valley of the Sun. More than a million extra people crowded into town for the Phoenix Open, the Superbowl, or the fact that they're just snowbirds. Clearly cause for shots of whiskey and heavy metal. Lucky for all us metalheads, the heavy metal scene isn't resting on its laurels, even with all the other heavy excitement, traffic, and rain around town.

Don't let that keep you indoors, though. There are a ton of great shows around town, which is why we compiled a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of February.

There's local EP release bashes, legends like Napalm Death and Marilyn Manson, and even a show by metal guitarist John 5 on Valentine's Day. I know where I'll be pre-gaming before the strip club.

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Dark Tranquillity's Niklas Sundin Explains Why Everyone Should Be More Like Carl Sagan

Categories: Metal Mondays

As one of the original Gothenburg (Sweden) metal bands, Dark Tranquillity offers a style of music that's few and far between. Formed in 1989 by guitarist Niklas Sundin and vocalist/guitarist Mikael Stanne, the five-piece melodic death metal act has released 10 studio albums over the years, each one substantially different then the last.

The band constantly experiments with different musical textures and vocal styles -- one album will focus on heavy growling vocals and abstract riffing, while the next centers around clean soft choruses and atmospheric keyboards. And then there's their most recent and diverse record, 2013's Construct.

The album marks the band's descent into their "darkest period" thus far, and the title refers to the negative "construct" of faith and organized religion as an excuse or safe-guard that people use to defend what they do. It's melody-driven, emotional and heavy, and lyrically focuses on a world-weary viewpoint of mankind's ignorance and bigotry, straying from the band's typical songwriting method to include contributions from basically all the members. The result is liberation from what Stanne describes as a previous struggle with writer's block.

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Periphery's Misha Mansoor Explains Why He Hates Guitar Solos

Categories: Metal Mondays

Courtesy of Periphery

Periphery is one of those bands that are difficult to forget. It's not because they are constantly in the mainstream, shoved in your face by way of radio play, music videos or non-stop festival headlining. Although I'm sure they wouldn't turn down any of that.

No -- you remember Periphery because of the musical prowess. The heavy yet delicate mix of poly-rhythmic patterns and climactic melodies. The unexpected tumultuous flow of the music, and variation between raw screams and soaring vocals. The members, vocalist Spencer Sotelo, guitarists Misha Mansoor, Mark Halcomb and Jake Bowen, bassist Adam "Nolly" Getgood, and drummer Matt Halpern, are actually progressive in every sense of the word.

Periphery is a djent movement pioneer, often compared to a younger, heavier Dream Theater. The members self-produce everything they do, and since the self-titled debut five years ago, have created two other albums. The third, a double concept album called Juggernaut, comes out on January 27.

Juggernaut is two whole albums worth of material released as two separate discs, one called Alpha and the other Omega.

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Incantation's John McEntee Describes the Band's "Organic" Death Metal

Categories: Metal Mondays


Death metal bands that have been able to permeate the metal industry up from the core of the underground scene are few between. But a band that has been able to do that consistently for a quarter of a century, and still not view their artistry as a "job," well -- that's Incantation.

The American extreme metal band, formed by John McEntee and Paul Ledney in 1989, was one of the pioneers in the New York death metal scene alongside such acts as Suffocation and Immolation. And much like the definition of its name, Incantation has been conjuring up heavy doses of unique metal over the course of nine full-length albums. And while the band has had more than 30 lineup changes over the years, it has somehow kept its ritualistic style of tempos that aptly leap from down-tuned and sludgy to rapid and suspenseful.

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Best 13 Metal Concerts in Phoenix This January

Alaectra Busey
Westfield Massacre

The year 2014 ended with a hell of a heavy metal season, with shows like Yucca Tap Room's "Not So Silent Night" ushering in the New Year -- but unlike the insane holiday spending and the snowbird-thick traffic pace, the show calendar isn't slowing down any time soon.

I'm aware that this Metal Mondays Best Metal Shows of January is a little late, so it doesn't include killer shows like the Dead of Winter Festival this past weekend and Anti-Flag.
However, there's an abundance of shows throughout January, and that's why we compile a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley.

There are prominent metal acts like Cattle Decapitation, Machine Head and Periphery, and a wealth of local shows, including the ever-intense HannemanFest and a "When Titans Collide" show, where some of the best metal acts in the Valley share the stage.

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The Best Metal Monday Blogs of 2014

Metal Blade Records
The Cannibal Corpse interview didn't even make the list, 2014 was so great.

The holiday season is winding down, and we at New Times hope that you had a great 2014. As we look forward to the New Year, I wanted to recap some of the best Metal Mondays blogs of the year.

These were picked based off of social media shares, how much they got music lovers talking, as well as my own favorite interviews. Here's looking forward to a very metal 2015!

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Lil Jon, Adele, and 10 other Unlikely Heavy Metal Covers

Screenshot from A Static Lullaby's "Toxic" video
Brittany Spears' "Toxic" is so good, even a hardcore cover doesn't suck.

Whatever your religious beliefs -- Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Athiest -- there's no avoiding the ruckus of the holiday season. For me, Christmas brings a lot of old traditions, love and charitable giving, but there's a lot of needless commercialism that's shoved down everyone's throats starting the day after Halloween.

So kick back and take a break from the stress of shopping, visiting in-laws, gift-wrapping, and terrible holiday song covers by Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey. Seriously -- not only do we have to put up with pop and hip-hop year-round, but then they invade the already-smothering lineup of carols?

Welcome to your heavy metal music break: If mainstream artists can assault your ears via every genre, you can be damn sure that heavy metal steals the thunder now and again, too.
So forget the list of heavy metal Christmas carols.

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