These are the best metal shows in NYC this month.
See also: The Ten Best Metal Albums of 2012
Mais oui, Gojira is a French metal band. But don’t hold that against them. For the last 15 years, this gifted lineup has purveyed nuanced-but-technical extreme metal sung in English, their latest CD, L’Enfant Sauvage, named “one of the most riveting and challenging metal records of the year” by Pitchfork. Gojira holds its own next to influences like Sepultura, Meshuggah, Tool, Pantera, and Neurosis. And on February 4 at Irving Plaza (and/or the 18th at the Music Hall of Williamsburg), Gojira is joined by Devin Townshend (ex-Strapping Young Lad), an artist with a similarly rabid and deserved following among the metal faithful.
Yes, THAT Tom Keifer. Of Cinderella fame. If “hair metal” was a guilty pleasure back in the day, Cinderella was the rare band you could admit to digging. Vocalist Tom Keifer had a bluesy, cool Steven Tyler-esque rasp, which, frighteningly, was nearly silenced due to a partially paralyzed left vocal cord. But Kiefer’s embarking on his first-ever solo tour with an album to follow, and “The Flower Song,” his premiere solo offering, smacks of the Black Crowes/the Faces. Cinderella wrote timeless, non-cheesy ballads, and tunes like the rollicking “Gypsy Road” have stood the test of time. When Keifer wrote “I’ll scream my heart out just to make a dime” (“Nobody’s Fool”) he wasn’t kidding, and you can pay a little more money to hear for yourself on February 11 at the Highline Ballroom.
What better way to spend Valentine’s Day (February 14, in case memory fails) than with legendary thrash bands Testament, Overkill and Flotsam & Jetsam at the Best Buy Theater? Get romantic while screaming along to Testament’s classic “Practice What You Preach,” and mosh next to your sweetie along with Overkill’s “Hello From the Gutter.” Testament, featuring Brooklyn-based guitar guru Alex Skolnick (who also fronts a jazz trio and just released his autobiography Geek To Guitar Hero) and helmed by imposing vocalist Chuck Billy, are in their must-see classic lineup, joined by monster drummer Gene Hoglan.
If you get dumped the day after Valentine’s Day (statistically a good possibility!) work out your angst with Swedish extreme metallers Meshuggah February 15 at the Roseland Ballroom. This is also presuming you’re a dude, as Meshuggah have that “math rock” sensibility that appeals to the more testosterone-laden element of society. Meshuggah is to a 21-year-old as RUSH is to a 51-year-old? Maybe. And if you REALLY want to get technical, Meshuggah is credited with the term “djent,” describing an “elastic, syncopated guitar riff,” that eventually became a term for a small coterie of bands in that aural ballpark. Or, you can just go to the show and air guitar.
At their NYC press conference for Celebration Day late last year, the three original members of Led Zeppelin made it patently clear they did not want to entertain talk of further reunions. But fans have a most excellent alternative in the February 8 show of Lez Zeppelin at the Highline Ballroom. Though Zeppelin weren’t necessarily metal, it stands that neither are Lez Zeppelin, but they are definitively All Girls. All Zeppelin. More than a mere tribute band, they’ve recorded with Zep engineer Eddie Kramer, toured the world and headlined festivals in front of 20,000 people. To see them in their home turf is like catching the original boy version at the University of Surrey in 1968. Sort of.
If Zeppelin’s “Immigrant” song is as Viking-metal as you get, then Norwegian Black Metal legends Enslaved will immerse you headfirst in the “land of the midnight sun.” Together since 1991, Enslaved early albums were recorded in Norwegian, and Icelandic, though latter days, Recent songs like the incredibly dynamic “Thoughts Like Hammers” boast clean vocals, some blast-beat drumming, and epically melodic moments meshed with cookie monster-vocal interludes. How can you not appreciate a band whose song “Heimdallr” is an Old Norse excerpt from Gylfaginning by Snorri Sturluson? Still, Enslaved are more than a musical history lesson, as their gig February 22 at the Bowery Ballroom will surely prove.
Uli Jon Roth
Uli Jon Roth is not for everyone. In fact, he’s mostly for male guitar geeks. Older ones. Who might enjoy the occasional game of Dungeons and Dragons. But for that fan base, there can be none more revered. (Except for, maybe, Robin Trower.) The German guitarist was a forerunner in the neo-classical metal genre that was annoyingly co-opted by Yngwie Malmsteen. Roth, a former member of the Scorpions, is of a headier nature, and counts among his credits the creation of the Sky Guitar (custom guitars able to emulate the high notes of a violin thanks to extra frets). Watch Roth shred on February 6 at Stage 48 OR pay $120 the same day at noon to get a guitar lesson as part of the Uli Jon Roth Guitar Workshop & Seminar.
The Dirty Pearls
Not strictly metal, but not not metal, this February 23 show at the Grammercy marks the NYC band’s triumphant return to their home turf following a tour with their old pal Lady Gaga. If you’re a fan of Buckcherry, Guns N’ Roses, or reaching further back, the Ramones and the Dolls (and all the attendant debauchery that goes along with those bands) then the Dirty Pearls are your new bffs. Back in the New York groove, indeed.
See also: The Lady GaGa Approved Dirty Pearls Want To Be Rock’s First Gang “Since Guns N’ Roses”
Cradle Of Filth
Since their 1991 inception, British band Cradle of Filth morphed from extreme metal into a way more gothic/dramatic version of their former selves, at once turning a more mainstream and more shock rock (a la Alice Cooper) song titles give a pretty good idea of what you’re in for: “A Crescendo of Passion Bleeding,” “A Scarlet Witch Lit The Season” and “Huge Onyx Wings Behind Despair.” Not quite metal for Twilight fans, but close. Singer Dani Filth cites “A Nightmare Before Christmas” as major influence, so if you like rock dramatic and dark, then Irving Plaza is the place to be on February 22.
Could anything be better than a stoner/doom band fronted by a woman? Not bloody likely. Acid King guitarist and singer Lori S. formed her aptly named trio in San Francisco . Since 1993, her fuzzy, low-end guitar has been as prominent as her distinctive vocals in such songs such as the perfectly named “Evil Satan.” Though Acid King toured with the most excellent band St. Vitus, their February 23 show is AT St. Vitus in Brooklyn.