These are the best metal shows in NYC this month.
See also: The Ten Best Metal Albums of 2012
Every Time I Die
Any band that manages to combine metal, hardcore and Southern Rock has our heart. And ears. You could imagine a song called “Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space” to be silly, but the accompanied by a video with an ugly-beautiful Diane Arbus sensibility that features a still-beating out-of-body heart, self-immolation and decapitation and nuclear explosions, Every Time I Die are not for the weak of heart. Their new CD was produced by Joe Baressi (The Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age), so expect a heavy night on March 14 at Irving Plaza as the the Buffalo-bred bunch bring the brutality.
Today is the Day
“Sadness Will Prevail.” “If You Want Peace Prepare for War.” “Pain is a Warning.” They’re not just downer-ish, if often true aphorisms, they’re part of Today is the Day’s impressive musical canon. The Nashville-bred noise core trio unleashes its smart but dark demeanor and multi-genre metal musical attack on St. Vitus patrons on March 6. Since 1992, Steve Austin (not of Stone Cold fame) has led a revolving lineup of players, but it’s Austin, a sort of Henry Rollins-esque character, who makes the engine run. He’s front and center.
Are Y&T the American Saxon? In a way, though they’re more fluid and flashy than the lovable Brit lunkheads. Still, Y&T’s anthemic “Summertime Girls” is easily as unironically iconic as “Denim and Leather.” Since the early ’70s, Oakland, California’s Y&T have been purveying classic if pop-y metal, and continue in that vein March 23 at Stage 48. This was a band made stronger by the sum of its parts, and now, with the passing of bassist Phil Kennemore and absence of drummer Leonard Haze, Y&T are slightly diminished. But with guitarist/singer Dave Meneketti still in charge, Y&T are still worthy of old-school worship.
On paper, it seems a little annoying: An LA-bred nu-metal band whose singer/namesake Otep Shamaya is an anagram for “poet,” who put out a debut album was entitled Sevas Tra. (Say it backwards) Precious, no? Maybe, But talented as well, and metal bands fronted by women are a sad rarity. So if you find yourself at the Studio @ Webster Hall on March 31 you’ll get not only Otep, but the female-fronted One-Eye Doll from Austin and Picture Me Broken, aggro testimony that estrogen rocks.
There was industrial metal before Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein, and its name was, and is, KMFDM (and Killing Joke and Godflesh and….). German lineup KMFDM — which does not stand for Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode — are the brainchild of keyboardist/frontman/sometime drummer Sascha Konietzko, who put the group together more than 25 years ago as a performance art project. Apart from the band’s inherent Germanic metal power, you can be pseudo-political at the March 21 Irving Plaza show: it’s for KMFDMs 18th album, Kunst, (“Art”) which features both a cover illustration and a song in support of imprisoned Russian femme-punkers Pussy Riot.
Brutal Truth are as much a part of NY’s musical legacy as the Ramones. Formed in 1990 by ex-Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, and Stormtroopers Of Death bassist Dan Lilker, the trio started as grindcore/death metal/punk side project who toured and recorded incessantly and successfully. Back from a seven-year-hiatus and in action since 2006, the godfathers of grind Brutal Truth serve up the hyperspeed at Saint Vitus on March 16. Especially worthy tuneage: “Get a Therapist…Spare the World.” There will be mosh.
Yeah, Deftones get a lot of love in these pages. They just happen to be one of those bands whose intense but not overbearing alt-metal is sophisticated, smart but soulful, and possessed of an inherent integrity and honesty–not unlike another Cali band, System of a Down. Yeah, ok, so they’re beloved by “critics.” But don’t take our word for it: The proof will be in the grooves of this classic and classy bunch March 9 at Terminal 5.
Denim and Leather
Sometimes, you just want great live versions of your favorite hard rock and metal songs. For spot-on joke rock, you’ve got Steel Panther. But for a well-executed homage, put on your jean vest with the Diamond Head patches, and get thee to St. Vitus on March 14 and headbang to Denim & Leather. (Two Saxon mentions in one column!) There are two versions of D&L (the new trend: “corporate-run” cover bands in varying incarnations and locations?!) Players in the East Coast version may or may not feature former members of Helstar, Aggressor and Seven Witches, and covers are likely to be early Metallica, classic Scorps, Metal Church and Accept. Get your balls to the wall, man… or your ass to St. Vitus on March 14. Death to false metal.
Childhood Heroes 80’s Metal Fest
Confession time: Born and raised in California, these were not my ’80s childhood musical heroes. But if I’d grown up in the tri-state area, I’m sure Attacker, Helstar, Viking, Heretic, Wrath would be my versions of W.A.S.P., DuBrow, Armored Saint and Keel. So if I HAD been a metal-loving teen in NYC, I’d definitely beat a path to St. Vitus on March 9 to reconnect with my early musical heroes and once-young metal comrades, now with kids the age we were when into these bands in the ’80s. And likely a beer gut and boring desk job, too. But still, the memory remains.
Sometimes, when nothing will do but Swedish melodic death metal from Helsingborg, along comes Soilwork to the Gramercy Theater on March 15. The band’s been around 18 years, and has musically morphed and shifted into something slightly more melodic and accessible. In fact, they just ambitiously released a double album, The Living Infinite; stand tall among their home country bands such as In Flames, Meshuggah, and Dark Tranquility. Not groundbreaking, perhaps, but certainly melodic, intense challenging and worthy, which is more than many bands offer.