These are the best metal shows in NYC in April.m/
Suffocation – 4/5 – Saint Vitus
In February, Long Island death metal outfit Suffocation unleashed their seventh studio album, Pinnacle of Bedlam, and minds were blown. It’s certainly one of the best metal albums of 2013 thus far. So, seeing them at Saint Vitus on April 5 might be, ya know, a potentially skull-crushingly awesome experience. They’re joined by nasty goregrinders Exhumed, the deathly Jungle Rot, technical Bay Area deathcore band Rings of Saturn, and Roman (yes, Roman, as in from Rome) metallers ADIMIRON. If you survive this show, you will have bragging rights for the rest of the month.
Evil Army – 4/5 – Acheron
Also on April 5 is Evil Army at Acheron. These Tennessee speed thrashers sing mainly about war and bear names best pronounced in a gutteral growl: Rob Evil (guitar, vocals), Michael Murder (drums), and Bones (bass). Joining them are Birth A.D., of Austin, TX, who mix punk chaos with metal themes (more war, basically), as well as locals Brooklyn Militia and Bomb Scare. It’s the North vs. the South, y’all! And you know what that means: bloody civil metal WAR!
Zozobra – 4/6 – Saint Vitus
Zozobra have been getting a fair amount of buzz lately for their upcoming LP Savage Masters, due April 2 on (are you ready for this?) Brutal Panda Records. Hailing from Boston, Zozobra call themselves post-metal, but we call them High On Fire-meets-Weedeater-meets-Mastodon. Translation: if you don’t smoke pot, you may have a hard time explaining why you smell like you do after this show.
Absu – 4/10-11 – Saint Vitus
Absu play a double-header at Saint Vitus with two of Brooklyn’s mightiest black metal bands on April 10 (with Krallice) and 11 (with Tombs). Per their blog, these Texans (from Plano, to be exact), have been “arrogantly executing mythological occult metal since 1991”. And they’re not kidding. Their website includes sections dedicated to “Lyrical Magick”, featuring “myths” and “spells” found among the band’s songs and influences. It’s slightly creepy. The evenings promise to be pitch black, so you might want to say your prayers, cross yourself, and throw salt over your shoulder, before entering the realms of mysticism and what not.
Diamond Head – 4/12 – Saint Vitus
Diamond Head were hugely significant during the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) of the late ’70s and ’80s, and their influence on American thrash bands can’t be overestimated. The classic track “Am I Evil?” is almost indistinguishable from early Metallica (who have covered the song live). Much has been said regarding the question of why Diamond Head didn’t “make it” as big as some of their contemporaries (Iron Maiden, for instance). To which we say: who the fuck cares? It’s fucking Diamond Head, and they’re playing Saint Vitus! Rock on!
Pentagram – 4/16 – Saint Vitus
One of the most interesting things about post-Sabbath doom metal is that several bands can lay claim to being its progenitor, but they were all so underground that none of them really knew about each other. Pentagram, from Alexandria, VA, began crafting their version of slow, down-tuned metal in the ’70s but did not release a full-length album until the mid-80s. Whether their early demos qualify them as “the first” doom metal band (a title that usually goes to Saint Vitus — the band — whose debut was recorded in 1983 and released in ’84) can be something you debate with fellow metalheads as you’re all downing whiskey shots at the venue named for the band who might challenge Pentagram’s “first of doom” title.
See also: Saint Vitus the Band Talk About Playing Saint Vitus the Venue
Raven – 4/21 – Saint Vitus
Saint Vitus has scored big in April, booking three legendary metal bands (see Diamond Head, Pentagram, above), not the least of which is Raven. Another promising act of the NWOBHM, Raven created muscular “athletic rock” albums, most of which are now out-of-print rarities being sold on eBay, sometimes for upwards of $200. So, the fact that these guys are playing Brooklyn’s merely two-year-old metal venue when they’re not even officially on tour is, um, kind of a big deal.
Orange Goblin – 4/22 – Saint Vitus
Around the end of last year, Saint Vitus asked fans on Facebook who they’d like to see play the venue in 2013. Orange Goblin was one of the top answers. The stoner metal band may be from England, but they sure do play some groovy blues that would place them right at home in the parts of our country where blues originated. This is the first time they’ve played Vitus, and we hope it won’t be the last.
Death to All – 4/24 – Irving Plaza
This is a controversial story. Last year, the Death to All tour was organized by Sick Drummer magazine and Perseverance Holdings, Ltd., an organization operated by the surviving family members of Death guitarist Chuck Schuldiner. It seemed like a noble idea: former members of Death would reunite to play Death songs with proceeds going to the Sweet Relief Fund, a charity that helps musicians without health insurance, in honor of Schuldiner’s death in 2001 from brain cancer. And then things started to unravel. The tour hit just a few cities, the fourth being New York, at Irving Plaza, where the a.c. broke shortly after the doors opened. The name of the tour, “Death to All,” seemed literal, as fans suffered through an incredible concert all but ruined by the steam bath effect created by hundreds of sweaty bodies in an un-airconditioned NYC venue in June. It was, truly, brutal.
Then it came to light, in the weeks after the tour, that the musicians, the crew, and the booking agency had not been paid according to what they’d expected and that no money had been donated to Sweet Relief. Musicians were outraged; fans were outraged; metal blogs chronicled each new installment of the unfolding soap opera, the truth lying probably somewhere in between all the flying accusations.
Perhaps tellingly, this year’s Death to All tour features the lineup from Death’s Human album. In other words, nobody from last year is playing on this tour. So, read into that what you will. It should still be a killer show.