The temperature is dropping, the Texans are regrouping and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra has come and gone. It's really winter now, folks. Not exactly the greatest time of the year for live music, since the weather keeps most of the biggest acts off the road. Takes most of the fun out of a snow cone, too. Winter sucks.
Heavy metal, on the other hand, rules. That's why your pals here at Rocks Off have assembled this handy list of the best metal shows in town between now and when your ball-sweat returns. Should be plenty enough head banging and hellfire at these to keep your warm at least until crawfish season begins. So write these dates down in your calendar, or just carve 'em into your flesh: These are the best metal shows in Houston for the next two months.
Machine Head at Fitzgerald's, 1/22/15 Can it really have been more than 20 years now since the release of Burn My Eyes? Machine Head fans (and a few ex-band members) might tell you it feels like even longer, given the rocky nature of the band's career in the years hence, but Robb Flynn's dedicated troupe of metal lifers has found a measure of stability here in the last decade. Still angry and engaged, they just released their eighth album, Bloodstone & Diamonds, and judging by the reviews, their performances remain as powerful as ever. The pit inside Fitz in going to be insane for this one.
Project Armageddon at Mango's, 1/24/15 If Project Armageddon ever takes a break, it probably ain't long enough to put their feet up. The local doom scene fixtures, led by the impossible-to-ignore Doomstress Alexis, will be back to darken the door of Mango's later this month with their good buds in Funeral Horse. You might as well attend this one, because their wailing riffage figures to be so loud that you'll be able to hear 'em from your house, anyway.
Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse at House of Blues, 1/29/15 Even in 2014, censorship is still an issue for death metal titans Cannibal Corpse. At a show last fall, the band was stopped mid-show by Russian authorities and had dates canceled under threat of deportation. Earlier this month, Russian courts banned the distribution of the band's lyrics and artwork, claiming they might "damage the mental health of children." Behemoth, their Polish black-metal tourmates, were tossed out of Russia last year, too. Buy a ticket and hear what's got Putin so worried about the kids.
deadhorse at Scout Bar, 1/31/15 Three and a half years into deadhorse's unlikely reunion, it's pretty safe to say that they're taking it seriously. A couple of decades removed from their reign as kings of the Houston rock scene, deadhorse remains a potent live force, as capable as ever of generating the kind of mosh pit mayhem that leaves scars. And if you're feeling a little too brittle these days to jumping off of stages, you can still check out Scout Bar's new ginormous tap wall. Scream it with us, now: BEER!
Human Chunks at White Swan Live, 2/06/15 If you're the sort of metal freak who likes his death growls brutal and his album art horrific, swing on over to the White Swan in a few weeks to pick up Anatomical Artistic Deviancy, the debut full-length being released by local stomach-churners Human Chunks. Their set is sure to be filled with putrid new cuts like "Charred Twat Delicacy," so maybe eat a light dinner before you go.
Enabler at Walters Downtown, 2/10/15 Across town, pissed-off Midwestern crusties Enabler won't be bringing any uplifting power fantasies or anthems of righteous rebellion to Walters next month. These guys are none too enamored with this world and its people, and they're not too prim to scream about it. Still, the band's ear-threshing mix of crust, 'core and grind is catchier than you might expect. You may find yourself happily humming an Enabler tune or two after the show, with a huge frown on your face.
Anvil at BFE Rock Club, 2/21/15 Now more than six years after rocketing back to semi-fame with the release of their sometimes uncomfortably Spinal Tap-esque rockumentary, Anvil is still enjoying the hell out of their second life as celebrated rock and roll underdogs. While Anvil! The Story of Anvil revealed the band to be actual, sympathetic human beings, the hard-bitten trio still performs with the chops and enthusiasm of legit metal gods. Fans who turn out to hear them at BFE will find a band that is exceedingly happy to see them.
Dangerous Toys at Acadia Bar & Grill, 2/21/15 You might think you're safe now that Christmas has passed, but any Texas metalhead who's been around for a good, long while knows that Dangerous Toys remain an ongoing concern. The teas'n, pleas'n Toymen have made something of a tradition out of reuniting in Houston for the past three years, delving right back into a bygone era of rock still fondly remembered by many in this town. Head on over to Acadia Bar & Grill next month to see a few old friends, and don't forget the tights.
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Power Trip at Walters Downtown, 2/23/15 Don't ever let your guard down when Dallas' Power Trip comes to town. The current standard-bearers of metallic Texas hardcore accept nothing less from Houston crowds than absolute anarchy, and if you fail to keep at least one eye on the dance floor, there's a decent chance you're about to get hurt. Either make with the mic grabs or move out of the way, because Power Trip's growing army of local fans and friends has already got this one circled on the calendar.
Bad Ass Weekend III at Fitzgeralds, 2/27-28/15 If you can't find somebody to get excited about in the Badass Weekend III lineup, extreme rock probably ain't your bag. Napalm Death. Government Issue. Voivod. Catharsis. Iron Reagan. It's basically an entire vest's worth of band patches, live on stage over two nights. Miss this one, and your cred could take a hit.