Metal-wise, Houston will be lucky to see a decent smattering of quality top acts and lesser-known gems touring through town during the cooler autumn months. While this article certainly doesn’t cover them all, we’ve collected the top 15 that any self-respecting metalhead would not want to miss.
Walters Downtown, September 24
If you're unfamiliar with local heavies Uncleansed, it's time for you to get schooled in all the dark and evil extreme death metal has to offer. Believe it or not, Houston has a very active death metal scene thanks to the numerous people associated with TXDM (Texas Extreme Death Metal) and the many shows they promote around town. Come grind your eardrums into powder as Uncleansed shares the stage with Thy Anti Christ, Khringe and Saturnatas.
14. POWER TRIP
Walters Downtown, September 20
These Dallas-based thrash dudes are reviving a vein of '80s metal with such precision — Slayer-inspired arrangements meet Randy Rhoads-esque guitar solos — you'd think they were just released from a Headbanger's Ball time capsule. Be prepared for a time warp as they play alongside Skourge and Mad Ball.
Fitzgerald's, December 3
The original crossover masters of thrash and punk return home for the holidays. And who doesn't enjoy a moshpit meltdown after some holiday shopping? D.R.I. will share the bill with Toxic Shock and Texas Massacre and if that's not enough for you, downstairs will host Hogs of War, Baron Von Bomblast, The Guillotines and the Bang Shifts.
12. DEADHORSE, THE HATES, DIE FAST
Fitzgerald's, November 19
The Welcome to Hellfest showcase features not only these three local heroes but also out-of-town guests including ASS, Seis Pistos, Ed Hall, Bag of Tricks and Cheesegrater Masturbation. The best part? Part of the proceeds will go to MD Anderson's Children's Hospital for Cancer awareness.
11. THE PRETTY RECKLESS
October 30, House of Blues
Halloween weekend at House of Blues is always a good time, and what better way to ring in All Hallow's Eve than with heavy metal? The Pretty Reckless share the bill with NYC's Holy White Hounds and three-piece California boys Them Evils for a grouping that shows off some of metal's newest talent.
10. TRIVIUM, SABATON, HUNTRESS
Scout Bar, October 7
In one of the best bills around, metalcore gods Trivium pair up with metal's favorite dark witch of Huntress and Sabaton of Sweden. There's just not a greater metal ticket available this fall on the calendar if you're looking for diversity and talent. From Jill Janus's operatic and powerful voice to Trivium's well-executed time signatures and genre-defining skill, this show will be one of the best of 2016.
9. PROPHETS OF RAGE
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, October 8
After much hype and anticipation, members of this metal/rap supergroup have set out on tour promoting their "Make America RAGE Again" platform along with their EP, The Party's Over. Performing with AWOLNATION, these former members of Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine and Cypress Hill will assist you in your rage toward this election year's unprecedented level of absurdity and hatefulness.
8. CHILDREN OF BODOM, ABBATH, EX MORTUS, ONI, THE NOISE
House of Blues, December 11
We aren't sure why there are so many acts on one bill here, but if you're going to be standing (because there is no seating unless you pay extra) at the HOB through five sets, at least this show has quality acts. Better yet, this one is in December, too and as expected, many bands take time off over the holidays from long summer touring gigs. So, in that regard, this exceptionally long show may be the water in the desert we metal fans all thirst for come Christmas season.
7. SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, HAVOK
Scout Bar, October 26
Suicidal Tendencies helped redefine teenage angst and rebellion in the '80s with borderline punk/metal songs like the iconic "Institutionalized." Even Body Count's 2014 updated version still carries the same rage and electricity as the original. Vocalist and remaining original member Mike Muir will join with heavy-hitting thrash boys of Havok for some pre-Halloween mayhem; expect a packed house, a full parking lot and an angry-ass mosh pit. Face-melting at no charge.
House of Blues, September 30
French djent rock doesn't come any finer than Gojira, and this show is coming up quickly. Few bands can combine melody, riffs, varied vocal stylings and environmental themes the way they do. Gojira are promoting their summer 2016 release, Magma, and fans can expect more clean singing and atmospheric nuances as the band evolves into a more mature sound.
5. HENRY ROLLINS
House of Blues, November 28
The actor, musician, author, poet and comedian doesn't do anything without incredible energy and rage. If you've never seen the man's performance art (what else could you possibly call it?), then spend the first Monday after Thanksgiving vacation listening to Rollins's own brand of shock therapy. You will not leave as the same person and quite possibly never look at your father the same way again.
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4. MESHUGGAH, HIGH ON FIRE
House of Blues, November 16
No one does extreme metal like the Swedish, and carrying on that great tradition of face-melting, ball-busting heaviness is none other than the dark lords in Meshuggah; Oakland-based openers High On Fire will bring their own version of West Coast sludge to the stage as well. The tickets will sell fast as fans already know there are few bands that can bring the pain like Meshuggah can.
Warehouse Live, October 13
Dear sweet baby Jesus in a dirty manger, it's freaking Opeth. You are not a prog fan if you are not in attendance, and you are not even remotely a metal fan either. An Opeth show is a form of worship that borders spiritual transcendence. The greatest prog band ever to assemble on the face of the earth will be arriving in Houston in just a few short weeks, and if you haven't taken Friday off from work yet to recover from one of the greatest live acts in modern music history, do so now.
2. HOUSTON OPEN AIR
NRG Park, September 24 and 25
The inaugural Houston Open Air is less than two weeks away, and headliners like Slayer, The Cult, Alice In Chains and the Deftones are only a few reasons you should attend. Not to mention that our own hometown boys To Whom It May will be the first band to open the festival. Back-to-back days of metal, whiskey and tacos. Prepare for the best weekend you'll have all year.
1. BLACK SABBATH
Toyota Center, November 10
The godfathers of doom's farewell tour will be the metal show you simply cannot afford to miss. Just to hear the intro to "War Pigs" live is going to send Houston further into the blackest depths of space than we've ever been. Attendance for all Sabbath shows is necessary, but this last one is mandatory. If 2016 has taught us anything, it's that our rock stars are not going to be around forever. Witness the beginning all the way to the dark end as Ozzy covers the spectrum of metal madness.