The Best OC Metal Concerts in May

Danzig headlines Blackest of the Black Fest at Oak Canyon Ranch
Danzig headlines Blackest of the Black Fest at Oak Canyon Ranch
Courtesy of Danzig

This month brings us Cinco De May and Memorial Day, but the reality is that May is just the warm up to get music fans in Southern California ripe and ready for the summer concert and outdoor music festival season. But, if you can’t wait to get your metal fix till June, don’t worry, there are a plethora of heavy metal concerts strolling through the OC and surrounding areas this month, including a mega music festival. Whether you’re into black metal, death metal, thrash, or power metal, we got you covered.

Gruesome 5/1 @ the Slidebar Fullerton
If old school Florida death metal is your thing, this is a show you want to catch. Formed several years ago by Exhumed’s mad man Matt Harvey, this is a band not ashamed to admit they worship Death, the seminal Florida death metal band led by the late great Chuck Schuldiner. Gruesome is made up of Harvey, along with bassist Robin Mazen, drummer Gus Rios and guitarist Daniel Gonzalez. The band’s debut album, Savage Life is a slab of brutality that gives glory to the old school death metal sound with a contemporary twist. The band is sure to make bodies thrash and heads bang, as they pulverize fans at the Slidebar, just before they do a run of West Coast dates opening for Soulfly. Far from a Death tribute band, the band’s music is an homage to a sound that inspired so many extreme metal bands to begin in the first place. Gruesome’s music is keeping the spirit of Death’s music alive and well one show at a time.

Delain & Hammerfall 5/10 @ The Grove of Anaheim
Delain are one of Europe’s biggest symphonic metal bands, and will bring the ‘Danse Macabre’
tour to the Grove of Anaheim. Along with Within Temptation and Nightwish, Delain are one of the premiere melodic power metal bands with female fronted vocals. The band’s live performances are known to be dripping with passion, energy and layers of classically influenced heavy metal with a mysterious vibe. Also performing at the Grove is Swedish Power Metal legends, Hammerfall, who have been charging across the world for over a quarter of a century with their larger than life tales about distant lands, ancient warriors and the battle between Good vs. Evil. This is the show to be at if you are into Power Metal.

Sabaton-5/11 @ City National Grove of Anaheim
Fans in Anaheim are in for a treat as heavy metal war machine Sabaton will invade the Grove and give fans a performance full of violent imagery, heroes of war, and exhilarating tales straight from the battlefields. These Swedes create metal that is heavy but also historic, reflecting upon a warfare based culture that has been in place since prehistory to modern times. Sabaton has toured with the likes of Motorhead and Iron Maiden, and has a global fan base, with millions of records sold. The band is on tour to promote its latest album, The Last Stand. Opening the show will be Battle Beast, and Leaves Eyes.

All Them Witches 5/13 @ the Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana
Call it psychedelic metal, doom or stoner metal. Whatever you call it, All Them Witches have a sound that rocks. With just enough heaviness, darkness and reefer friendly vibes, this band has been hard at work making music and touring since 2012. Hailing from Tennessee, these hard rockers have carved a name for themselves in the national touring circuit of metal bands, and will be performing songs from their latest album, Sleeping Through The War. Expect a very intense show at the intimate Constellation Room. Don’t forget to being earplugs and your own weed.

Testament 5/18 @ HOB Anaheim
Testament might be one of the most underrated thrash metal bands. Hailing from the same origin: early '80s SF Bay area thrash scene, the band was never catapulted into mainstream success like Metallica or Anthrax, but still kept true to its nature by persevering and playing what they know best and hold true to their heart: speed metal. Led by the large, long haired singer Chuck Billy, the band shows no signs of slowing down despite its over three decades in the scene. Original guitarist Alex Skolnick is the band’s secret weapon, and the thrash metal that he and Testament create will be sure to make bodies fly and moshers slam. As if Testament weren’t enough for this insane show, legendary band Sepulture will also perform, along with hard rockers Prong. Get ready for a night of heavy hitters.

Blackest of the Black Festival
May 26-27th@ Oak Canyon Ranch, Silverado

Danzig’s annual Blackest of the Black festival is back this year, but with a twist. This year, there will be much more than music, and will be two days long, each day being an all day and all night event. First, the fest will take place in Orange County’s outdoor Oak Canyon Park in Sliverado.

Friday night will see Suicidal Tendencies headlining. Also performing: Suicide Silence, Corrosion of Conformity, Belphegor, Discharge, Butcher Babies, 3TEETH and many more. Saturday’s festivities will include an exclusive Danzig performance closing the night. Also playing will be Ministry, Devildriver, Marduk, Atreyu, Combichrist, Ghoul and more. The entire weekend will be hosted by DJ Full Metal Jackie(heard locally on KLOS 95.5) and is sure to attract thousands of rabid metal and punk fans.

But it doesn’t end there. Aside from the musical talent, this will be a mecca for freaks, and anyone into the darker side of life. The entire festival will be full of attractions such as thrill rides, haunted houses freak performers, tattoo parlors, and exclusive activities such as various rituals, sacrifices, a live Ouija Board reading, and even a chance for fans to get pierced through the back with real metal hooks and be suspended in mid air. Along with the various food trucks, roller coasters and camping options, this is sure to be the funnest, scariest, loudest and bloodiest Memorial Day weekend you’ve ever had. But, to be safe you might want to leave the kiddies at home, at least for the after concert activities which will go late.


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