We’re already five months deep into 2018, and as usual, the month of May is always a time when many concerts and tours pass through Southern California. Get ready, as the LA, OC and IE areas are going to be saturated with metal and punk shows, and if you consider the annual Punk Rock Bowling music festival going on in Las Vegas at the end of the month, the possibilities for seeing live rock bands of various genres will be almost endless. Whether you’re into power metal, thrash, black metal, crossover, death metal and even industrial metal, we got it all this month. Here are the best local metal concerts in May.
Kamelot at The Grove of Anaheim (May 5)
Hailing from Florida, this accomplished American heavy metal band has endured a quarter of a century blending the styles of traditional heavy metal along with international music and prog rock, the band has been putting out records and touring all over the world, including numerous international metal festivals. Currently, Kamelot’s mystical, epic brand of melodic power metal can be heard live at this concert, as the band is on tour to promote its latest album from this year, The Shadow Theory.
Morbid Angel at Glasshouse (May 10)
Although there have been some lineup changes, the spirit and sound of legendary Florida death metal band Morbid Angel lives on. The band will be bringing its ultra loud and brutal extreme metal music to Pomona for a unique and intimate show. Since 1983, the band’s violent, dark and ravaging Satanic death metal has been unleashing and pounding its music on the world, and in 2018 the band is touring for its 2017 release Kingdoms Disdained. This show in Pomona will feature direct support form American grindcore death metal band Origin, the blackened trashy death metal band Dreaming Dead and up and coming death metal band Hate Storm Annihilation
SLAYER-The Farewell Tour 2018 with Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth, and Testament at Five Point Amphitheater, Irvine (May 11)
Back in 2013, when the late Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed, it was unclear at first whether the band would continue. But as the years went on the band continued with the support of fellow Exodus thrash master, guitarist Gary Holt. Earlier this year, Slayer announced that it would embark on a world tour, then call it quits. At the very least it will be a bittersweet, violent and chaotic bid farewell to one of the greatest thrash metal bands to exist on this planet. After 30 years, Slayer had an amazing run and are going out on their own terms. These old headbangers can still shred but they deserve to put the mighty Slayer’s legacy to rest and this tour is the perfect way. Whether you saw the band back in the heyday of the ’80s, ’90s, or early 2000s, or this will be your first, and last time, this will be a tour not to be missed.
Make sure you bang your head extra hard, and jump in the pit for this one, as it might be your last chance to catch Slayer live. As if the headlining band was not enough, you have four other heavy metal bands all worthy of headlining their own shows, so even if you are tailgating, be sure to get there early to catch Anthrax, Testament, Behemoth, and Lamb of God, because all bands will rage and destroy the Five Point Amphitheater. Hanneman would be proud.
Lamb of God and Behemoth at the Fox Theater in Pomona (May 12)
Aside from their opening duties for Slayer’s Farewell Tour, Lamb of God and Behemoth are performing several dates at smaller venues where fans can have a more up and close intimate experience with two of today’s heaviest bands. Lamb of God is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band that preceded it, Burn the Priest, an early version or the current band but more raw, fast and punk sounding. Who knows if this concert will include these Burn the Priest song and covers? Either way, when you mix in Behemoth’s ritualistic, esoteric and savagely wicked Satanic performance and Lamb of God’s notorious wall of death, get ready for a night of intense slam pits and headbanging in Pomona, that is unless you are already too beat up from the Slayer pit the night before.
Combichrist with Wednesday 13 at the Glasshouse (May 18)
Combichrist utilizes the euphoric and layered sounds of industrial and electronic dance music, paired with heavy distortion and percussion and dark melodies and beats, an aggressive mechanic style to create a sound that has fans all over the world. Combichrist as a band has performed internationally at clubs concerts and music festivals and tours heavily most of the year. This concert in Pomona will also feature horror punk heavy metal singer Wednesday 13. If you like dark, electronic music or punk, this is your kind of show.
Life Of Agony at House of Blues Anaheim (May 18)
This New York-based hard rock crossover metal band has been at it since 1989 and came from the same scene and era as greats like Type O Negative, Biohazard, Agnostic Front and Sick of It All. Throughout the ‘90s, the band built a massive following, Vocalist Keith Caputo came out around 2011 as transgender and made the transition; she is now known as Mina Caputo, and Life of Agony is back, and hitting the touring circuit, still in support of last year’s album, A Place Where There’s No More Pain, which has the band back and sounding crisp and tight as ever. From Life of Agony performances so far, there has been a positive reaction from critics and the diehard fans have embraced Caputo and let the music speak for itself regardless of gender. At this show in Anaheim, special openers include the rap-metal-hardcore hybrid featuring Sendog from Cypress Hill, Christian Oldewolbers formerly of Fear Factory, Billy Graziadei from Biohazard and Roy Lozano from Downset.
Midnight, with BAT, Wormwitch at the Constellation Room at the Observatory (May 19)
Taking over the smaller room at the Observatory, Ohio ’s evil headbangers are going to wreak havoc in Santa Ana with their speed metal approach to Moorhead and Venom inspired black metal thrash punk. These Satanic speed metal freaks will bring utter chaos and auditory destruction to rabid fans. Also on the bill is BAT, a darker, a crossover thrash punk band featuring members of Cannabis Corpse and Municipal Waste, as well as extreme metallers Wormwitch.
Obituary at the Glasshouse Pomona (May 26)
Fans in Pomona will get a night full of death metal, as Florida death groove masters Obituary return with their pulverizing and ultra heavy brand of bone-crushing death metal. These guys have been at it since the mid to late ’80s, and have undergone some lineup changes, but throughout the years the band always stayed true to the underground, heavy and brutal music. The band will surely incite mosh pits and a sea of headbangers, along with special guests thrashing death metal group Skeletonwitch, and dreamy darker metal band Pallbearer, as well as German extreme metal thrashers Dust Bolt.
Alex Distefano is an established freelance writer and music blogger from the Los Angeles area. With over a dozen years under his belt as a published Journalist, he covers the worlds of heavy metal music, punk rock, current events, cannabis culture, comedy, radio, food, tattoos, the paranormal, and ‘conspiracy theories.’ He graduated from California State University Long Beach in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Journalism and Ancient History. Aside from his professional writing endeavors, Distefano works as an Educator, and delivery/rideshare driver.