The Best Orange County Metal Concerts in March

In March, the Observatory leads the pack by offering two out of five of the best metal shows to catch in the OC. Whether you’re a fan of extreme metal like your music served up in the style of death, thrash, black or grind, or you prefer a more commercial taste of sympphonic pwer metal or prog rock, we got you covered. These are the best metal shows in the OC this month. 

1. Cannibal Corpse with Obituary, Cryptopsy & Abysmal Dawn
Wed. March 9, @ the Observatory

If you are a fan of death metal, you never want to miss this band. The lineup might just be one of the heaviest, most brutal tours within the past year. Cannibal Corpse are always worth checking out, because even after now over two decades of uncompromising, aggressive death metal, the blunt force trauma of the music never goes away in a live setting, it’s quite awe inspiring. With a beast like George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, as the voice of the band, death metal’s inhuman and demonic growls have never felt so authentic; Fisher is one of extreme metal’s best vocalists, hands down. And the fact that this dude doesn’t wear a neck brace, with all the damage done to his neck by head banging and head twirling night after night, year after year, is nothing short of a miracle.

The talent and musicianship within Cannibal Corpse is stellar, and the dual guitar playing by Pat O’Brien and Rob Barret releases incantations that create twisted and sick tales of blood soaked zombies, sexual torture, homicide, mutilation, and other ghastly crimes and self inflicted wounds. Bassist Alex Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz are responsible for the thumping sped up rhythm section that glues together the hellish and technical sounds. What is great about this bill is every single band is awesome, from openers LA’s melodic death metal unit Abysmal Dawn, to the ultra insane uber fast Canadian death metal band Cryptopsy and Florida death metal legends, peers of Cannibal Corpse, the mighty Obituary. If you go to this show expect to be pummeled alive if you’re anywhere near the floor for the massive mosh pits that will form. The observatory should be packed for this one, if it doesn’t sell out, it will be close to it.

2. Nightwish with Sonata Arctica and Delain
March 12, @ The Grove of Anaheim

One of the most successful hard rock/heavy metal bands to emerge from Finland, Nightwish have been in existence for two decades, and creates music that is heavy and melodic, both beautiful in nature and full of progressive elements and powerful themes. With the female frontd vocalist, the band’s popularity has reached success at the international levels, frequently performing concerts all over the world. With this tour, fellow countrymen and Power metal band Sonata Arctica, and Dutch symphonic metalers Delain join the tour, in what will surely be a huge gathering of fans of prog, power metal, international hard rock, folk metal and music that can be both based in heavy metal yet still soulful enough to appeal to commercial music fans.

3. Napalm Death
Thurs. March 24, @ the Observatory

This legendary UK-based grindcore group seems to be getting faster and tighter as a band, as the years go on. As many might proclaim the band is considered to be one of the fathers of modern grindcore music, a bleeding of extreme music and political commentary lashing out against global issues like greed, political corruption, oppression, wars, environmental destruction, and religious hypocrisy. Napalm Death are without a doubt one of metal’s hardest working bands, touring most of the year around the globe, non stop. Fans get a chance to see the band at huge outdoor festivals, a medium size venues, and small sweaty dive bar clubs. The band’s violent, extreme metal sound, has stayed true to the humble DIY ethics of hardcore punk music, and led to a crossover of fans. This special show in Santa Ana will also feature the Japanese experimental grindcore band Melt Banana, as well as Dead Cross, the new San Diego based thrash/punk band featuring members of The Locust, Cattle Decapitation, Testament, and Slayer(former drummer Dave Lombardo), and hardcore punk band from Sweden, Victims.

4. The Contortionist
March 25 @ Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction in Anaheim should be packed for this performance by Indianapolis-based prog metal band, The Contortionist. Bringing much deeper elements into prog metal and death metal influence, the Controtionist offer music that is thought provoking, atmospheric and alluring to fans of death/prog Djent musical artists like Between the Buried and Me, Tesseract, Animals As Leaders, Intronaut, and Periphery, many of whom they have toured the world with over the years. This show will also feature experimental metal band Monuments, Entheos, and from Australia, Sleepmakeswaves.

5. Abbath with High On Fire, Skeletonwitch and Tribulation
Easter Sunday March 27 @ The Observatory

What better way to honor the resurrection of Jesus by attending this concert featuring Abbath, High On Fire Skeletonwitch and Tribulation? Another heavy hitter of all great artists, this show is perfect for stoners, thrashers, and those into evil sounding rock n roll music. Headlining act, Abbath, is the former frontman from the great icy cold frost bitten Norwegian black metal band Immortal. With his solo act, the spirit of demonic and mythological inspired music continues. The riffs and drums are faster than the speed of most conventional music and take listeners on an roller coaster of sounds ranging from dark and evil to epic and mystifying. High On Fire’s music is just as dark but not as constantly fast. Though there are hints of speed in the band, a slower, more thunderous doomy reality questioning vibe is held, but the music’s themes and elements consist of pretty deep themes that many would label as ‘far out’ conspiracy theories of world domination by a group of malevolent non human entities who really run the world under the veil of a shadow government. If the New World Order had a soundtrack, HOF would definitely be included. Openers include thrashy death metal band Skeletonwitch, and Swedish blackened death metal group Tribulation.

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