Vomited forth from Grand Prairie by ex-members of Bleed the Son and Absu, TBM blackens death beyond recognition. Proudly inspired by old-school extremists like Kreator and (especially) Bathory, the Big D band revels in ultraviolence, commanding "Watch My Town Burn." Debut Casket Prospects darkens the way. – Michael Toland
This NYC doom trio released a single album on the influential Hellhound label before disappearing into legend. Reunion shows overseas and a reissue of its eponymous 1995 LP led to a reactivation. It's all too appropriate that the band returns to the States for a festival featuring the gore-filled fright flicks that inspired it. – M.T.
Riding titanic, slow-churned riffage executed with the enthusiasm of high school kids who just nailed a Battle of the Bands set, Pallbearer came straight out of central Arkansas with 2012's Sorrow & Destruction, smashing together the aridity of Earth with the easy badassery of Rush and Black Sabbath. Your dad would love Pallbearer. – Luke Winkie
Before Napalm Death or Carcass, this Flint, Mich., trio crossbred the thrash it covered with the hardcore punk it loved and gave birth to an ugly, boulder-crushing infant called grindcore. The band has been intermittently active since, making this appearance a rare treat. Essential text: the Relapse-reissued Horrified. – M.T.
About time the other side of Middle Earth was represented in the realm of extreme metal. Claiming to be brought to Santa Cruz through the accidental spellcasting of a group of D&D nerds, Gwar tourmate ABoO brings the full weight of its medieval weaponry, leathery skin, and fangtrocious underbite to blackened death-thrash of a most dominating sort. – M.T.
Deathcore gets no respect, but grave-robbing pummel as convulsed by punk brutality works every time in the circle pit. Tennessee's Whitechapel stomps brutal aneurysm-core with no mercy, the Knoxville sextet never more rabid than on 2012's eponymous fourth LP and third for Metal Blade. Yield. – Raoul Hernandez
Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover had already made their sludgy mark on the underground when they appropriated noise rockers Big Business and became a double-drum-set quartet in 2006, effectively making one of the heaviest bands even heavier. On Saturday, Butthole Surfer JD Pinkus subs on bass while Jared Warren breeds. – Kevin Curtin
Formed in Colombia and based in Austin, Headcrusher's aggressive combination of thrash and death proves rage is the universal language.
Candlelit occult rock with ominous baritone vocals and metallic guitar leads.
Triumphant growlers won "Best Metal Band" at the 2013 Austin Music Awards.
A sleazy ZZ Top, Honky distills metal, blues, and Southern rock into a high proof mixture called speed boogie.
These industrial metal warlords, whose guitar army earned national acclaim in the Nineties, reformed in recent years under the guidance of founding member Adam Grossman.
The supergroup that's eaten its children (Crowbar, Eyehategod, Corrosion of Conformity, etc.), Down keeps frontman Phil Anselmo's dirty Southern metal style alive and screaming.
Satanic black metal monstrosity led by towering frontman Ben Falgoust works fifth LP Blood for the Master.
The sludge-soaked grandaddy of them all, still led by double-downtuned guitarist Jimmy Bower (also of Down and Crowbar) and anarchic singer Mike Williams, Eyehategod rallies after the death of drummer Joey LaCaze.
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