SXSW Music: Must-See Metal

11 headbangers


Black Rheno

Thu. 16, BD Riley's, 8pm
Aussie annihilators Black Rheno lighten their blackened groove-thrash hybrid with caustic wit on 2016 EP Let's Start a Cult. "No Time for Numb Nuts" grinds with thundering breakdowns and sludgy riffs, while the rollicking "First World Bitches" catches motormouthed frontman Ryan Miller leading the trio with his best Lemmy impression.

Muscle Beach

Thu. 16, Friends, 9pm
Punk purists may scoff at the classification, but Denver hardcore trio Muscle Beach flirts with the metal underbelly on 2015's eponymous debut, exploding with hooks on the irreverently aggressive "Eagle Wizard."

Rivers of Nihil

Thu. 16, Grizzly Hall, 10:15pm
Metal Blade Records quartet Rivers of Nihil threaten to usurp roster mates Black Dahlia Murder for the heaviest and hookiest beatdown in modern death metal.

Screamin' J

Thu. 16, BD Riley's, 11pm
Local gruesome twosome Screamin' J blasts noise rock, punk, doom metal, and grunge on debut full-length Vagenda, climaxing in a tumult of ambient guitar and death-rattle howls on the hilariously self-aware "Black Metal for Hipsters."


Thu. 16, Grizzly Hall, 11pm
Brooklyn black metal savants Tombs maintain their nearly decadelong winning streak on 2016's All Empires Fall, breaking here from hammering out a follow-up to transcend mere virtuosity with elegant post-punk and industrial gloom.


Thu. 16, Grizzly Hall, 11:45pm
Cleveland hardcore vets Ringworm follow a simple formula on eighth LP, Snake Church: Slash, burn, kill. The quintet eases off breakneck D-beats only to pummel the most devastating breakdowns this side of Pantera's Far Beyond Driven.

Death Will Tremble

Thu. 16, BD Riley's, 12mid
On debut LP Mona, local quintet Death Will Tremble decimates sludgy, hypnotic post-metal.


Thu. 16, Friends, 1am
Mile High City thrashers Necropanther pit man against machine on their bludgeoning, eponymous debut, a death-infused homage to The Terminator.


Thu. 16, BD Riley's, 1am
On 2015's eponymous debut, NorCal fivepiece Wrvth blends cataclysmic technical death metal with ethereal soundscapes recalling Ghost Reveries-era Opeth.

Defy the Tide

Fri. 17, Dirty Dog Bar, 8:35pm
Pittsburgh fivepiece Defy the Tide updates the operatic power metal perfected by Queensrÿche with muscular breakdowns and guitar chugs, dutifully clearing a path for Carly Rose's ascendant vox.

Call of the Void

Sat. 18, Elysium, 8pm
Boulder quartet Call of the Void eschews nuance for unbridled fury, walloping a blend of hardcore, grind, and vintage death metal reminiscent of grindcore gurus and fellow Relapse recorders Pig Destroyer. No time for thinking, only punching.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

More SXSW Music 2017
Playback – SXSW Recap: Love, Hate, Garth & Trump
Playback – SXSW Recap: Love, Hate, Garth & Trump
Final love / hate SXSW listicles

Kevin Curtin, March 24, 2017

Americana 12-Pack
Americana 12-Pack

Doug Freeman, March 17, 2017

More by Bryan Rolli
SXSW Music Keynote: Garth Brooks
SXSW Music Keynote: Garth Brooks
Country music standard talks up songwriters

March 18, 2017

SXSW Music Live: MetalSucks Showcase
SXSW Music Live: MetalSucks Showcase
Even death won’t get festivalers off Sixth Street

March 17, 2017


SXSW Music 2017

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)