14 Austin Terror Fest Picks

The best metal for brave ears


Barracuda, Fri. 7, 6:30pm
New Orleans' Goatwhore heaves a rapid black/death metal meld – as if you chopped and screwed Motörhead under snarling and screechings about the impending apocalypse. Distortion-free power chords give way to Flying V solo shreds. Sammy Duet and Louis Benjamin Falgoust II formerly fronted Nineties sludge vets Acid Bath and Soilent Green, respectively.  Elise Barbin

Unearthly Trance

Empire Control Room, Fri. 7, 9:15pm
As a harsh miasma of blackened, doom-soaked sludge, Unearthly Trance left an ugly smear on the Long Island landscape beginning in 2000. A 2012 breakup proved short-lived, as the trio reconvened, and 2017 comeback Stalking the Ghost plus last year's split with Primitive Man prove their murderous home brew hasn't lost a shred of potency.  – Michael Toland


Empire Garage, Fri. 7, 9:45pm
Black sheep of the hardcore scene, Integrity layers metallic guitar atop rapid-fire punk bass and drums while Dwid Hellion unleashes anguished philosophical screams. The magnetic frontman, born Jack McLimans, burst out of Cleveland in 1988 and issued Nineties genre standards Systems Overload and Humanity Is the Devil on then-thriving Victory Records. Issuing Charles Manson recordings and proselytizing for the eradication of humans, he's a potent and provocative force in extreme music. – Kevin Curtin

Primitive Man

Empire Control Room, Fri. 7, 10:30pm
On a recent split with Oregon's Hell, Primitive Man sinks unmerrily into the harrowing depths with dirgelike pace and deathgrind. "Oily Tears" descends into "Pitiful & Loathsome," each second more miserable than the last. The scornful Denverites toy with the sort of abject despair that plunges psyches into a state of discordant nihilistic tranquility. – Rick Weaver

Deep Cross

Barracuda, Sat. 8, 3:45pm
On a post-industrial vacation, Michael Cockrell and Jason Joachim anguish at leisure, as they bask in asymmetry and wade into a microtonal drift of elusive beauty and romantic decay. Like faded Eighties artifacts from Fiction Records, the local duo's fetish blend of gloom and mud seems destined for cassette by candlelight. – Rick Weaver

Street Sects

Empire Control Room, Sat. 8, 8:45pm
Austin duo Street Sects breeds an urgent and jittery industrialism diced open by nails-on-a-chalkboard samples. Singer Leo Ashline and multi-instrumentalist Shaun Ringsmuth weave an extraordinary collision of high-energy, danceable beats and nightmarish visions into an intense live show. 2016's End Position plied hair-raising dissonance, while sophomore LP The Kicking Mule ventures into the more melodic. – Libby Webster


Empire Garage, Sat. 8, 9:15pm
After nearly two decades riding a reverb-soaked wave, Alabama's elusive Daikaiju yielded only two LPs and a handful of singles, but their gigs convert. Wearing kabuki masks onstage and avoiding all banter, the foursome's insane blend of instrumental psych-prog-noir often ends in literal flames. – ­Libby Webster


Control Room, Sat. 8, 9:45pm
Metal by way of 2016's Asphalt for Eden on Profound Lore, idiosyncratic noise rappers Dälek smash every category. Formed in Newark 20-plus years ago by fusing rock grit, thoughtful electronica, and heady ambiance, Will Brooks unrelenting delivery later regrouped with producer Mike Manteca, last seen on 2017's Endangered Philosophies. – Rachel Rascoe

Lightning Bolt

Empire Garage, Sat. 8, 12mid
Tented at Levitation 2015, Lightning Bolt's manic barrage remains a dish best served live, synthesizing Brian Chippendale's incomprehensible vox/confrontational drumming and Brian Gibson's irate bass rhythms. Converged at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994, the duo landed in a proper studio for most recent LP Fantasy Empire. – Rachel Rascoe


Barracuda, Sun. 9, 5pm
Thou gloms pieces of industrial, drone, and dark folk into languid, melodic sludge. NOLA DIY veteran and vocalist Bryan Funck's thrashy growl ushers the band back into metal territory with doom-ridden lyrics. A recent visit to NPR's Tiny Desk and last summer's Magus crown the quartet's past two years atop Thou's four other 2018 releases. – Elise Barbin


Barracuda, Sun. 9, 6pm
This Madison, Wis. doom quartet revels in both the heavy pound of a raging kaiju and in bales of gourmet reefer. The band split in 2009 following the contact high of Amerijuanican, but bandleader Mike "Muleboy" Makela put it back together in 2015. – Michael Toland

Dark Castle

Empire Garage, Sun. 9, 6:45pm
Florida duo Dark Castle hasn't issued a new album since 2011, but that hasn't stopped these dedicated road dogs from spreading their traditionalist doom metal from coast to coast. 2018 saw the release of Presence, a four-LP set collecting all of their full-lengths and EPs, plus live cuts and demos, as ideal prep for their incendiary live sets. – Michael Toland

Black Cobra

Empire Control Room, Sun. 9, 8pm
San Franciscans Jason Landrian and Rafa Martinez stampede with Southern-fried sludge. Established in 2001 after former acts Cavity and Acid King, their blues bump and the metal rattles. High athletics of Mastodonian jaunts filter out just enough camp to make the romp hurt. – Rick Weaver


Control Room, Sun. 9, 9:30pm
Chicago demons toked Sleep's epic Dopesmoker and christened themselves brothers in darkness, summoning seven studio albums since 2007's Hippie Killer. Four men on two guitars, bass, and drums are thus resolute in plodding elephantine stomp. 2018's Terminal is a fearless, melancholy drive into the dark night of dabs. – Christina Garcia

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Austin Terror Fest 2019, Goatwhore, Integrity, Lightning Bolt, Thou, Secret Sects, Primitive Man

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