The month In metal: Bret Michaels edition

April 30, 2013

Whether you pine for the long-haired heyday of L.A.'s Sunset Strip, the new-school breed of melodic metalcore, or the bone-rattling drones of sludge-metal's finest, May is just infested with metal, both old and new. Here are some highlights:

Boris

With a two-night run at Rock & Roll Hotel, the Japanese noise-rock/drone-metal champs are splitting their schedule. Boris plans to play their riff-heavy hits on Tuesday, saving all the feedback-laden drones for Wednesday.

Hair Factor: Though certainly not a glam band, the typically brutal experimental trio does occasionally make forays into pop territory and sometimes toys with metal cliches. 4/10.

May 1 & 2 at the Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. 202-388-7625. www.rockandrollhoteldc.com. $15.

Bret Michaels performs at M3. (Mark Mazzanti)
Bret Michaels performs at M3. (Mark Mazzanti)

M3

This two-day festival features all the hard-rockin', fist-pumping, heart-breaking glam stars you could possibly ask for: Bret Michaels Band, Twisted Sister, King's X, KIX, W.A.S.P., Jackyl ... it's like the '80s never ended.

Hair Factor: Are you kidding? Let's just hope no one lights a match in the dressing room. The level of combustible hairspray backstage should rival that of VH1's Divas Live. 10/10.

May 3 & 4 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. 410-715-5550. www.merriweathermusic.com. $25-$60.

Fear Factory

Pioneers of industrial metal, Fear Factory is touring with three of its original members in promotion of 2012's "The Industrialist."

Hair Factor: They're pretty straight-up dudes wearing all black and screaming, but the occasional sing-song vocals earn them two points. 2/10.

May 5 at Baltimore Soundstage, 124 Market Pl., Baltimore. 410-244-0057. www.baltimoresoundstage.com. $22-$27.50.

LA Guns

The pivotal precursors of Guns N' Roses never reached GnR's heights, but they encapsulate the bad boy heart-on-sleeve aesthetic that Axl perfected.

Hair Factor: Sure, they've got their rockin' solos, but boy do they love cornball ballads. 9/10.

May 9 at Empire, 6355 Rolling Rd., West Springfield. 703-569-5940. www.empire-nova.com. $15.


Ghost B.C. plays 9:30 Club in May. (Loma Vista Recordings)

Ghost B.C.

The darkly costumed Swedes play fairly classic, Sabbath-inspired metal with some gloomier doom-metal elements on the fringes. The show is about their evil outfits as much as their creepy music.

Hair Factor: Well, they do care about image, but it's not especially pretty. 3/10.

May 13 at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930. www.930.com. $20.

Attack Attack!

I can't claim to fully understand this so-called "crabcore" music, but the kids love it. The tight-jeaned metal act relies on heavy grindcore breakdowns, auto-tuned singing, fierce screaming, emotive lyrics, and occasional electronic dance beats.

Hair Factor: These guys are definitely out to impress the ladies with their emo haircuts. 9/10.

May 22 at Empire, 6355 Rolling Rd., West Springfield. 703-569-5940. www.empire-nova.com. $13.

Baroness

One of the strongest contenders for a truly contemporary, accessible metal sound, Baroness writes killer hooks atop thick, detuned guitar riffs. Despite a bus accident that nearly killed them, followed by the departure of two band members, the sludgy-yet-catchy act trudges onward.

Hair Factor: They're a T-shirt and jeans kind of band, but their dueling guitar solos, vocal harmonies and general stage swagger can't be overlooked. 4/10.

May 25 at Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place, Baltimore. 410-244-8854. www.ramsheadlive.com. $17-$20.

Deathfest

This is it folks: The most exciting heavy metal showcase in the area. Thrash pioneers Venom perform alongside doom progenitors Pentagram and the Obsessed. Sludge rock mainstays the Melvins share a stage with stoner metal champions Sleep. Metalcore innovators Converge scream on the same bill as atmospheric instrumentalists Pelican ... the list just goes on. For serious metalheads, this fest is not to be missed.

Hair Factor: This fest will burn the hair from your scalp and walk away laughing. -10/10.

May 23-26 at the former Sonar compound and at Baltimore Soundstage.
www.marylanddeathfest.com. $51-$155.

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