A Fistful of Heavy Metal


Swedish death metal band Dark Tranquility plays LVCS Feb. 21. (Wikimedia Commons)

It’s a headbanger’s ball this week with three highly anticipated underground-metal shows coming to Las Vegas. To my utter dismay, two of these shows fall on February 21.

Here’s how I plan on catching both headliners. First, at 10 p.m., Dio’s Disciples—comprising former bandmates of the late Ronnie James Dio—will descend upon Count’s Vamp’d. Performing only Dio songs, this tribute lineup includes guitarist Craig Goldy (who played on Dio’s classic Dream Evil record); ex-AC/DC drummer Simon Wright; Warrant keyboardist Scott Warren; Quiet Riot bassist Bjorn Englen; plus two singers, Oni Logan (Lynch Mob) and Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen). California metal act Night Demon opens.

Since that show only has two bands on the bill, I figure I can still catch the headliner, Swedish melodic death metal group Dark Tranquility, at LVCS. Arguably the longest-running group to emerge from the punk-influenced Gothenburg scene of the early ’90s, Dark Tranquility is touring the U.S. in support of last summer’s album—its most diverse-sounding to date—Construct. The song “Uniformity,” for instance, shifts from crushing riffs and serrated vocals to anthemic chords and tuneful singing. If you dig thinking man’s metal, Dark Tranquility will tantalize you. And since this 8 p.m. show has five bands (including Finnish metal group Omnium Gatherum, SoCal prog-thrashers Exmortus, as well as local acts Sicocis and Pillars of Creation), I feel confident I can make it in time to see the angst-ridden Swedes take the stage later.

Then, at 8:30 p.m. February 26 at Cheyenne Saloon, the mighty Virginia-born doom-metal band Pentagram performs sonic ritual abuse. Pentagram has been punishing eardrums since the early ’70s, but vocalist Bobby Liebling was most recently featured in the documentary Last Days Here, which chronicles the singer’s triumphant rise from the ashes of substance abuse.

Your Vegas band releasing a CD soon? Email Jarret_Keene@Yahoo.com.