4 x metal gigs to warm you up this winter
Winter in the Netherlands gets cold, and with those frosty months quickly approaching there’s only one reasonable thing to do: blast away those winter blues with some of the best popular and up-and-coming metal acts. Luckily, Amsterdam and its surrounding areas are hosting a variety of international acts this year – big and small – so don your best band tee, jump in the pit and check out the best metal music the world has to offer, right here in Amsterdam.
Meshuggah: Thirty years of blisteringly fast extreme metal
Swedish extreme metal giants Meshuggah formed almost 30 years ago, and the fact that they’re still going strong says a lot about the band’s musical acumen. They rose to international fame with the release of their 1995 album, ‘Destroy Erase Improve’. Ever since, Meshuggah have become increasingly popular with their blend of high-tempo, avant-garde metal and their relentless touring. Their latest album, ‘The Violent Sleep of Reason’, came out on 7 October 2016 to universal acclaim from fans and critics alike. The album pushed the envelope for the band, perhaps edging them closer to their deserved place among metal’s elite. Expect lightning-fast drums, finger-bleeding solos, heavy single-note riffs and a shedload of new material.
Wednesday, November 23 // Melkweg
Within the Ruins + support: Metalcore and deathcore’s encore
Within the Ruins are awfully popular with metal aficionados, and it’s easy to see why. The band blur the line between death metal and progressive metal with their blistering blast beats, mind-bending time signatures and commanding vocals. Their last album, comic-book-themed ‘Phenomena’, was a colossal hit for the band, propelling them onto high-profile tours across the globe. The upcoming tour is band’s first since their six-month recording stint in the studio, so expect to hear some new tunes. If that’s not enough high-quality metal for your eardrums, there are three killer support bands. There’s six-piece death metal band Fit For An Autopsy, who are known for their hard-hitting controversial songs that blend hardcore groves with tech metal; expect lyrics covering corrupt politics, misleading media outlets and mass surveillance. There’s also Pennsylvanian deathcore group The Last 10 Seconds of Life, who will be supporting the release of their album ‘The Violent Sound’. Last, but certainly not least, is Phinehas, a neat metalcore group that fuse hardcore punk, thrash and southern rock.
Sunday, December 4 // Patronaat Haarlem
The Dillinger Escape Plan: Perplexingly progressive metal
New Jersey mathcore quintet The Dillinger Escape Plan are revered for their jazz-inspired time signatures, their unyielding, adrenaline-fuelled performances and their versatile approach to metal – it’s safe to say that no one knows what Dillinger are going to do next. Sadly, the band threw us a curveball we didn’t want earlier this year: they announced that they’re calling it quits after their current tour, so this’ll be your last chance to catch the band in the Netherlands. This isn’t one of those ‘hiatuses’ every band and their dog seems to be taking lately – this split is the real deal. Their final album, ‘Disassociation’, hit earlier this year, and it’s phenomenal; the perfect end to a perfect 20-year career in metal. This concert will be a high-octane, emotional farewell to one of modern metal’s biggest innovators. Catch them while you can.
Saturday, January 28 // Melkweg
Avenged Sevenfold: Arena-filling heavy metal
Avenged Sevenfold are metal’s personification of Marmite, but whether you love them or hate them, one thing’s for sure: these charismatic Californians are one of the biggest modern metal bands on the planet. Since they formed back in 1999, the band have made several controversial changes, moving from metalcore to sleazy metal to experimental metal to classic metal – no album is like the last. Despite these changes, the band have remained incredibly successful. Their last two albums before their 2016 offering– 2010’s ‘Nightmare’ and 2013’s ‘Hail to the King’ – hit number 1 on the Billboard 200 and other charts across the globe, and their latest album looks to continue this trend, despite being a surprise release with little-to-no promotion. It’s pretty rare to see the band playing anything smaller than an arena these days, too.
With the addition of their new drummer, Bad Religion alumnus Brooks Wackerman, Avenged Sevenfold’s upcoming tour is set to mix things up all over again. 2016’s surprise album, ‘The Stage’, showcases Brooks’ sublime technical ability and innovation. I reckon he’ll fit right in with Avenged with his punky roots and those unrelenting fills. The album melds prog-rock influences, Metallica-esque riffs and duelling guitars that are reminiscent of old Avenged. The album is so much more than that though; it’s a concept album about the world, where it’s headed and how humanity has failed it throughout the ages. It’s Avenged’s most ambitious album yet, and – personally – I can’t wait to hear the band pouring their hearts and souls into these salient issues on stage.
The upcoming show looks to be one to remember. Even without new material, Avenged’s concerts are always a spectacle, notorious for their explosive pyrotechnics, bombastic stage pieces, and the pure technical ability and stage presence of the band members. That’s not all though: supporting Avenged Sevenfold are Grammy Award-winning metal band Disturbed and Chicagoan alternative rockers Chevelle – two acts that could easily headline their own tour. This one’s not to be missed.
Saturday, February 18 // Ziggo Dome