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Unleashed In The Midwest: July 2016

Welcome to Unleashed In The Midwest. Named after quite possibly the greatest live heavy metal album of all time, this is a column dedicated to showcasing prime choice heavy metal shows in and around the Kansas City area every month (or so). If you are a false, don't entry: you'll be burned and died.

Dragged Into Sunlight with Primitive Man, Cult Leader, Hossferatu at The Riot Room on July 8th

Three albums in ten years is all it took for the UK's Dragged Into Sunlight to make a form of metal that combines black, death, sludge and harsh noise into some of the purest audial horror. Their debut album, 2009's Hatred for Mankind, was an instant underground classic and remains to this day one of the most intense extreme metal recordings of this millennium. 2012 had the band shake it up a bit with the release of their single-track, sludge-metal experiment "WidowMaker," and followed that up with a long-awaited collaboration with black metal/harsh noise group Gnaw Their Tongues which resulted in the collaborative album NV which was easily one of the best albums of last year. The only thing that can rival the quality of their music output is their live show. It's a rare thing to see Dragged Into Sunlight with any amount of light onstage besides candle-adorned animal skulls. The members, with their backs turned to the crowd until the climax of the last song, will easily put on one of the heaviest, loudest and terrifying shows of the year. To make a good thing even greater, superloud sludgelords Primitive Man, Gaza-reincarnation Cult Leader and KC's heaviest band Hossferatu open.

Carcass with Crowbar, Ghoul, Night Demon at The Granada on July 17th

Explaining who Carcass is to an extreme metal fan is like explaining who The Clash is to a punk rocker. Legendary in every sense of the word, the recently reactivated British group shook the extreme metal scene to its core when they basically invented goregrind with "Symphonies of Sickness" in 1989 and putting melodic death metal on the map with "Heartwork" in 1993. Reuniting in 2007, the group released a fantastic album, "Surgical Steel," in 2013 and have been touring nonstop ever since. They last destroyed The Granada in November of 2014 and they're back with another killer tour package. Direct support falls to Crowbar, a household name when it comes to southern sludge metal with connections to Down, Pantera and Soilent Green, among others. Also opening is Ghoul, the lovechild of horror films, GWAR-styled prosthetics and puppetry and surf-influenced thrash metal (oh, they're also from Creepsylvania), and Night Demon, probably the second coming of Iron Maiden.

Ghost Bath with Underling, He Whose Ox Is Gored, Aprilmist at The Riot Room on July 20th

Post-black metal is the new retro-thrash metal which was the new melodic death metal, and so on and so forth. In a world where Deafheaven and Alcest exist, do we really need more post-black metal? The answer is easily - of course! Ghost Bath took everyone by surprise when they appeared on the scene in 2013 with their self-titled EP as a post-black metal band from China, only for it to be revealed after two albums in 2014 and 2015 that the group is actually from - wait for it - North Dakota. At least the music is still good, right? Basically if you dig this sort of soundscape-y atmospheric black metal with a good amount of shoegazing influence, you'll fit right in at The Riot Room on July 20th.

Jackson May is Kansas City (Kansas side, unfortunately) native that eats, lives, breathes and will eventually die by metal. After attending as many shows as possible for over a decade now, it's time for him to put pen to paper and blab about all things heavy music to anyone that will listen. Find him at any number of small heavy metal shows each month, or maybe at a few pop punk or hip-hop concerts.

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