When: Fri., March 30, 7 p.m. 2012
Yes, that's their name, not a typo—Mpire of Evil are guitarist Jeffrey "Mantas" Dunn and bassist-vocalist Tony "the Demolition Man" Dolan, both alumni of hugely influential British metal band Venom, and wherever they are in their minds, at least some of the scenery is still 1985. (Former Venom drummer Anthony "Antton" Lant left the band in January.) They got off to a fairly inauspicious start with last fall's EP Creatures of the Black—four covers and two originals for a debut, really?—but their proper premiere, the full-length Hell to the Holy (Scarlet), is a lot more promising. They're not going for a trendy update here: overall the album's very close to the classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound, never quite as vicious as Venom in their prime but blessed with solid heaviness, bluesiness, and speed, plus a level of variety that makes it highly accessible. There are even some indications, like the shout-outs in "Snake Pit," that they've picked up a little lightness and playfulness somewhere—but all that really means is that when the eight-minute "The 8th Gate" lands on you like a slow-moving pile of bricks, it hurts especially good. —Monica Kendrick Onslaught headlines; Mpire of Evil, Perversion, Absconder, and Severed open.
Price: $18, $15 in advance