Let’s face it: musically, the Amsterdam area caters mostly to lovers of dance music and chart-topping tunes. This means that it's sometimes a pain to track down the best heavy gigs going on between the endless onslaught of DJ sets and dance festivals. Not to worry: whether you're into punk, metal or general heaviness, there’s still plenty to come in 2018.

Dead Cross

Dead Cross gig in Amsterdam

If you're a fan of heavy music, and you haven't heard of supergroup Dead Cross yet, drop everything and start streaming their self-titled debut album, like right now. I know, I know – the term supergroup gets chucked around so haphazardly these days it's laughable, but trust me: these guys are the real deal. 

Not convinced? The band is made up of drummer Dave Lombardo (SlayerSuicidal Tendencies, Misfits), vocalist Mike Patton (Faith No More, Tomahawk), guitarist Mike Crain (Retox) and bassist Justin Pearson (the Locust, Head Wound City and Retox). Told ya. 

A concoction of the most extreme elements of thrash, hardcore punk and noise rock, Dead Cross' tunes are a true assault on the ears. Of course, there are blistering blast beats, grisly guttural growls and bee-swarm riffs galore, but the extreme sound is often flanked by doomy operatic wails and gang chants. Just when you think you've got this band worked out, they throw something new into the mix. 

10 July, Melkweg


DZ Deathrays

DZ Deathrays in Amsterdam

Aussie bands have been absolutely killing it lately, but these Brisbane boys aren't your typical punk or metal romp; in fact, it's almost impossible to pigeon-hole them into a genre at all, which is why they gave themselves the affectionate label of “dance punk”.

Yep – you read it right: Dance punk. Thankfully, they haven't taken any cues from the God-awful electronicore metal bands of the late '00s; DZ Deathrays' music is more feels more dynamic, textured and raw.

They're good on record, but DZ Deathrays are at their best when they're on stage. Seriously, the shows are absolute chaos, so expect stage diving, mosh pits and intimate audience banter throughout. The band played their first shows at Brisbane house parties with a fun-first mantra, Eight years later, not much has changed – luckily!

18 August, Bitterzoet


Van Canto

Van Canto in Amsterdam

Now, you might assume that heavy metal and a capella don’t gel well together, but you’d be wrong, and Van Canto are livin’, breathin’, rockin’ proof of that. With just six voices and a drum kit, this German band remarkably emulates the sounds of guitars, bass and even the odd orchestral interlude.

It's pretty bewildering how they manage to make something so whole and fleshed-out using just their voice boxes. Although just two of the singers provide the lead vocals, the others focus on singing riffs, grooves and bass lines. If you're a fan of classic heavy metal, symphonic metal or power metal, you can't go far wrong with Van Canto.

And don't even get me started on their Maiden and Metallica covers. Pure metal bliss. 

20 September, Melkweg


Crossfaith 

Crossfaith in Haarlem Patronaat Amsterdam

Japanese metal band Crossfaith are one of the few Asian bands to crack the Western world – outside of J-pop, K-pop and Baby Metal, anyways. And for good reason: nobody knows what the hell Crossfaith are going to do next. With a list of inspirations longer and messier than Dave Mustaine's hair, each of these guys' tracks is completely different to the next. 

Spoken word, synths, melodic vocals, screams, industrial beats, dubstep drops – they've tried it all. What they'll do next next is anyone's bet, but the songs are always deeply rooted in the juicy riffs, breakneck drums and grooves of metal. Slipknot and The Prodigy had a Japanese baby, and it's called Crossfaith.  

11 October, Patronaat


August Burns Red

August Burns Red in Amsterdam

Metalcore is the metal community's Marmite; naysayers claim it's not real metal and it's too repetitive, and advocates rally that it's the perfect cocktail of punk and metal. But what they can agree on – even some of metalcore's biggest haters – is that genre pioneers August Burns Red are bloody good. 

With August Burns Red's off-the-Richter-scale breakdowns, lightning-fast guitar work and brutal vocals, it's no wonder that countless bands have ripped off the seminal metalcore gods' work. But nobody does it better than the originals, as proven by last year's 'Phantom Anthem', which was revered by critics and fans alike. 

15 December, Melkweg


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