The 25 best concerts this winter/spring
20. ANTHRAX @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | TUES, 4/2/13
Considered one of the "big four" of the thrash metal era, Anthrax put New York on the map with its inventive take on infusing metal with a punk rock spirit. When singer Joey Belladonna joined in time to record 1985's Spreading the Disease, the band had its classic and arguably most fruitful line-up. Over the course of the next seven years, Anthrax pioneered a true fusion of rap and metal as well as expanded the idea of what metal could be by injecting a healthy dose of silly, and sometimes biting, humor along with warping the sometimes rigid lines of heavy metal's aesthetics. Playful yet heavy, Anthrax made what could be unrelentingly intense music seem fun. (Anthrax comes to Denver on the Metal Alliance Tour with Exodus, High On Fire, Municipal Waste and Holy Grail.)
19. THE WALKMEN @ OGDEN THEATRE | MON, 1/21/13
The Walkmen's first album, Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone, came out ten years and two months before its latest -- and perhaps loveliest -- Heaven. For the greatest symbol of the band's change in perspective over the last decade, look no further than its promotional art, in which the New York/D.C./Philly guys showcase their roles as fathers, not rock stars. While their debut heralded youth and experimentation in New York, a sort of dudes-in-a-dorm mentality, their latest has grown with the guys to become an introspective look at life after moving, marrying, giving birth and, eventually, growing up.
18. PINBACK @ GOTHIC THEATRE | SUN, 1/27/13
Like a gnarled old cottonwood that you remember as a kid that now is all shaggy and stately, Pinback has aged well. From early efforts like 2001's Blue Screen Life -- an understated masterpiece that fell somewhere between early Police and stonerfied math rock -- on through the albums that followed, Rob Crow and Zach Smith have made profoundly affecting music that's more likely to stoke the intellect than to incite riots.
17. DOWN @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | SAT, 1/26/13
Down got together in 1991 when Pantera's Phil Anselmo teamed up with Corrosion of Conformity's Pepper Keenan, Crowbar's Kirk Windstein and Todd Strange and Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod. United by a mutual love of doom and sludge metal, Down has to be considered one of the early pioneers of that sound with a little more groove to it. Strange has since left the band, and his role on bass now being taken up with Pat Bruders also of Crowbar. If you go, you'll get to see some metal veterans revealing their individual roots in hardcore and fusing it fully with the heavier music for which each has become known.
16. IN FLAMES @ BOULDER THEATER | THURS, 2/10/13
Originally formed as a side project of Ceremonial Oath, In Flames quickly became a full-time endeavor. While retaining some of the sharp edges of its founders' death-metal leanings, the band successfully joined melodic hooks, vocal and otherwise, with nervy aggressiveness and sharp dynamic shifts. In 1995, the core members recruited Anders Fridén as lead vocalist in time to write and record the classic 1996 album The Jester Race. In subsequent years, In Flames went through several lineup changes, including the departure of its founders, and it's since become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed metal bands around. Touring in support of its latest album, 2011's Sounds of a Playground Fading, In Flames still proves itself on stage every night, even after two decades.