What's up with heavy music

Show season has started to slow down a bit, but there are still plenty of good ones to look forward to. Sludge-metal band Akris plays with the amazingly named Weed Warlock on Nov. 20 at the Sidebar. The next night, Toxic Holocaust plays Metro Gallery with Ramming Speed in support of their new Relapse LP, Chemistry of Consciousness. Then, on Nov. 22, Baltimore's Radical Discharge plays a release show at Metro for its new LP, and every attendee gets a copy to take home. Charm Offensive, Brohammer, and the Jons also play. The same night, just up the street at the Crown, Multicult plays with Psychic Teens and AGTRL.

Rounding out a strong weekend of shows, Demonic Christ, Ptahil, Mortum, and Xeukatre play the Sidebar on Nov. 23 and the Ravagers play Metro with the Virus.

Fresh off of singer Randy Blythe's acquittal in the death of a Czech fan, Lamb of God plays the Fillmore on Nov. 26 with Killswitch Engage and classic thrash outfit Testament.

Starting December off right, the Ottobar hosts a free show featuring Cleric, Yautja, and locals Passage Between. Classic Oi band the Business plays the Sidebar on Dec. 3 with the Attack and Copstabber. The next night, Alestorm, TrollfesT, and GypsyHawk perform at Baltimore Soundstage, and Megadeth and Fear Factory perform at the Fillmore in Silver Spring.

Drugs of Faith play a release show for their new EP, Architectural Failures, with RVA metal warriors Battlemaster at the Lab in Alexandria on Dec. 7. A little far out, but this is Drugs of Faith's first release since 2011's Corroded LP. The following night, grown punks Advlts play with young punks Hard Dads as well as Liquor Store and Nervosas at the Windup Space.

Troll-themed Helsinki folk-metal act Finntroll will perform at Cafe 611 in Frederick on Dec. 9. This is somewhat of a trek, but did you read the beginning of that sentence? "Troll-themed Helsinki folk-metal."

On Friday the 13th, sludge-metal band Jucifer returns to Baltimore, playing at Metro Gallery. No listed openers at press time. The next night, the Wayward plays Sidebar with Hive Bent, Faking, and Arab Spring. Finally, get into the holiday spirit with Pig Destroyer, Darkest Hour, and Black Clouds at the Fillmore on Dec. 21.

New details have emerged about two of Baltimore's most exciting music fests. Maryland Deathfest, which for several years has been housed in and outside of the former Sonar, is relocating just slightly to the Edison parking lot at 545 N. High St., with additional shows at both Rams Head Live and Baltimore Soundstage. This means the fest, a Baltimore institution at this point, will remain in the city, close to its former location. For those interested in the fest's history, a documentary about MDF and its impact, Welcome to Deathfest, will begin screening in the coming months. (Disclosure: this writer was interviewed for the doc.)

In the meantime, A389 Records continue to reveal tantalizing details about their annual A389 Bash, which already features a Systems Overload-era Integrity reunion. The bash will apparently also occasion the release of a new Integrity 7-inch with material featuring this lineup, with "more surprises" in store. It all goes down Jan. 17 and 18, 2014 at Baltimore Soundstage.

In other news, Baltimore's Wet Brain is about to embark on a two-week tour of the U.S., and Noisem is on a U.S. and Canadian tour supporting the Black Dahlia Murder. Old Lines just released a new EP on a revived Reptilian Records, and Enemy Insects is recording for a new release at Developing Nations. D.O.C. has an upcoming 12-inch release, Decomposition Fantasy, on Rorschach Records, and teenage punks Sick Thoughts released three different EPs this summer/fall-not bad for high schoolers.