A surreally theatrical Australian band headlines an outstanding left-of-center metal bill.

Knitting Factory; Wed 26

From shock-rock hams such as Kiss and GWAR to outsider occultists like Gorgoroth and Sunn O))), playing dress-up has long been a quintessential practice in the metal world. Yet even for those numb to the tradition, a glimpse of Portal is likely to induce a double take. The Curator, frontman of the Australian death-metal outfit, actually wears a grandfather-clock headpiece when performing. A seething swarm of dread-inducing guitar trills, off-kilter blast beats and growls in some arcane Latin-English hybrid tongue, the band’s music—as heard on last year’s excellent Swarth (Profound Lore)—evokes a similar degree of bafflement and, in time, fascination.

Rounding out what’s clearly the metal bill of the year thus far are three other staunchly left-of-center acts: Quebec’s searingly technical Gorguts (appearing with a brand-new lineup), the epic and transporting Krallice, and the grandly menacing Bloody Panda.

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