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Seems like a lot of interesting metal shows are hitting Baltimore this spring but not D.C. Case in point: The Acacia Strain at the Ottobar last Thursday. Although pigeonholed as metalcore, much to their chagrin, this band plays a brutal, complex brand of death metal that’s pretty far from the dumbed-down stuff that “metalcore” often makes one think of. It’s kind of hard to take seriously a frontman who says things like “this next song is about… killing… everyone!” but the live renditions of songs off The Acacia Strain’s latest album, Continent, were tremendous.

Headliners Bleeding Through, unlike The Acacia Strain, are metalcore through-and-through, although they have their own unique twist in the use of keyboards both for orchestration and the occasional clean piano run. I frankly thought they were pretty terrible until last year’s Declaration, which surprised the hell out of me by actually being fairly listenable. The vocal style still isn’t my bag, but like any good and well-practiced metal band, Bleeding Through are energetic performers and had folks stagediving and crowdsurfing with the kind of reckless abandon I’m beginning to associate with Ottobar crowds.

Maybe this is why all these great, young metal groups are bypassing D.C. these days: I have a hard time imagining a crowd at, for instance, the Black Cat (or any other D.C. rock/metal club) getting quite as worked up. That said, I now eagerly await fans at the upcoming Mastodon show at the 9:30 Club to prove me dead wrong.

In any case, visit the full gallery to see more of last Thursday’s mayhem (including openers As Blood Runs Black).