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Portland metal heroes Danava top epic bill at the Kilowatt

Heavyweight Portland, OR-based band Danava returns to the Bay Area Thursday, headlining the Kilowatt with LA band Deathchant and local favorites Molten and Glowing Brain.

Started two decades ago by guitarist, singer and main songwriter Greg Meleney (aka Dusty Sparkles), stoner/prog/metal stalwarts Danava quickly rose to prominence on the Northwest hard rock scene and scored a record deal with independent psych and metal imprint Kemado. The band's self-titled debut in 2006 and follow-up effort UnonoU three years later showcased Meleney's gift for writing melodic, complex progressive proto metal that wove together elements of early Rush, Hawkwind and the twin-guitar assault of Uli Jon Roth-era Scorpions, early Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy.

Danava - Where Beauty and Terror Dance by KemadoRecords on YouTube

The band's live prowess would get Danava regular work supporting such groups as the Melvins, Down, Voivod as well as similar throwback psych/metal acts such as Witchcraft and Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats. While a steady rotation of musicians would limit the group's output and lead to more than one extended hiatus after the release of their third album for Kemado Hemisphere of Shadows in 2011 (they have yet to release another full-length since then), Danava has remained a respected live outfit and regular metal festival attraction thanks to its blistering stage show and Meleney's irreverent off-the-cuff banter. 

Danava - "Let The Good Times Kill" (Single 2023) [Hard Rock / Heavy Metal] by HEADSPLIT RECORDS on YouTube

The band delivered a scorching set at the Heavy Psych Sounds Festival in San Francisco in 2022, previewing a number of new songs that marked the first fresh material from the group since a 2016 7-inch single for Tee Pee Records. Last year, the band release their first album in over a dozen years through the label this April with the highly anticipated effort Nothing But Nothing. Spotlighting Meleney's ferocious tandem riffs and harmonies with lead guitarist Peter Hughes, the album may be the most metallic of the group's long career.

DANAVA - Shoot Straight With A Crooked Gun (live) // HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records by HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS RECORDS on YouTube

Danava last visited the Bay Area just over a year ago, sharing the stage with prog/power metal band Hällas at the Rickshaw Stop. That show featured the current line-up of the band with the longtime rhythm section of drummer Matt Oliver and bassist Dominic Casciato, second guitarist Kerby Strom and vocalist Levi Campbell sitting in on several songs. That version of the band is featured on one side of their unusual forthcoming concert document Live that is set for release in June. The album coming out on Heavy Psych Sounds includes one side recorded in Dublin back in 2008 backed by songs tracked last fall in Prague.

For this show at the Kilowatt Thursday night, Danava is joined by West Coast tourmates Deathchant along with local acts Glowing Brain and Molten. Founded in Los Angeles by guitarist/singer T.J. Lemieux, Deathchant takes an aggressive, DIY punk approach to heavy sounds not unlike fellow LA outfit the Shrine. Touching on '70s boogie/hard rock like Wishbone Ash and Thin Lizzy, the same New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) groups that inspired early Metallica, psychedelia and SoCal hardcore, the quartet put out its eponymous first album in 2019 for the King Volume imprint.

The band's catchy tunes and reputation for blazing, high-energy live performances soon saw them signed to SoCal heavy psych/metal imprint Riding Easy Records, who put out their second album Waste in 2021. Another frenetic blast of tuneful, neck-snapping tracks that were recorded quickly and simply over the course of two weekends, the record announced Deathchant to a wider audience and invitations to play music festivals, including the 2022 edition of Psycho Las Vegas.

Canyon by Deathchant - Topic on YouTube

In October of last year, Lemieux and the current line-up of the quartet featuring bassist George Camacho, ex-Banquet guitarist Doug Stuckey and drummer Joe Herzog released the band's third album Thrones. Another caustic combination of raw punk-rock wrath and fluid tandem guitar acrobatics, the collection has been praised by some critics as their most accomplished yet.      

Glowing Brain has been making its piledriving Motörhead-inspired punk-metal noise since first emerging from Oakland five years ago. Bassist/singer Conrad Nichols and drummer James Lyter recorded the self-described "long-haired punk" group's scorching debut EP with Nichols handling guitar before current six-stringer Doc Miller completed the trio's current line-up. Nodding both to Lemmy Kilmister's locomotive intensity and the raw blackened metal riffs of Venom and early Voivod.

Glowing Brain - Everyone Higher Than Everyone Else by Glowing Brain on YouTube

The crew's first full-length album Brain Dust was tracked in five days at El Studio just before the pandemic shutdown, offering up another aggressive salvo of the band's ferocious sounds and weed-obsessed lyrics when they released it in late 2021. The well-received album further established Glowing Brain as one of the leading lights of Oakland fertile punk/metal community. Building on their rising popularity with west coast touring and slots opening for touring bands like Bongzilla and onetime Oakland metal institution High on Fire last November. The group recorded new songs for its forthcoming second album last fall.

All-star Bay Area quintet Molten opens the show. Featuring a murderer's row of local scene veterans including guitarists Chris Corona (Floating Goat, Hazzard's Cure, and Wild Eyes among others), Gary Goudreau (East Coast band End-time Illusion), drummer Damon Lockaby (Banquet) and former Hell Fire bassist Bandala playing bass as well as keys and classical guitar (singer Brandon Bristol rounds out the band). 

Life of War by Molten - Topic on YouTube

The band quickly gained a following with its brutal mix of thrash and death metal influences, garnering national press coverage just on the strength of their demo. Early in 2021, Molten self-released its punishing debut full-length Dystopian Syndrome to wide praise. The band released its sophomore album Malicide in March. DJ Sasquatch Borracho plays records before and between bands.

Danava with Deathchant, Glowing Brain and Molten  
Thursday, April 18, 8 p.m. $20-$25

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