Putting together package tours is good for everybody. Fans get to see a range of performers work up a variety of approaches to a similar music, while performers are exposed to folks who hadn’t previously heard them. What’s less apparent than all that is that tours also make fans broaden their musical boundaries. All those hyphenated would-be genres just enable musicians to take chances they wouldn’t have otherwise. Rap-rock didn’t turn out well, but metal dudes have been shading their music with sundry styles–well, since “Vol. 4.” But what this Southern Lord Records showcase works to display is that nuanced metal derivations, while still staked out in their own little worlds, can draw in a cross-section of ticket buyers. Since Black Breath’s arrival with its 2008 EP, the band’s turned in European-influenced metal, ignoring acts like the Accused, which sprang from the younger band’s Northwest turf, and embraced enough downer Black Flag to make the influence notable but not overbearing. Of course, metal of all hues comes along with its attendant shortcomings—“Home of the Grave,” off the ensemble’s 2012 “Sentenced to Life,” is as punny a title as anyone needs. The music surges through mid-tempo death metal to all-out thrash, while Neil McAdams growls out lines about living underground. Works off the group’s previous “Heavy Breathing” aren’t less outlandish—“Eat the Witch” being particularly amusing even as the music takes on a punky, breakneak tempo. Burning Love, another Southern Lord’s band on the tour, injects a significant dose of seventies trash rock into its metal. It’s all riffage but with a melodic bent, enabling the ensemble to appeal to fans of the headliners and folks with less confrontational listening habits. Enabler opens and counts players who’ve released music through dissimilar labels like Victory, AmRep and Metal Blade. It’ll be a gasser. (Dave Cantor)
July 9 at Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773) 276-3600. 9:30pm. $12.