World Series of Metal 

featuring Mushroomhead, Lie, Coinmonster, Cold Hand of Christ, Acogah, Crush Groove, Pillow Humpers, NDE, Sadist Factory, Moko, Slick Willy, Circle of Kunfusion, Skudd, Mindsnap, Hate Theory, Intent to Distribute; Friday, August 4, at the Agora

In the past, the World Series of Metal, a two-day event that features both local and national acts, has emphasized the clichéd (specifically, rehashed power chords and incomprehensible singing), rather than the experimental (the texture-based metal of the Deftones or Papa Roach, for example). With Mushroomhead headlining on Friday night, this year's festival should have a bigger draw than last year's, when hard rock has-been Dokken was the main draw. But the festival is no more adventurous than it has been in previous years. Aside from Mushroomhead, whose gothic overtones and theatrical shows have become routine, Friday's bill is plagued with other nondescript local/regional acts such as Cold Hand of Christ and Hate Theory, most of whom fall somewhere between '80s Metallica and '90s hardcore. Saturday's headliner, King Diamond, is the better option, if you're choosing between days. Diamond formerly sang with Mercyful Fate and has a powerful voice, which varies from a low-pitched growl to a falsetto. But the real thrill comes from his controversial shock/schlock stage show. He'll be joined by a slew of burgeoning regional acts, which include both bombastic metal (Shadows Fall) and grating-metal-meets-rap (Boiler).

Speaking of Previews

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