One of our Valley’s strongest recent musical traditions resumes this weekend, when Psycho Las Vegas invades the Hard Rock Hotel for the third-straight year. The four-day gathering at the Joint, Vinyl and the resort’s pool will bring several names well-known even to casual metal and stoner-rock fans to town—headliners Danzig and Dimmu Borgir and returning favorites High on Fire and Boris, to name a few—but Psycho’s 2018 lineup is perhaps most notable for its depth. Dig through the poster and you’re as likely to find new favorites at the bottom as near the top. Here are a few acts you should try especially hard not to miss.
Dvne (Friday, 12:30 p.m., the Joint) Start your Psycho with the first-ever U.S. set from this hotly tipped U.K. metal quartet, which melded sludge with prog on epic 2017 debut LP Asheran. The name’s pronounced Dune, by the way.
Survive (Friday, 3:25 p.m., the Joint) The Austin foursome behind the synthwave score to Netflix series Stranger Things promises to be one of the least-pummeling acts of the weekend, but should be spooky-sounding enough to fit in well.
Tinariwen (Friday, 6:15 p.m., the Joint) Actually, these African desert-blues veterans will probably the least heavy group at Psycho, but judging from their 2014 Bunkhouse Saloon set, their hypnotic tunes and traditional robes will win the crowd over anyway.
Rocket From the Crypt (Friday, 10 p.m., Paradise Pool) Having headlined one night of Psycho’s 2016 Vegas premiere with Drive Like Jehu, RFTC frontman John Reis brings his other ’90s vehicle—the one behind revered albums like Circa: Now! and Scream, Dracula, Scream—to the fest.
Witchcraft (Friday, 11:15 p.m., the Joint) Psycho’s Friday headliner channels the doom and heavy-psych of ’70s legends like Black Sabbath and Pentagram, with founder Magnus Pelander’s emotive vocals as the focal point. This will be the Swedes’ first U.S. performance since 2009.
Note: Upon walking into the fest today, we've been informed Witchcraft has dropped off the bill, apparently for Visa-related reasons. Organizers say they're scrambling to find a last-minute replacement.
American Nightmare (Saturday, 6:15 p.m., the Joint) Wesley Eisold—yeah, the same guy who fronts synthy Pitchfork darling Cold Cave—resurrected this hardcore punk outfit in 2011 after a seven-year break, and in February, the group released its first album in a decade and a half.
Godflesh (Saturday, 7:40 p.m., the Joint) The Brits’ origins date back to the early ’80s, but they’re best known for the 1990s run that made their brand of drum-programmed, body-shaking industrial metal synonymous with the genre.
Goblin (Saturday, 9:10 p.m., the Joint) One of Psycho’s coolest booking curveballs will send the Italian prog-rockers behind the soundtracks to ’70s films like Suspiria and Zombi to the main stage right before Danzig.
The Hellacopters (Sunday, 8 p.m., the Joint) Another outside-the-box Psycho choice, these Swedish garage punks—who reunited in 2016 after an eight-year hiatus—have a beloved catalog and a reputation for bonkers live sets.
Sunn O))) (Sunday, 10 p.m., the Joint) There’s heavy, there’s super heavy and then there’s Sunn O))) (pronounced Sun). Drown in the drones unleashed by these black-cloaked, LA-based experimental-metal masters.
Pallbearer (Sunday, midnight p.m., Paradise Pool) Finish the fest with riffs that’ll repeat in your head for days, courtesy of this Arkansas doom four-piece, whose two most recent albums have placed first and third on Decibel’s year-end lists.
PSYCHO LAS VEGAS August 16-19, $99/day, $249/fest. Hard Rock Hotel, vivapsycho.com.