It’s a great week to be a fan of forward-thinking metal in Cleveland. An unofficial and seemingly unplanned festival of distorted delights hits our city, starting with Brooklyn-born retro-thrashers Early Man rolling into Peabody’s on Thursday. Five days later, the Sword stop by House of Blues to show why shifting down a gear on their new album just might make them the new kings of hard rock. In between is this very cool and diverse pairing of metal’s new guard, featuring Torche, a Miami band that may be the most miscategorized group to ever wear the “stoner rock” tag. They actually play an up-tempo brand of smart progressive music that would be just at home sharing a bill with Yeasayer as with their tour’s headliners High on Fire. That band’s already legendary frontman Matt Pike may be the natural successor to Lemmy Kilmister’s “soul of heavy metal” crown. But that laurel undersells the musicality, diversity, and ferocity of Pike’s songwriting, singing, and, especially, riff-generating abilities. The man is truly a force of nature, and all self-respecting fans of metal owe it to themselves to see Pike and his nearly equally awesome High on Fire bandmates. High on Fire, with Torche and Kylesea, play the Grog Shop at 8 p.m. Tickets: $15, $14 in advance. —Matthew Wilkening
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