By Dave Pehling

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Two leading lights of experimental metal bring their current tour to San Francisco Thursday when Behold…the Arctopus and Imperial Triumphant play the SF Eagle.

Founded after the turn of the millennium in Brooklyn by guitarists Colin Marston (also a member of black metal group Krallice) and Mike Lerner, the band drew equally on black metal, the dissonant progressive rock of King Crimson and 20th century classical composers like Béla Bartók and Krzysztof Penderecki. Developing their hectic, complex instrumental style for a year and a half prior to finding a drummer — their first aptly titled demo We Need a Drummer used a drum machine — the pair eventually found Charlie Zeleny to fill the chair.

With Marston playing a 12-string WARR guitar (a custom instrument covering the range of bass and guitar played by tapping the strings), the group recorded several EPs before releasing their debut album Skullgrid in 2007 that featured keyboardist Jordan Rudess of the prog metal band Dream Theater contributing a solo. While Zeleny would depart the following year to focus on his session drumming career, the group would continue after onetime Bay Area drummer Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbachers, Erase Errata and many others) announced he would relocate to New York to join the band.

Walter would play on the band’s next album Horrorscension that came out in 2012, further developing the often chaotic and abrasive blasts of metal highlighted by Marston and Learner’s dauntingly complicated intertwining guitar lines. Walter too would depart from the band, leaving them in limbo until current drummer Jason Bauers joined prior to the recording of the trio’s most recent effort, 2016’s Cognitive Emancipation EP.

The band will be previewing new music from their forthcoming third full-length planned for release next year in addition to playing corrosive tunes from earlier albums. This current tour finds the band sharing stages with fellow New York avant-metal outfit Imperial Triumphant. A like-minded collision of experimental noise and progressive black metal, the group is anchored by guitarist/vocalist Zachary Ilya Ezrin, drummer Kenny Grohowski and bassist/keyboardist Steve Blanco but augmented by numerous guest vocalists and a full horn section on its debut album from last year, Vile Luxury. The two groups are joined by Pandiscordian Necrogenesis, the one-man band of  Ephemeral Domignostika (also a member of metal bands Pale Chalice, Apprentice Destroyer and Ulthar among others) that recently released its third album Outer Supernal via Gilead Media.

Behold…the Arctopus and Imperial Triumphant
Thursday, August 8, 9 p.m. $12
SF Eagle