Photos (left to right) - (The Dillinger Escape Plan) Chelsea Laurence / (Behemoth) Francesco Prandoni / (Slipknot) J. Shearer - Getty Images
Most of the time, an artist's recorded music is only one half of the puzzle - and there's no better feeling than finding out that your favourite band also happen to put on an insane live show to boot, then catching it for yourself.
Over the years, some artists have used the concert as a means of pushing physical and creative boundaries that have resulted in some of the most intense experiences to witness. Some are euphoric and some are downright terrifying, but they all evoke their own powerful energy that is hard to find anywhere else.
In no particular order, these are 15 of some the most intense bands to have ever taken the stage!
When you get nine guys in masks going berserk on stage simultaneously while playing equally chaotic music, you've got a recipe for some of the most intense concerts out there.
Over the years we've seen Slipknot members fight each other on stage, catch fire, trash gear, a giant rotating drum platform carrying Joey Jordison and way more.
That same vehement energy always spills into the crowd, who give it right back in a venue-sized surge of adrenaline. There's no doubt that a massive part of Slipknot's enormous success comes from their live show spectacle, and if you haven't watched their Disasterpieces live DVD, that should definitely be on your list!
Sunn O))) use a different kind of intensity to punish audiences, using colossal walls of noise, feedback and slow rumbling guitars to create an oppressive atmosphere which is an experience to endure on its own.
The band perform in black robes live, fill venues with fog and play at extremely high volumes for over an hour at a time; those who have witnessed Sunn O))) in person will often claim that there's nothing else like it.
The Dillinger Escape Plan
The Dillinger Escape Plan might be the very definition of a band that just doesn't give a fuck, and while they're sadly no longer together anymore, their live shows have become the stuff of legend.
We'll never forget when vocalist Greg Puciato pulled a GG Allin by defecating into a bag during their televised Reading Festival set, throwing it into the crowd only to have the crowd throw it right back at him and smear himself with it.
Or the time they played live at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, setting fire to their gear and bleeding in front of a bewildered audience. Even Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno, who briefly joined them onstage as a guest vocalist, quickly made his exit with a concerned expression once Greg Puciato started fire breathing.
There are so many videos out there showcasing Dillinger's insane gigs, but we decided to go with the classic clip of their 2005 performance inside a Virgin Megastore, where Puciato immediately breaks all hell loose by launching himself onto the heads of the audience. Seriously - how does a band play such technical music while going so crazy?
This one goes back a little further in time and a little deeper underground, but Japanese noise band Hanatarash put on some dangerous shows during the 1980s that have gone down as some of the most infamous in live music.
The band's vocalist Yamantaka Eye (also vocalist of Boredoms) was known to have carried out some pretty wild acts including cutting a dead cat in half with a machete (yikes), strapping a circular saw to his back and infamously ramming a bulldozer through the venue's walls.
There was one show in 1985 in Tokyo which required audience members to fill out a waiver before entering, and it was stopped early due to Eye lighting a molotov cocktail to throw on stage.
Sure, it's more performance art than music per se, but the lack of footage and concrete info around Hanatarash has added to their infamy over the years.
Swedish band Watain complete their evil black metal trimmings with a live show that incorporates a plethora of Satanic symbolism, ritualistic fire and theatrical costumes that invoke a terrifying atmosphere around them.
At one infamous Brooklyn show in 2014 (and their only US show for that year), Watain covered their audience in pig's blood which caused a few members to vomit from the stench.
Their scheduled 2019 concert in Singapore was also canceled by authorities before it could take place because it would "affect their religious and social harmony", so they're definitely achieving what they set out to do!
GG Allin and The Murder Junkies
Yes, GG Allin was a bad human who did some deplorable things throughout his life. And yes, his shows have become infamous for being some of the most dangerous and extreme that have ever taken place.
Performing naked, defecating, self-harm, assaulting audience members and threats of suicide were a standard affair at GG's gigs which frequently landed him behind bars or in hospital.
His stint with The Murder Junkies became his most notorious, as fans would flock to see what acts of depravity they would end up witnessing in person.
What can be said about Rammstein's spectacle of a live show that you don't already know? The gods of hellfire pack some of the most (if not the most) insane pyro, rigging and props you'll get at a rock concert, turning into something you'd expect to see in a Mad Max film.
Flamethrowers on guitars? Check. Till Lindemann floating with giant metallic wings that shoot fire? Check. Giant dick props that spray the crowd with white foam? Check.
There are just too many crazy things to mention here, and it can take up to an entire week just to set a Rammstein stage up!
It's a performance that blows minds from the front row to the nosebleeds, and they are definitely worthy of nabbing a spot on this list.
Mayhem are arguably the most legendary band in black metal with a controversial history of their own, and some of that notoriety stemmed from their intense live shows over the years that involved impaling animal heads on spikes at the front of the stage and self-multilation.
While more recent Mayhem shows have pulled back a little bit on that front, their well-documented and sinister history of church burnings and murder still lends itself to a frightening atmosphere whenever they take the stage.
Much like The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Chariot were known for putting on some of the most chaotic performances one could experience. That chaos often manifested in smaller venues, which made for some unforgettable moments over the years.
The official video for the song 'Teach' above does a pretty good job of capturing the essence of a Chariot show, showing instruments being thrown up in the air, a plethora of stagediving fans, dismantling of drum kits mid-performance and more.
Their Perth show during their 2011 Australian tour was stopped early after a bowl of pears was accidentally smashed at the venue, prompting them to take the festivities to a fan's house instead!
The Chariot broke up in 2013, but vocalist Josh Scogin is now one half of '68, while guitarist Stephen Harrison plays in Fever 333 - both of which are explosive live bands in their own right.
If you ever find yourself at a GWAR concert, you're not going to leave in the same state you entered. If not mentally, at least physically; the costumed intergalactic barbarians put on a visceral stage show that almost always involves spraying the audience with tons of fake blood, urine and semen.
GWAR have also known to bring out "celebrities" on stage to mutilate, including the likes of Tony Abbott (during Soundwave 2014), Jerry Springer, OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson, Osama Bin Laden and countless other political/social figures.
Not only do you get to witness and become a part of many offensive, yet tongue-in-cheek acts of violence, but you get a pulse-raising dose of killer punk, power metal and thrash metal at the same time!
Everything about Batushka's live concerts oozes mystery and evil, feeling like a Satanic ritual with occultic black metal as the backing track for it all.
Unknown (until recently) robed members use candles, censers, skulls and more to carry out foreboding ceremonies during the show. What's more is that all of their lyrics are written in the Old Church Slavonic language, which makes everything feel that much more authentic.
Batushka recently split into two different versions of itself following a dispute between key members, but that rabbit hole is probably best left for you to explore here.
Iron Maiden probably don't have much in the way of financial or resource constraints when it comes to hatching their elaborate stage shows, and they've created some of the most insane concert experiences over the years as a result.
Even their latest (and ongoing) Legacy Of The Beast tour has featured a massive, 90% scale replica of a WWII Spitfighter plane hovering above the stage, sword fighting, Bruce Dickinson shooting fire from his arms, the venue turning into a church and more.
It's just crazy that these guys are in their 60's and still pulling off shows far more physically-demanding than bands half their age, and there's nothing else like it.
Behemoth know how to put on a brutal and diabolical display for fans - a costumed Nergal standing at his signature microphone stand while staring down his audience, Inferno's planet-shaking drum work and a sinister stage presence are enough to send chills down the spine of anyone in attendance.
The band also frequently use creepy audio of things like children chanting before they take the stage, which sets a palpable mood in whatever venue they find themselves at.
It's been interesting to watch Code Orange go from playing modest venues years ago to arenas now, where they've opened for the likes of System Of A Down and Deftones, but their frantic energy on stage has always been a part of their ethos, resulting in some explosive performances from every member.
Code Orange were actually one of the first bands to stream a live show once lockdown hit, and their intensity was still felt through our screens even though they were playing to an empty venue.
With primary vocalist Jami Morgan now stepping out from behind the drum kit to focus solely on vocals, and the addition of a new touring drummer, there's now the potential for an even more chaotic stage presence. We'll have to wait and see once concerts are back!
You just can't do a list like this without giving the god of shock rock his spotlight! During Manson's peak of notoriety at the turn of the millennium, there was no telling what you'd get if you attended one of his controversial shows.
Let's see - there was that time Marilyn was arrested for grabbing a security guard's head and gyrating against it, assaults on his own bandmates and the generally unhinged behaviour that would make fans go bananas.
In 2003, Marilyn Manson ended his Kansas City set after the barricades in front of the stage were broken by rowdy fans, who ended up rushing the stage and throwing bottles at cops after it was shut down.
Nine Inch Nails
Which is the most intense band you've ever seen live? We love hearing your stories about live music while we wait for it all to return post-pandemic!