Metal, right? The whole genre has become kind of insane with minuscule sub-genre divisions, bands that sound exactly like other bands, a logo situation that is absolutely out of control and the ongoing difficulty of explaining what the hell is what. Yikes. But as we fans toil in confusion and wonder when a catalyst for change might come along, San Diego one-man metal act Tristan Shone, aka Author & Punisher, mounts his almost accidental metal revolution, and it’s time for the world to recognize. A former mechanical engineer turned artist/musician, Shone designs and builds custom machines and masks that not only work as one-of-a-kind instruments, they also feed his desire for visual art and sculpting. This allows him to create a doom/sludge blend informed by non-metal sounds, like drum and bass or industrial, and the kind of music that blurs genres and unites all who kneel at the altar of the heavy.

"I was already a one-man band, because I decided that playing with other people was inefficient for me, but then I got bored of the drum machine and a guitar thing after a few years, because there's not really a live component to it," Shone tells SFR in a phone interview advancing the show. "I left engineering to get into art school and kind of merged my love of art practice with my love of making music."

Oh, and it is heavy but innovative and unique, with improvisational aspects that allow each show to become its own experience, unlikely to be seen or heard again. Yes, Author & Punisher's overall sound may be somewhat familiar to those who know metal, and he has four totally killer albums out, but there is an element of mystique and technical prowess that becomes clear only through live performance. Take the linear actuator, a drum-like machine that allows Shone to create blast-beats and rhythmic syncopations by utilizing a process he likens to locomotion. Crazy, right? And that's just one machine of many.

Of course, Shone's ground-breaking processes do come with a fair amount of pressure and the assumption that he's out to change the game. But he's really in it for the love of music, and the true excellence of his style derives from his drive and passion. It's exactly why Pantera's Phil Anselmo has thrown in behind Author & Punisher with his imprint, Housecore, and the impetus behind a growing international fan base of metalheads looking for the next big thing. Good news, you guys—we found it. And since the venue is big into the "suggested donation" for admission, go even if you don't have five bucks.

Author & Punisher with Muscle
and Marrow and ot~un~et~ir.

8 pm Thursday, Nov. 19. $5.
Ghost,
2899 Trades West Rd.