Last night, I went to see Hate Eternal with Origin, Vital Remains, and Abysmal Dawn at Santos Party House here in New York City. What, you don’t know all those bands? Where have you been?
It was a lovely Sunday evening and the metalheads were out in force. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a proper death metal show before, but they are an event in a league of their own. I go to shows and usually end up getting super pissed off at the crowd of idiot drunkards who don’t have any real sense of how to behave at a show. You get dudes just pushing their way through a crowd or chicks getting all pissed when you are unavoidably shoved up against them. Really, you just get the whole gamut of asshole behavior. I’ve always felt that the broader a band’s appeal, the more poorly behaved the crowd tends to be. For example, when I went to see Chromeo earlier this year at Terminal 5, the crowd behaved so reprehensibly that it ruined my entire night. Some shithead even threw an entire drink onto my head from the balcony. Way to enjoy the show, asshole.
As such, you’d expect nothing but the most horrible behavior imaginable at a death metal show, but you’d be absolutely wrong. Because it’s such a niche genre, people go to the shows because they love it not to get fucked up or hit on girls or just be fucking worthless pricks. The sense of camaraderie at a show like that is palpable. You’re never fucked with, never bothered. People are unerringly polite, no one shoves you to get past. Metalheads know a little trick (which I learned at metal shows) I like to call “the small of the back touch”. It works all the time every time and no one gets pissed off at it. It’s show magic.
Great crowd of folks there last night who were psyched as hell to enjoy the punishing death metal onslaught the night held in wait. No doubt they were all pleased with what they received. Let’s talk about the bands!
Robbie and I arrived at the venue just as Abysmal Dawn were starting their set so I didn’t really get to hear more than a few songs from these guys. I don’t know the band’s music that well, but what I heard I liked. Just a bunch of no-nonsense death metal by a bunch of dudes from LA. I am interested to pick up their latest release and give it a listen. I’ll revisit this topic another time.
Vital Remains was my first surprise of the night. They were another band I knew nothing about, but after watching their set I wondered why I hadn’t been a fan of theirs until that moment. With their dogged adherence to old school death metal stylings, how could I not be a fan? I would definitely go see those guys play again.
Origin is a technical death metal band about whom I’ve always had mixed feelings. As much as I like the insane layers of complexity they build into their music, I’ve always felt that the records were too sterile, too clean. It’s like they’d gotten so technical, that all the groove had been taken out of the music. I’ve commented before here that owning one Origin record is basically the same as owning all of them.
After seeing them perform live I am inclined to revisit my opinion of their recorded material. On stage they were dynamic, brutal, and utterly crushing in a way I did not expect from them. The lead singer really knew how to work the crowded into a hair swinging frenzy that was frankly quite amazing coming from a band I expected nothing of. Well, call me stupid, but Origin kicked fucking ass live. If, like me, you’ve taken a pass on Origin because they’ve seemed to sterile, give them a chance live. The show will change your mind. I might even say they put on the best performance of the whole night. I like Hate Eternal more, but you cannot deny that Origin brought their A-Game last night.
Holy fucking shit.
Hate Eternal is the only reason I went to the show in the first place. I didn’t know anything about Abysmal Dawn or Vital Remains and I was not excited to see Origin. Luckily, I was wrong about all that stuff, but the point stands that Hate Eternal was my entire reason for being there. I am convinced that they are the single best death metal band on the scene today. Erik Rutan is constantly pushing the limits of what can be accomplished in a well-worn music arena. Their most recent record, Phoenix Amongst The Ashes, is brilliant, as brilliant as any death metal record I’ve ever heard. I am a fan.
To finally see Hate Eternal perform for my first time was mind-blowing. You will never see such unbridled joy on my face as you will during a really great metal show and Hate Eternal had me beaming. When they played “Bringer of Storms,” I nearly exploded. I couldn’t bang my head hard enough.
Honestly I have nothing terribly smart to say about Hate Eternal. They fucking rule and you should go see them and listen to their records and be a fan and stop being such a god damned pussy about it. Seriously. Hate Eternal is awesome.
And one final note, I saw this shirt last night. Best shirt ever.