On paper the billing looked broad and highly interesting – definitely the sort of event the Death Metal fan wouldn’t want to miss. So it was quite a surprise when attendances turned out to be below expectations, despite the fact that by the time Hate Eternal was on stage the crowd had grown to a slightly more appropriate magnitude.
Anyway, the bands on schedule came from widely disparate geographic areas: Japan (Defiled), Canada (Beneath The Massacre) and Germany (Obscura). All these three bands were unknown to me prior to this gig. Headlining was to be the epitome of brutal and technical Death Metal: Florida’s Hate Eternal.
Apologies to the esteemed readers for not being able to provide any of the set-lists –those bands I approached on this regards could hardly be described as co-operative. Further kudos detracted from most of the bands for doing the sound-check just before they started their sets with the audience right in front of them.
First on stage were Defiled with their rough and dirty vein of Death Metal. To be honest, their performance failed to get me over-excited. Probably the sparse pit didn’t incentivise the band either. Defiled have just released their 4th album: “In Crisis”, which from which tonight they showcased ‘Lethal Agitator’, ‘Behind You Pray’, ‘Intolerant’ and ‘Revelation Of Doom’. Other numbers that made their way into Defiled’s set included: ‘Stench Of Grudge’, ‘Dissolved In Dust’, Revelation Of Doom’ and ‘Divination’. The band is set to conclude this current tour with a couple of dates in China – it would be interesting to see how those turn out.
Beneath The Massacre were next, a band originating from the same city as Hate Eternal’s drummer: Montreal. In fact, Justin Rousselle (BTM’s drummer) put on a decent individual performance. (Hmmm…..Flo Mounier…Jade Simonetto….there’s something Montreal has about drummers…….) Like Defiled, BTM struggled to stand out and their music sounded rather generic to me.
Image isn’t everything but when the guys of Obscura hit the stage donned in plain black outfits, you get the idea that these people seem to pay attention to the fine little details. Then, as soon as the band starts playing I feel my jaw dropping to the ground.
Offering a more sophisticated strain of Death Metal, Obscura not so much impressed me from start to end of their show as much as they totally blew me away. I have no hesitation in referring to all the band members as amazingly talented virtuosos. For instance, the way guitarists Christian Muenzner and Steffen Kummerer (also lead vox) fused Jazzy guitar techniques with the dynamics of Death Metal was breathtaking. On the basis of tonight’s performance, I’m definitely going to check out Obscura’s recent “Omnivium” album as I recommend everyone else does.
After the gig I discovered that Obscura’s line-up featured ex-members of Pestilence and Necrophagist – and I hang my head in shame at not having recognised (ex) members of one of my favourite bands (Pestilence).
The headliners were on next and in fact at the ‘Underworld’ Hate Eternal were…..Hate Eternal. The audience expected to hear razor sharp, complex riffs and Death Metal that was honest, brutal and inventive? Well, that’s spot on what they got. Composed of JJ Hrubovcak on bass, Jade Simonetto on drums and the band’s mentor Erik Rutan on vocals and guitar, tonight’s performance seemed to vindicate those who feel the band works best as a trio. Their performance was indeed as tight as the fist of an angry Mike Tyson.
For most of the audience, the part of the set that focused on the “Phoenix Amongst The Ashes” album was probably a new experience. But it all seemed to go down well with them. In fact there appeared to be a mutual sense of respect between Rutan and the audience. Save for a few accidental but minor sound hiccups, Hate Eternal’s show was an absolute blast.
Defiled (http://www.myspace.com/defiledjapan) - 64
Beneath The Massacre (http://www.myspace.com/btm) - 66
Obscura (www.myspace.com/realmofobscura) - 90
Hate Eternal (http://www.hateeternal.com) - 97
Attending: Chris Galea