I decided to go see Hate Eternal, Krisiun and Into Eternity at the Red Room (formerly The Drink) on Thursday, July 7. It was a last-minute thing, because the show looked like it wasn't going to happen—bands were dropping off the bill, generating rumours that the headliners wouldn't complete the western leg of the tour. The gig went ahead, though, minus Jungle Rot and All Else Perished. No great loss there, in my view.
Into Eternity were quite excellent, with twin leads from hell and the right amount of math to keep me interested throughout (i.e., lots). Lead singer Stu hails from Vancouver, and his parents were there to witness the spectacle. He's got a tremendous voice, with air-raid siren qualities to rival Bruce Dickinson and John Arch. Even better, the rest of the band can also sing, which means there's never a dull moment for both band and audience as the wheedling/growling/wailing/thrash/death/prog mayhem unfolds.
I'm not into Krisiun and their no-frills brutal death metal. I remember reading a live review of Kreator back in the day that described them as "Accept warped by the Chernobyl fallout." Well, if that was true, then Krisiun are like Kreator mutated by every toxic event in the two decades since. I'll admit that the Brazilian trio incorporate some catchy riffs here and there (that came across surprisingly well on stage), but if a band's intent is to be the fastest/heaviest, then I need some eccentricity to temper the po-faced punishment. The Brazilian trio don't offer much beyond plentiful blasting and dive-bomb soloing, but the crowd loved their brutal metal of death. Between-song patter included the obligatory "when in Vancouver" shout-outs to Blasphemy.
I came to check out Hate Eternal mainly because of Derek Roddy's ridiculous performance on their latest, I, Monarch. The man is a phenomenal drummer, a fact reflected by the cluster of drum nerds watching the show from the side of the stage. They got their money's worth. I watched from a distance for most of the gig, then wandered down for a closer look during their last number and saw some unbelievably fast fingertip blasting. Hate Eternal overall are less nutty than Morbid Angel (guitarist/vocalist Erik Rutan's former band), but maintain the elder group's dedication to disciplined, musicianly death metal. They didn't burn many musical memories in my brain (beyond the immediate impact of their instrumental athleticism), but H.E. were an impressive act to end an ultra-heavy evening anyway.
Next up, with any luck, will be Sounds of the Underground, with Clutch, Opeth, High on Fire and 856 metalcore bands.