Vital Remains & Hate Eternal 06/20/11
Key Club – West Hollywood, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt like a bit of a douche today as I stare at a blank word document. If you have followed Concert Confessions over the past 2+ years, then you know that we are dedicated to providing live concert reviews of the bands we love. Any jerk off can head out to a show because he gets a free ticket and make statements such as…
But that is the difference between Concert Confessions and other media outlets, we actually take pride in the information we pass along to the fans. So here is where I admit the truth – my knowledge of Hate Eternal is limited at best. It didn’t matter who was playing, with life kicking me in the backside the past few weeks I just wanted to escape into a smelly Sunset Strip club* for a few hours and have my ass handed to me by some loud fucking death metal.
I made my way into the Key Club about ½ way through the set of Vital Remains. Knowing it’s the best policy, I must be honest when I say I can’t tell if these guys are supposed to be funny or not. While categorized as Death Metal, the music felt more like a night with Girl Talk. Sure, I heard elements of Death Metal, but I also heard some thrash, some cookie monster rock, a pretty sweet groove that would have fit perfectly on the Wretch album by Kyuss and then there was that riff that I swear was “Going The Distance” by Cake. While some may feel distractions are welcome to a banner carrying member of the A.D.H.D family, I often found myself focused more on image vs. listening to the music. Vocalist Scott Wiley had those cool “metal singer” leather sleeves made of dead Italian cows. You know the ones; they lace up, have a few spikes on and drive all the pot belly Latinas crazy. Just looking at bassist “Gator” Collier you could tell that dude has seen Phish as many times as he has seen Iron Maiden. It was all in the Fragile Rock head bob. Then again, Mike Gordon and Steve Harris both have that Fragile Rock look, so perhaps it was more Maiden shows than Phish shows. I can tell you this much based off looks alone, dude has consumed massive amounts of good times at both. Then you had the stage right guitarists guitar, a monstrosity so epic I refuse to post instead I shall simply link to it. Don’t get me wrong, the band had some great riffs and the crowd went off big time. Yet with so many style changes and bad metal clichés, I really must wonder if perhaps I missed the joke?!?!?!
The main reason I hit the Key Club was Hate Eternal. I caught them about 18 months ago as part of the All Day/All Ages Metalfest down Sunset Blvd at the Palladium. It was one of those sets where afterwards I was like “Fuck yeah Hate Eternal I’m going to go buy everything they have released” but then days and weeks and months go buy and the cash I would have spent on records ended up going to the dentist, the 76 Station down the street and Target (because cat sand is really fucking expensive, just ask Danzig ok?). So I can tell you they played such hits as “Bringer of Storms”, “Phoenix Amongst The Ashes” and “I Monarch.” I can tell you that despite the fact Rutan was plagued by guitar issues all night, he didn’t allow that to wipe that warm (and very un-death-metal) smile off his face. I can tell you that the pit was solid and the Key Club security did a fine job of clearing a path for some poor Mexican kid who broke his ankle (perhaps just a high sprain, I am not a doctor but I play one on TV). Fact is, Hate Eternal could have gotten on stage and performed Gaga covers and it would have kicked ass. All three members of the band are virtuosos of their craft and a must see for anyone who loves heavy music. Oh and fuck the cats, they can learn to use the toilet for all I care, I am blowing my paycheck this weekend on Hate Eternal albums.
*We love the Key Club and in many visits the place has smelled just fine. However on this the last day of Spring 2011, whomever was crop dusting the entire stage right side of the stage ALL FUCKING NIGHT should really go see a doctor.