Red hot metal line-ups seem to be commonplace in New York City these days, and the night of January 16th, 2008, at the BB King Blues Club, would certainly be no exception. Making their way into town were Black Dahlia Murder, Hate Eternal, 3 Inches of Blood, and Decrepit Birth, for a night of extreme metal that gave a great kickstart to the 2008 concert calendar. The evening would not be without its drama, as an early start time and a mishap on the trek in for Hate Eternal caused some anxiety for fans, management, and the venue. In the end, it turned out to be another kick ass night of metal. Sea of Tranquility's Pete Pardo and Ken Pierce were in the house, and we have complete commentary plus photos from Hayley Brooke.
Pete Pardo- Normally when you hear "start time is around 7:00PM", that can literally mean anything. Well, on this evening, Decrepit Birth were asked to go on stage either at exactly 7, or even a little earlier. By the time we made it to BB Kings, got our passes, and made our way into the venue (roughly 7:15) the band had already finished their set, to a rather small crowd that was just starting to fill up. By 7:30, upstart Roadrunner act 3 Inches of Blood were making their way onto the stage and ready to pummel the audience with a near 40 minute set of brilliant classic thrash/80's power metal. This band can seemingly do no wrong, as they played mostly songs from their latest CD Fire Up the Blades, led by the raging vocals of Cam Pipes and the twin guitar mastery of Justin Hagberg and Shane Clark. Time after time the band cascaded the audience with melodic riff heavy songs, each one memorable, and got the audience severly pumped. Classic pieces like "Night Marauders", "Trial of Champions", "Demons Blade" and "The Goatriders Horde" had everyone in the crowd headbanging and thrashing to the max. 3 Inches of Blood are somewhat of a interesting band-although they touch on some of the extreme metal styles that are popular today, they have more in common with 80's Bay Area Thrash bands as well as some of the classic NWOBHM acts of the late 70's /early 80's. These guys play exciting, energetic metal, with tons of wailing vocals, wild guitar acrobatics, and frenetic rhythms. I don't think it's long before this band is headlining their own tour here in the US, and let's hope that the time comes real soon. A great set.
By this time, the word had spread throughout BB Kings that Hate Eternal had gotten into some sort of incident on the road, and they were unsure if they were going to make it to the show. So, Black Dahlia Murder were asked to go on much earlier than expected (it was not even 9PM yet) and tear it up about an hour or more earlier than expected. Well, they certainly did, coming out for a ripping hour long set that drew from their three excellent Metal Blade releases. If you've never listened to BDM before, you can expect a mix of Gothenburg styled melodic death metal, technical death metal, and a touch of hardcore brutality, complete with mind-blowing guitar work, crashing drum blasts, and loads of deathly growls and screams. Touring in support of their latest CD Nocturnal, the band threw a few of the newer songs into a set that also dove into more well known songs from Miasma and Unhallowed, like "Funeral Thirst", "The Blackest Incarnation", "Miscarriage", "Statutory Rape", 'Dave Goes to Hollywood", and "Miasma". Judging by the audience reactions, newer pieces such as "Nocturnal", "Everything Went Black", "Warborn" and "What A Horrible Night to Have a Curse" fit right into the set and are already well known by the loyal fanbase. BDM is a band that gets the crowd really going, the mosh pit a constant maelstrom of flying bodies and sweat throughout their set. Vocalist Trevor Strnad prowls the stage and regularly incites the audience in between barks and growls, while the guitar duo of Brian Eschbach & John Kempainen fire off plenty of intricate, pummeling riffage and blinding leads. Let's not forget the jackhammer rhythm team of drummer Shannon Lucas bassist Ryan Williams who litterally had the venue shaking the entire time. Overall, this was an energetic and heavy set from a band that has turned into a well oiled metal machine from all the constant touring they have done over the last few years. Word is that they will be back again perhaps a little later in the year, so if you didn't catch them this time around, make sure you do so then and be prepared to be destroyed by the Black Dahlia Murder.
After the BDM set, the lights at BB Kings came on, and the security folks started to try and get the fans to make their way out of the venue, even though it was not even 10PM yet. Suddenly, word shot through the crowd that Hate Eternal had just arrived at the venue, which prompted those still inside to chant "Hate Eternal, Hate Eternal!" . Initially, it mattered not, as the venue was telling everyone that the show was over and to make their way out. Despite all this, the band jumped on to the stage and began to set up, and in the end they were allowed to play a short 4 song set, to the delight of the death metal faithful who hung around to see it. "Behold Judas", "King of All Kings", "Powers That Be", and a new song from their forthcoming Metal Blade CD were offered as a consolation prize, and quite honestly, the fans were happy with what they got, as Erik Rutan & Co. showed what a lethal extreme metal ensemble they are despite the quick set. With their new album ready to be released shortly, chances are they will be back around soon enough in a more expanded show, and I'm sure we'll all be counting the days.
Photos By Hayley Brooke
(Click here to View the Rest of Hayley's Photos From this Concert)
Ken Pierce: The Black Dahlia Murder would invade New York City once again and this time around it would be as the headliner and find them supporting their latest Death Metal masterpiece – Metal Blade Records "Nocturnal". The appearance would also feature the bands 3 Inches Of Blood, Hate Eternal and Decrepit Birth so you knew very early on that this was really going to be a brutal Metal evening no matter what. It was also a continuation of the recent practice of finding more than one powerhouse band being presented on the same bill and this fact made the price of entry totally worthwhile. The four band roster would once again be at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, a venue that has pretty much made it a point to deliver quite a few quality Metal shows over the past couple of years. I find that when you compare them against other venues of this type there really haven't been any others that come as close in getting your Metal hunger fed better than B.B. King's. Given the number of bands this evening the show was set to start earlier than an event that featured only two or three acts and everyone who would be attending believed it to be a 7:00pm first band hitting the stage sort of thing. Doors for such an event are usually an hour before the first band comes on and for the most part while there are always early entrants, the larger part of the crowd often waits until just before the first band hits. Now before I lose you there is a reason for me explaining all of this stuff. The hungry Metal legions who arrived at the dot of 7:00pm and rushed the barriers against the stage would find an already performing Decrepit Birth in the middle of their very brief set. If the group played for twenty minutes it would have surprised me but my own dinner plans found me missing them entirely. My goal was to begin the night of Metal with Hate Eternal, a long-revered Death Metal act but new signing to Metal Blade Records and the sudden movement of times was based on the band finding themselves in a bit of a dilemma a couple of states away. Earlier in the day it seemed as though the Hate Eternal guys got into a little bit of a fender bender and it looked as though they would not be making the appearance tonight. The announcers tonight remained hopeful but it really seemed unlikely that their gig would happen. Based on all of this I arrived to see a kick off by Roadrunner Records 3 Inches Of Blood who were now the second band on as opposed to Hate Eternal.
3 Inches Of Blood: I have now caught 3 Inches Of Blood about three times and with each appearance they are proving more and more impressive to me as a band that is far more than just an opening act. I felt the same way about Into Eternity a few years ago and watched as they won over scores of Metal head bangers with every show they did. I see this very quickly in 3IOB as the band brings to life the elements of today's Metal scene with a healthy homage to the NWOBHM that so many of us revere. Led by singer Cam Pipes, the band is a pummeling force on the stage as he screams in rage during songs from their killer album "Fire Up The Blades". If you haven't sampled this release yet then you are instructed to do so as it delivers on all fronts and most specifically serves the need of those who yearn for a heavy band that is intense in the live situation as they are on the album. If you love the traditional Thrash Metal vibe and cant get enough of today's Power Metal, then you will totally embrace the way that this band brings the best of both worlds together. The show tonight found the band in excellent form and of course being a little different than the band I had last seen. Gone was drummer Alexei Rodriguez who had been fired after a well-publicized altercation with a member of Saxon and in his place was Ash Pearson. I found that Pearson was kicking some serious ass back there on the drums and proved to be a good replacement in the bands lineup. The guitar work of Justin Hagberg and Shane Clark are reminiscent of the best twin guitar duos of the genres classic years and if they play their cards right are sure to join some of their legendary predecessors as the band grows in popularity and scope. If you watch the crowd during a set by 3 Inches Of Blood you will find that they are as into them as they are into the main band performing. I feel this is a credit to the hard work they do onstage and can predict that this group will be headlining shows in the not too distant future.
Black Dahlia Murder: As another hour had done by it became clear that Hate Eternal was not making the show tonight and this was announced by the venue who still remained hopeful about some word from them. This news found BDM hitting the stage even earlier than planned and with this being well before 9:00pm it seemed as though everyone was in for an early home time for a change. Despite this the band hit the stage like an assault force and this is based on their being a pretty seasoned band from all of their appearances on festivals and the like. Their latest album on Metal Blade Records has been receiving some pretty decent praise and rightly so because they are not your typical do the same kind of thing Death Metal band. They bring the expected machine gun dynamic riffing but also call into play some of those classic Gothenburg elements and they also mix in a lot of technical prowess that lets their music go in a number of different directions. This separates them from the pack in the continually growing genre. It helps that the group has a front man like Trevor Strnad who is a madman up there on the boards with his entire delivery. Guitarists John Kempainen and Brian Eschbach were definitely starting fires on their axes tonight over the lighting fast drumming of Shannon Lucas and bass of Ryan Williams. The bands new album was going over like gangbusters and the crowd a mess of moshing and crowd-surfing bodies who were enjoying themselves very much. BDM would not only remain on their new CD tonight but also present some stuff from "Miasma" and even earlier on in their career and finding that all of their material worked well within the context of the evenings' performance. There wasn't a lot of talking being done and it was instead just about keeping the Metal momentum up for the crowd who might have felt some disappointment at the lack of the added might of Hate Eternal tonight. While this was a BDM headlining show, there was a a large representation of HE shirts in the venue so you know some folks were feeling this rather hard. The speed and ferocity that is part and parcel to a BDM show also finds the set going by a lot faster than you would believe and even after some sixteen numbers it was over before you knew it. Trevor wished the audience goodnight and did a shout out to Hate Eternal while the venue PA announced that the band had not made it to the show and that they would try to get them back there soon. It seemed as though the night was officially over, or was it?
Hate Eternal: Suddenly, lead singer and guitarist Eric Rutan burst onto the in process of being broken down stage and yelled into the microphone to the crowd who was slowly being ushered out of the venue by the security. After all the event had ended and the lights gone up. Those who remained chanted with abandon "Hate Eternal", "Hate Eternal" to an approving Rutan who was working feverishly with the sound techs of the house and the members of BDM in order to hopefully perform. Luckily they would be able to play but the downside was that it was only to be a short four song performance that included the numbers "Behold Judas", "King Of All Kings", "Powers That Be" and a track whose name I didn't catch that would come from their soon to be released Metal Blade Records release. The bands ability to deliver even under the most chaotic and haphazard of circumstances showed them to be stronger than most who might have folded and gone home had the same thing happened to them. The fans that managed to make their way back into the venue all had a blast seeing these four songs and my guess is that they felt it was better these select numbers as opposed to nothing and with their new release coming out soon you can make a safe bet on the band returning to do a headlining set.
I had to say that tonight was one for the memory books based on its edge of the seat dramatics and music. It was like a mystery wondering whether of not Hate Eternal would be able to play at all.