Concert Reviews

Nile - Arch Enemy - Hate Eternal - Origin
July 17th 2002
Key Club, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Despite the fact I'm moving to San Francisco in two days, and hence should have been busy packing, I knew if I didn't go to this show, I would be spending all night kicking myself. So I finally decided to go, there were just too many good bands playing in a row to miss out.

A good crowd showed up for the keyclub, the place was packed on the floor and pretty full up in the balcony, the music started with a local act Artisan, who were good, but too melodic for this crowd and this concert, the clean vocals didn't go over very well, as one guy in the crowd yelled loudly "I want to hear some death metal!" They seemed to do better when they played a cover of Death's "Pull The Plug" for their last song.

Next came Origin, and I admit that's probably the band I was most eager to see. Mainly, I'd bought the new album, and it was so fucking fast I wondered if they'd digitally sped it up. Well, I can honestly say, it didn't look like there was any digital manipulation going on, they really played that fast. The band has a single vocalist, and then two guitar players who also do vocals, so they're constantly trading off screams and howls, very tough to do considering they have to simultaneously play the music, which is very technical and very fast. And John Longstreth on drums, holy fuck, he's now become the fastest drummer I have ever seen. After a few songs, I headed to the balcony so I could get a better look at his playing. He was just this blur of speed, he didn't seem to hit the drums but to vibrate on them, and even though I'm sure the triggers helped immensely, there was still a lot of power to his playing, you could hear snare hits and double bass clearly and in perfect tempo. They started off with 'Larvae of the Lie', the first song off their new cd, however, the soundguy messed up or something and the mix was all weird, you could barely hear them. But the sound radically improved over the next few songs thank goodness, they played a good variety of older and newer songs, the older songs generally much faster than they were originally recorded on the record. They ended with a Death cover as well, "Flattening Of Emotions", many parts at supersonic speeds (of course). These guys are the true kings of speed, and live they deliver.

Anyways, Hate Eternal was next. They did have the one "disadvantage" which was they have a new album coming out in a month or so, and so played a bunch of tracks from that album even though no one in the crowd knows the music yet. I generally find it better to know the song before seeing it live. Regardless, Erik Rutan truly looked evil up there, a very strong vocal performance, his face constantly clenched in anger. The band played as a 3 piece, which I have mixed feelings on. While it was certainly easier to hear Erik play the clean stuff (using a harmonizer), when it came time for the tremolo riffing, Hate Eternal had this big wall of sound on their first album, which you sorta need 2+ guitars for, so the sound may have been a little thin. Drumwise, Derek Roddy is another drum god, not as fast as Origin, but still damn fast, and technical. Can't wait to hear the new album.

Next came Arch Enemy. The new (well, sorta new) female vocalist was definitely impressive, her vocals are as strong as any dude's, and she had good stage presence. So much so, I don't think I even need to bother mentioning anymore that she's female in future reviews, she's just a good vocalist period, regardless of gender. The band's music is a little more "heavy metal", melodic and slower than the previous two bands, but the tunes are so good, and it was nice for something a little different between blastfests. They started off with 'Enemy Within' which really got the crowd going, then played 'Heart of Darkness', 'Ravenous', 'Dead Bury Their Dead' and a bunch of stuff from previous albums. All the harmonized riffs were played perfectly by the Ammott brothers, since the music is a bit slower, you were able to hear the notes a bit better. Great performance.

And now last we come to Nile. Again, these guys also have a new album almost out, and so played a few songs off that. One of the newer songs was really slow and evil, and sounds really cool, but they finished off the concert with a new tune that was really fast, and I think for crowd purposes they should probably have finished with something we all knew. Anyways, I'm getting ahead of myself here, the band of course has a new drummer Tony Laureno and new bassist/vocalist Jon Vesano. As far as the drummer goes, he was totally sick, his snare was so loud during those blasts, and Nile's music is complex for sure, with tons of cymbal and tom work that he performed flawlessly. And then on to the bass player, filling Chief Spires shoes was a tough one, considering the monstrous presence he had on stage, but Jon did a great job, totally filling those large shoes, and made an excellent front man for the band, he was very into it and the energy showed in the music. Of course, we have Karl off in the corner setting up his computer with win2000 on the screen for all the soundbytes and synth guitar bits, and Dallas on the opposite side, the personification of evil himself. Not much to say about these guys, they just oozed quality, the songs were all clear, even during the fast parts, plenty of bass, not a single missed note, and the vocals were very deep and genuine. These guys perform as well as they record in the studio, that's for sure.

Anyways, with so many great bands in a row, this was one hell of a great way to spend my last days in LA, this will definitely be THE concert tour of the summer, so go check it out now.

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