hate-eternal.jpgVince and I were mortified when we arrived at BB King’s Blues Club in Times Square last night. Not because we were at BB King’s (not always the best venue for a metal show) or because we were in Times Square (a place of interest only to tourists and other assorted nimrods), but because it was only 8 pm and 3 Inches of Blood were just taking the stage after an “introduction” by Dr. Rockso, the Rock N’ Roll Clown who does cocaine. How the fuck had we managed to miss Hate Eternal? According to the venue’s website, doors had opened at 7, and it seemed highly improbable that openers Decrepit Birth and Hate Eternal had both already played their sets within an hour; since we were at the show largely to check out Erik Rutan and the boys, the thought that we might not get to see them was upsetting, to put it mildly.

3inches.jpgBut after opening with “Night Marauders,” 3 Inches of Blood front man Cam Pipes announced from the stage that Hate Eternal had been delayed and would go on before The Black Dahlia Murder. Comforted by that thought, we were able to relax and just enjoy 3 Inches, and enjoy we did. Even with co-front man Jamie Hooper on leave due to vocal injuries, this band killed, rising over the negative energy of the surprising amount of hecklers standing in the back of the sold-out club (although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t chuckle at the dude who shouted “3 inches of gay cock!”). First of all, the band sounds super-tight, and Cam Pipes has a killer set of, well, y’know… pipes. These dudes clearly have their shit together and I imagine they’re only gonna get better and bigger.

So 3 Inches of Blood finish their set and someone announces over the PA that, no, Hate Eternal are not in the house yet, but they’re en route and will play their set after BDM. So after what seemed like an incredibly fast equipment change, BDM hit the stage…

blackdahliamurder.jpg…and if the house went nuts for 3 Inches, then they were positively bat shit insane asylum fucked in the skull for The Black Dahlia Murder. To be fair, the band totally earned the crowd response; good natured and smiling but never above inciting a riot, vocalist Trevor Strnad ran from side to side of the stage as though he were headlining Giants fucking Stadium; even though this was s’posed to be a an evil death metal show, Strand couldn’t help but flash a grin of childish glee as he observed the barrage of stage divers, crowd surfers, and non-karate choppin’ moshers that overtook the floor (and it’s worth noting that I have never, ever seen crowd surfing, stage diving, or a circle pit at BB King’s before). Playing a variety of favorites both old (“Miasma,” “Statutory Ape” – complete with crowd surfing dude in ape costume!) and new (“Nocturnal,” “A Horrible Night to Have a Curse,” set highlight “Deathmask Divine”), the set’s only weakpoint was that lead guitarist John Kempainen was a little too low in the mix to get the full effect of his epic solos. But it didn’t matter, ’cause the band killed anyway, and Strnad won “Charismatic Front Man of the Night” just for introducing “A Vulgar Picture” as a song about “sticking your dick in the dead” before wishing the crowd well “from the bottom of my black, chubby heart.” Fuck, I guess anyone with the words “Heart Burn” tattooed across his belly has gotta have a sense of humor.

Alas, after BDM finished their set, the announcement came that, no, Hate Eternal weren’t going to make it. The packed house, uh, expressed their displeasure with the news, for lack of a more polite term, and started to file out; about half the crowd had dissipated when suddenly fucking Rutan walks out stage, still in his goddamn coat, and with a monstrous roar and a lifting of his arms, worked whomever had been lucky enough to stay behind into a frothing frenzy. That’s right: Hate E-fuckin’-ternal literally walked out of their van and onto the stage, like true pros, and using what looked to be largely borrowed equipment, played an absolutely killer, if abbreviated, set that included a brutal rendition of new single “Bringer of Storms.”And in those brief moments, the band instantly won VIPs of the night; the professionalism of the mindset that “We’re gonna play this show come hell or high fucking water” is obviously an incredible testament to the band’s passion for both their music and their fans, and the fact that they actually sounded so good is a testament to just how talented they are. That the show was actually this new incarnation of Hate Eternal’s first live show made it all the more historic and impressive; anyone who dares to display a lack of respect for these dudes deserves to be broken.

When we got to talk to Rutan later in the night (transcript coming soon), he told us that Hate Eternal will most likely do a proper headlining run in April. Consider us beyond fucking excited.


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