Chimaira, Arch Enemy, God Forbid, Hate Eternal – 4/22/06

Last night I checked out Chimaira, Arch Enemy, God Forbid, and Hate Eternal down in the eternal shithole known as Harpos in Detroit. This concert marked a few firsts for me. Foremost, it’s the first concert I’ve ever gone to alone. Why you ask? Because all the other people that said they would go bitched out. I wasn’t about to miss the show though. The second is that this was the first time I’ve brought earplugs to a show. I didn’t use them for the whole show, because they were crappy industrial type earplugs that muck up the sound completely, as opposed to other earplugs that I’ve heard of that let all of the sound through relatively undisturbed, albeit at a much lower volume.

Hate Eternal was the first of the “known” bands on the stage. I’d never heard of them before, and frankly, I wouldn’t have been worse off if I hadn’t seen them. Each of the guys in the band seemed talented, but for me at least, it didn’t seem to add up to something good. To me, it just sounded like a wall of noise, and hence, I had the earplugs in for most (if not all) of their set. If I were to guess, I think this is the kind of music that metal-haters cite when they say that all metal is just neanderthal and barbaric in nature. I give them credit for being solid on their instruments, but not much more than that. Grade: C-

God Forbid was the next group up. I have to say that God Forbid was the first metal band I’ve ever seen where the non-caucasians outnumbered the stereotypical metal white guys. It’s good to see that metal is reaching out and touching more people. It’s also good to hear a band that rocks, and these guys most certainly did that. Their singer was a screamer, but he was counterbalanced by the two guitarists, which did some sweet harmonized backing vocals. It’s always good to have throw that change-up to keep things fresh. The music was very heavy and had a serious groove. Each of the guitarsts have serious skills, and ripped off tons of solos each. There were also plenty of times where they met in the middle of the stage and played extended harmonized leads, which are always totally sweet. All in all, I’d give these guys two thumbs up, and would definitely check them out again. Grade: B+

Arch Enemy was up next. I’ve heard of them many times before, but haven’t really taken the plunge and listened to them all that much. Well, I will be checking them out further, because they were awesome. More killer guitar work, to say the least. Lots of sweet riffs and hard driving rhythms. Tthey also have one of the only female singers that I’ve ever seen in a metal band. She’s no candy ass either… she gets out there and lets it rip, and there’s no doubt she’s metal to the core. She’s pretty hot too, but she’s also vegan, which in my now-biased eyes, that reduces her hot factor. But that’s a completely different story. Anyway, Arch Enemy is awesome, and they will definitely be getting more attention from me, and quite soon most likely. Grade A-
[Chimaira playing Implements Of Destruction]
Chimaira was the reason I made the 90 mile journey alone, and while I would like to say that they didn’t disappoint, they did in a way. More on that later. I was beside myself when they broke into the first song – Implements of Destruction. My favorite Chimaira song. I didn’t really think i would ever see it live since it’s an instrumental weighing in at about twelve minutes, but they played it. And they nailed it. It may have been slightly abridged, but they played the vast majority of it. After they finished, the lead guitarist stepped up to the mic and said that we were in for a ‘different’ kind of Chimaira show tonight. The lead singer had a death his family, so he had flown home to be with his family. So, rather than cancel the show, he asked some of the guys in the opening bands to help out on vocals along with their keyboard/sound effects guy (who does backing vocals anyway). The singer for God Forbid came out and did their next two or three songs, and he did a pretty good job, although you could see that he was fishing around for the lyrics at times, and was putting the microphone into the crowd an awful lot. One of God Forbid’s guitarists came out and sang the ‘clean’ vocals in “Down Again,” and he did a pretty good job as well. The singer/guitarist from Hate Eternal came out and sang the next two songs, and he did a decent job as well, although you could tell he didn’t know the lyrics either, and had to keep looking down at the lyric sheets they had written up and placed on the stage monitors. After that, the keyboardist moved his setup to center stage and took over the vocals. He at least knew the words, and the 4 songs or so he sang sounded pretty coherent and Chimaira-like. I think he pretty much wore himself out though. He looked pretty beat by the end. For the last song, which was “Pure Hatred” I believe, they gave a fan his biggest concert dream ever – they pulled him up on stage to sing. They called out for someone who knew every word, and this guy did. He nailed it. The only time he missed is when the band threw in a pause that wasn’t in the album version, and he started too early. No fault of his own… it’s not like he rehearsed with them.

All in all, their set was pretty good. They played all of the songs I expected them to, which made me happy. The disappointment factor stemmed from not seeing them as a unbroken unit, which led to some of the general vocal disarray. I can’t fault them for it though. They soldiered on, and with some help from the opening bands, did the best they could and still made it a memorable show. I would probably have given the show a B-range grade, but they played Implements of Destruction in its (almost) entirety. Because of that – Grade: A-

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