Released: 2006, Earache Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
In a passing farewell to their days on Earache Records, Floridian death metal powerhouse Hate Eternal issues their first DVD, THE PERILOUS FIGHT. Recorded live at The Garage in London on June 4, 2006 during their European tour, Hate Eternal tears through a dozen tracks in their hour-long set. The concert is uncut and unedited with “no overdubbing or studio magic” and considering the adversity the band faced as outlined in the accompanying booklet, it’s a miracle the show even went on, let alone sound and look as ripping as it does. Along with the main featured show, a post-gig band interview, an extensive tour of vocalist/guitarist Erik Rutan’s Mana Studios, various behind-the-scenes footage, as well as Hate Eternal’s three commercially-released music videos (“The Powers That Be,” “I, Monarch” and “The Victorious Reign”) are also included.
As one of death metal’s most ferocious trios, Hate Eternal is a treat to see live. Rutan is an intense, foreboding frontman and his guitar skills are among the most underrated in death metal. Leaving Morbid Angel in 2002 to focus on Hate Eternal, Rutan was a formidable foe to Trey Azagthoth’s searing leads. Here, he shows why by mixing smoking leads with blistering solos on tracks like “Dogma Condemned,” “The Victorious Reign,” “I, Monarch” and “The Powers That Be,” the latter featuring a perfect blend of melody, speed and skill. Along with Rutan, bassist/vocalist Randy Piro and drummer Reno Killerich pummel the London crowd amidst a sea of headbanging and hair spins. Killerich himself, a last minute fill-in for Derek Roddy who quit the band on the eve of the U.S. tour in March 2006, impresses with his fluidity and fit on the band’s first gig together.
A twenty-minute interview, conducted in the band’s dressing room immediately following the London show, focuses on Rutan with minor comments from Piro and Killerich. Rutan explains the origin of Hate Eternal’s name, the recording technique used for the I, MONARCH album, his various production work, the band’s drum woes as well as a reflection on his time in Morbid Angel. The tour of Mana Studios runs for twenty minutes and is a bit tedious. Every corner and component of the studio is gone over with a fine-toothed comb and it comes across more as a video sales brochure than a fan interest piece, though seeing Rutan extend his musical skills in a brief drum solo is worth a look. The ten-minute road footage section is largely forgettable and smacks of that really-it-was-funny-if-you-there kind of there.
Soon after the release of THE PERILOUS FIGHT, Hate Eternal announced they had left Earache Records and signed with Metal Blade Records and just recently, Randy Piro announced his departure from the band, so this is a bit of a closing chapter in Hate Eternal history. Overall, THE PERILOUS FIGHT is a solid package that will surely tickle any fan of Hate Eternal or Erik Rutan’s work. The live show is the real draw, of course, and the in-depth interview is also a nice addition but a little too much fluff seems added just to make the package appear fuller. Still, for about $14, this is a good deal.