‘We’re about to get into some metal in about 2 fucking seconds!’ Erik Rutan was not a happy man during soundcheck following Origin‘s set on their dual-headlining tour. The sound guy, violently pushing his way through those of us up front wasn’t having a good day either. ‘Plug this in!‘ ‘Fuckin’ nothing!!!‘ ‘Does this sound like 12?!!!‘ Witnessing the lead guitarist/vocalist beat the shit out of a member of the sound crew would have been a first, but my money would have been on Erik. The dude is beast and when he gnashes those bone white teeth your direction, you can’t help but flinch in fear of becoming dinner. The confrontation narrowly avoided, it was just past 11:00pm when JJ Hrubovcak and Jade Simonetto joined the leader onstage and proceeded to bury us in another type of violence.
The rotating top spot was held by Hate Eternal on the Denver stop of the tour. A much deserved, if not respected, spot. Phoenix Amongst The Ashes is one of the heaviest, most difficult (in a good way) death metal releases this year and the primary reason I was in attendance on Friday night. Evidently Origin had a larger following at the Marquis Theater though, as the crowd thinned out a little before Erik and the guys could turn the small venue into shitstorm of blood, sweat and hair. Those of us who stuck around were rewarded with an onslaught of hatred that only us masochists could enjoy. Positioned about 6 inches from the band, the only barrier being the windmill of hair created by the banger in front of me, I had a front row seat to the coming storm. The show opened the same way the album does, with Rebirth and Eternal Ruler before going into the suffering anthem that is Thorns Of Acacia.
So tight, so to the point, it is hard to believe this band is only a trio. The screaming wall of sound they create is a mile high and a mile wide and there isn’t a single crack; not a single fracture to expose. This was the first show where the front few rows were not protected from the pit. Bodies slamming around, shins cracking on the low stage…at one point someone flew into the mic stand and smacked Erik in the mouth so hard I thought he’d loss a tooth, but this only make him angrier…opening his jaw like he would swallow the world, letting growls from the grave escape from the abyss deep inside.
Being up so close at a venue like Marquis Theater is like being in the show, not at the show. This was the feeling on Friday night. As the band worked their way through half the latest album with enough of the back catalogue to keep everyone in the pit, I couldn’t imagine Origin following this up. Not to take anything away from their set, but I have an enormous amount of respect for a band who can perform a show like this, completely void of all theatrics…straight to the point metal. Hatred personified.
Origin isn’t a band I’ve had much experience with before Friday night, but they came out in an explosions of fury. New vocalist Jason Keyser introduced them as ‘Origin from fucking everywhere‘ before exploding into some breakneck death metal. Keyser had a great stage presence, stalking back and forth like a tweaked-out lion searching for prey while Mike Flores was killing his bass with style. Not being familiar with their songs, there is no doubt they were playing what the crowd wanted to hear. The reaction of those banging in the front, slammin’ in the pit and even those watchin’ in the back proved that much. My own opinion is they would be a much better band with all the shrieks though.
Abysmal Dawn were done by the time I got there, but Vital Remains put on a solid opening set. From what I gather, Tony Lazaro is the only original and current member of this band, but he just let his fingers do the talking and his pure size provide his stage presence, allowing the musicians he has gathered under the Vital Remains name to entertain while he did his job holding it down. The set opened with a question ‘Where is your god now?‘ and ended with a declaration ‘Hail Satan!‘, in between that was some blackened death metal that held my full attention for a half hour, which is much more than I can say for many opening acts I have had the chance to suffer through.