"I think there's a big misconception of EyeHateGod," says guitarist Jimmy Bower. "People see the name, think, maybe these guys are Satanists, maybe they're just stupid."
I first heard EyeHateGod back in 1992 when In the Name of Suffering came out. Admittedly, I was as enthused by their name as much as their music — I was always looking for bands whose very name was offensive. But with that record, I ended up pleased by the music that came out of my super-cool Park 'n Swap speakers. I was immediately a fan.
Eight years later, I was fortunate enough to have timing on my side when a Halloween trip to New Orleans coincided with EyeHateGod's playing a show in its hometown. My traveling companions weren't super-hip on shelling out the dough and wasting precious time outside the French Quarter to see doom metal — there's that name again — but they were all glad they did afterward.
Feedback-loving fans of heavy, ugly, kick-you-in-the-face sludge metal will be handsomely rewarded for doing the same Saturday, when 13th Floor Entertainment brings the band to Joe's Grotto.
EyeHateGod is stoner-ish in the way the Melvins are stoner-ish, mixed in with some creepy flavor spice oozing from low-end pustules on the bass and drums. With only 10 strings between the twin-guitar attack, their tone is part Black Flag, part Southern Rock, and full-on mayhem. The band's refined its sound since the first time I heard In the Name of Suffering, but classics like Dopesick and Take as Needed for Pain still send out dark, heavy rumbles of mayhem with the best of them.
They've refined their life as touring musicians in the same way — as their career has changed, their ethic has stayed the same. "EyeHateGod prides itself on trying to be as DIY as we can," Bower says. "What little money that we do make, we try to keep. As far as being in a van, that doesn't bother us at all. We're a band of dudes with a really solid friendship; I think that's what has helped us stay around for so long."
San Diego's Cattle Decapitation is the direct support on this evening of heaviness and will be weaving vegan tales of death, despair, and hatred to all things related to consumerism and progress. Apparently, the band recently has added some melody to its sound, but my distinct guess after watching a few of the group's videos is that its set will be the furthest thing from a peaceful night around a campfire with an acoustic guitar and a bag of marshmallows. Expect the pit police to be in full force at Joe's Grotto during Cattle Decapitation's set. Vocalist Travis Ryan is one of the more enigmatic frontmen this genre has to offer.
Also on the bill is Tucson's heavy masters Godhunter, and local boys Scattered Guts, Sorrower, and Seas Will Rise. Doors open at 6:30, so get there early, strap on a massive set of earplugs, and consider wearing padded clothing, because this show is going to be brutal.
Twenty years after In the Name of Suffering, new generations are still getting into the music, whether it's for the name or the sound. "We have a lot of kids coming to the shows these days, and I guess that's what happens when you stay around for so long, but it is great to see them digging something that is new to them.
"We've actually evolved into a really good time," Bower says. "We're from New Orleans, we're sarcastic. Kids are getting it now, and people just come and check it out. And even if they don't like the music, they'll still have a good time."