Chemical Burn Hurts Good
Brian Dowell
2/2/2005 5:28:24 AM

Chemical Burn
The Good Hurt
Venice, CA
January 29, 2005

”Hey Brian, wanna go to a metal show?”

Initially, my instinct told me to turn down such a request. That‚s never been my favorite genre of music. However, on a cool Saturday night in which I had no place to go, I realize that it has been a while since I graced the readers of Night Times with my own special brand of verbal vitriol. So, I reluctantly agreed and ended up darkening the door of Club Good Hurt, a surreal dive bar near Venice Beach, decorated with displays of the Red Cross logo, where burned out refugees from the L.A. 80’s hair metal scene (or at least the ones that managed to peel themselves off of the Sunset Strip) line up for drinks served by beautiful college girls in sexy nurse costumes.

I arrived during the set of a band called Bress, an LA trio. I thought they were interesting; Eric, a tall male guitarist and a cute bass player Brenda, traded off vocals and created some nice pop harmonies that piled nicely on top of a talented rhythm section. Bress’s alternative rock radio sound didn’t fit in too well into the metal ambience of the Good Hurt, but the audience seemed to enjoy their set.

Next, I suffered through a horrible set from a really crappy hardcore band; I won‚t even mention their name so as not to trigger any episodes of post traumatic stress. Finally, after a couple of reasonably priced beers served by ogle-worthy nurses, Chemical Burn took the stage. The San Jose trio, which is on the verge of finishing their first full-length album, features a singing bass player, plenty of guitar hooks and every metal cliché you could possibly think of--the sound, the attitude, the lyrics, the hair. There’s nothing too surprising here, but they do pull it off with aplomb. To me, they sounded a little harder than early Black Sabbath, but more poppy and accessible than Slayer. Those who detest heavy metal won’t find much to like about Chemical Burn, but I can’t think of any reason why metalheads wouldn’t dig them. These guys are obviously committed to their music, and, with the shortage of rock star posturing and annoying between song chatter, seemed very gracious about it all. So, if you dig the genre, you’ll dig the band, I’m not the world’s biggest authority on metal, (I probably haven’t bought a new metal album since Izzy Stradlin left Guns & Roses, causing that great powerhouse band to spin out of control), but in today’s political atmosphere, angry music seems to be in woefully short supply. In the next four years, there should be plenty to scream about, and if Chemical Burn can do the screaming for all of us, I say more power to them.

Photo by Tannaz!


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