Vital Remains is having a bit of the hair of the dog. Calling on the road from Toronto, guitarist Tony Lazaro is washing down some eggs and hot sauce with a Heineken. Our conversation is broken up with the odd mumbled "good morning" from his bandmates. It's 1pm.
That alone should go to show, even more than the band's crushing live sets, that 24 years later, Vital Remains still give it all. "Last year we did over 150 shows. this year is looking pretty busy too. We're playing the Hell and Heaven Metal Fest in Mexico with Anthrax and Motörhead---there were over 16,000 people there last year," says Lazaro. "It just reassures me that metal is here forever. It's never going to die."
I remind Lazaro that while their Thursday night Halifax show should certainly be a rager, it may pale in comparison to a festival of that size. "It doesn't matter if you're playing a small, underground intimate set or a big stage we play the same way. We give 100 percent. I give it my all no matter what," he replies. "We like plundering new lands and leaving our mark."
The Providence, Rhode Island death metal band is shifting towards a more traditional death metal sound, shorter, but equally punishing and furious songs will fill their new album due this year. It's a path Lazaro has seen the band following since 2007's Icons of Evil. "The last album I threw in old school hooks but still kept the speed and brutality. I just try to keep it honest and let it come naturally," he says. "I don't care about sticking to any kind of formula or format, I just do whatever I feel like doing."
"As a child I was the same---I was a maniac," says Lazaro, laughing. "My dad would say 'He takes the devil's path' and my mom would say 'Leave him alone, he's unique!'" Hail Satan for that.
w/Cottus, Wohedness and Enemy Designed
Thursday, May 9, 9:30pm,$15/$20
Michael’s Bar and Grill, 6100 Young Street
Tickets available at CD Heaven (Dartmouth), Bubba Ray’s Sports Bar and online at: http://etixnow.com/events/vital-remains-may-9
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