On paper, this looked to be one of the hottest death metal tours in recent memory, and the reality was that it certainly lived up to expectations. Headliners Nile are riding the wave of their recent killer opus Those Whom the Gods Detest, while new Nuclear Blast labelmates Immolation are set to release their latest Majesty and Decay. Along for the ride was South America's mighty Krisiun, Dreaming Dead, and Judas Syndrome. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo was on hand and brings his full report of the technical & brutal death metal that took place that evening.
It was an unusually warmish night in New York City that evening (close to 50 in mid-January is not necessarily normal), and the death metal fans came out in droves to The Gramercy, as the venue was almost filled to capacity in what turned out to be a very good turnout. I arrived slightly late, so I only caught half the set of Judas Syndrome. These guys were an interesting mix of hardcore & death metal, perhaps a bit too much on the hardcore side for this audience, but they did seem to go over pretty well for those with an open mind. Featuring plenty of crushing riffs & breakdowns, barking vocals, jackhammer drum work, and a surprising dose of melody, Judas Syndrome went over as a band that seems to have a bright future, though they deserved to be on a bill that perhaps leaned more to the deathcore style than what we had on display this evening.
Next up was Dreaming Dead, a very impressive act that seemed to take their influence from the thrash scene as well as classic Death. This California band is fronted by the talented and beautiful Elizabeth Elliott, who not only can growl with the best of them, but she can play a mean shred guitar as well. She's joined by the also very capable talents of guitarist Laura Christine. Together, they make up one of the most impressive female guitar duos currently going today. Much of the material was taken from their debut Within One, and the audience really seemed to get into their thrash/melodic death metal style, which was ripe with heavy riffs, technical passages, tight rhythms, and a serious attitude. Judging by the reception they got, it's easy to predict bigger things for this band, who not only have the Death/Carcass thing going, but fans obviously love chicks who can kick some serious metal ass. Definitely a band to watch.
Veterans Krisiun took the stage to a huge roar from the crowd. These Brazilians have been over here plenty in recent years, but their brand of technical death metal always goes over well with the New York extreme metal crowd. One of the hardest working trios in metal, Krisiun played a selection of old and new classics in their short set, getting the pit going into a frenzy at various points. Though their sound was somewhat muddy, they played their asses off on tunes like "Vicious Wrath", "Combustion Inferno", and "Hatred Inherit". These brothers are some of the best players in the business, so we were treated to some exceptional drum, guitar, and bass work (Moyses and Max especially are powerhouse players) to go along with their brutal, technical, and pummeling songs.
Yonkers own Immolation were basically the hometown heroes on this evening, and walked onto the stage to a thunderous applause from the NY metal masses. Featuring the evil growls of bassist Ross Dolan, and twin guitar attack of Bill Taylor & Robert Vigna, and the powerhouse drum blasts from Steve Shalaty, Immolation are a force to be reckoned with and quickly got the pit going into a frenzied maelstrom. The band tore into such brutal fare as "Den of Thieves", "Burial Ground", 'World Agony", and "Passion Kill" with plenty of killer intent, their brand of technicality & brutality in fine form. In speaking to Ross and Robert before they went on, both were excited to finally be doing a tour with Nile, as the two bands are very comparable, and Immolation is counting the days for the new album to be released on Nuclear Blast. Judging by the new song they played that night, "The Purge", the new CD should be a great one!
I've seen Nile numerous times over the last five years, and I have to say, they sounded better on this evening than each previous time I've caught them live. Not only was the crowd totally behind them, but the band just sounded so massive and tight. Their recent album really clicked with a lot of people, many calling it their best yet, so when Nile opened their set with the lead in track of Those Whom the Gods Detest, "Kafir!", the place went absolutely nuts. Dallas Toler Wade's evil cries of "There is no God but God..." had the crowd growling along with him in unison, as he and Karl Sanders churned out huge, complex riff after complex riff, while drum legend George Kollias amazed with his patented blasts and kicks. From there they rampaged into "Sacrifice Unto Sebek", and never looked back, as the band pummeled the audience with their brand of brutal & technical Egyptian themed extreme metal. Other highlights of this excellent set were "Hittite Dung Incantation", "Serpent Headed Mask", the wild "Papyrus Containing the Spell to Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who is in the Water", and of course "Sarcophagus" and "Black Seeds of Vengeance". Really though, Nile could do no wrong on this evening-they sounded great, with every instrument perfectly audible (massive even) and each player in synch with each other, and the set list was very strong, touching on most of their albums.
A near perfect night of death metal? Absolutely.
Krisiun Set List
1.Kings of Killing
Immolation Set List
2.Swarm of Terror
3.Den of Thieves
4.Father, You're Not a Father
Nile Set List
2.Sacrifice Unto Sebek
3.Hittite Dung Incantation
4.Serpent Headed Mask
7.Papyrus Containing the Spell to Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who is in the Water
8.4th Arra of Dagon
9.Permitting the Noble Dead to Descend to the Underworld
11.Lashed to the Slave Stick
12.Black Seeds of Vengeance