It seems that there is never a shortage of hot metal bills these days. While Ozzfest usually keeps most of their touring bands busy, there's always room for some off-dates where the groups can team up and play some gigs where they can get in a full set as opposed to the 20-minute allottment that they are given on the Ozz-man's roadshow. Nile, along with fellow Ozzfest participants Daath & Chthonic, squeezed in a show at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY on August 19th, and Sea of Tranquility's Pete Pardo & Ken Sanford were in attendance.
Despite the fact that you had three intense bands on this bill, the attendance this night at The Chance was pretty scarce. About 150 people showed up, perhaps due to the fact that all three bands had just appeared at three area Ozzfest shows that same week, and they were scheduled to play at BB Kings just a few short days later. In addition, with so many tours going on this summer, attendance seems to be down across the board at many shows, as ticket prices continue to remain high and there's only so much the average metal fan can afford. Regardless, the small crowd at The Chance was ready and willing for the legendary death metal band Nile, hot on the heels of their excellent release Ithyphallic.
After some local acts, Taiwan's Chthonic hit the stage early due to a cancelling Into Eternity, and quite frankly blew the crowd away. Many seemed to be unfamiliar with their music, but were made instant fans of the band's aggressive, epic, symphonic black metal. Drawing songs from their releases Seediq Bale and Relentless Recurrence, the Taiwanese contingent brought out their corpse-paint, masks, costumes, blast beats, guitar riffs, keyboards, and Asian violin (called the erhu) for a dramatic and powerful set that recalled Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth. Lead singer Freddie has a commanding stage presence and powerful screams/growls, and is helped out on occasion by bassist Doris Thunder Tears, as the two offer up a varied vocal attack that adds to the drama factor that Chthonic provide. Erhu player Su-Nung basically stands motionless on the stage like a robot until time for him to blast forth with a ripping solo or passage (the instrument looks nothing like a violin but does sound like one), and Jesse (guitars), CJ (keyboards), and Dani (drums) all provided plenty of crunch, dexterity, and orchestrations. Based in this performance, we will be hearing plenty from this exciting black metal band in the near future.
New Roadrunner darlings Daath, who hail from Georgia, were up next and offered up some songs from their strong The Hinderers, which is a mix of death & black metal styles, as well as some modern thrash. These guys might not have been as over-the-top visually or musically as Chthonic, but they were no less impressive. Relying more on in-your-face riffs than atmosphere & drama, Daath have an almost metalcore attitude that sits behind their brand of blackened death metal. Both guitarists contributed plenty of the shred factor, and there was a nice touch of keyboards for the extra added flair. Add in some effective growling vocals, pummeling drums, and you have a hot set from another young band that seems to have a bright future ahead of them.
What more can you say about Nile that hasn't already been said? These guys have been cranking out one Egyptian laced technical death metal album after another, each one surpassing the last in terms of musical, lyrical, & production quality. Ithyphallic is their latest, and first for Roadrunner Records. While the band is currently out killing audiences on the Ozzfest tour (and along with Behemoth, the first two pure death metal bands ever on the famous tour), they took full advantage of this gig at The Chance to expand their set. A handful of tunes from the new album were played ("What Can Be Safely Written", "Eat of the Dead", and the furious title track being highlights), as well as classics like "Cast Down the Heretic", "Sacrifice unto Sebek", "Smashing the Antiu", and of course "Annihilation of the Wicked" and "Black Seeds of Vengeance". The churning, heavy, and technical riffs of Karl Sanders & Dallas Toler Wade are perhaps the best in the business, and there were no shortage of nimble, lightning leads as well from the both of them. Toler Wade now handles the majority of the lead vocals, with Sanders providing the deep, inhuman growls, providing an excellent 1-2 punch of growling vocals. Drummer George Kolias is quickly becoming one of the most popular drummers in extreme metal, and seeing him live you can experience for yourself the machine-like quality that this human octopus can put forth behind the kit.
Overall it was a punishing set from a band that comes as close to perfection in the world of technical death metal that you can possibly get. It's too bad that most metal fans decided to stay home that evening, as these bands put on a great show that will long be remembered by those who were in attendance.
What Can be Safely Written
Sacrifice unto Sebek
The Blessed Dead
Cast Down the Heretic
Eat of the Dead
Smashing the Antiu
The Essential Salts
The Infinity of Stone
Lashed to the Slave stick
Annihilation of the Wicked
Black Seeds of Vengeance