Since I had missed the performances by Nile and Chthonic during the previous week's Ozzfest, I was happy to find the pair doing a show at B.B. King Blues Club on one of the festival "off" nights. This show would allow both of the bands to deliver a full set of material as opposed to the twenty minutes that they were allotted during the festival and this would truly be the better way to absorb their brand of Metal. Joining them for the show would be Skinless and while Daath was originally scheduled, that band had been moved to the Highline Ballroom to appear with their Roadrunner Records label mates Devil Driver who were also doing an "off-festival" gig..
Read on for Ken Pierce's full show review!
Skinless: I was walking in as Skinless was midway into their very short set but I was glad to hear what they were all about. While brutally heavy and fast with some clear technical chops, I found myself applauding and smiling as they requested the audience take part in a "zombie mosh". The crowd was encouraged to move as slow as possible and it was indeed amusing to witness. My hope is to catch them more the next time because they seem like a really interesting band.
Chthonic: The Taiwanese Melodic Black Metal band have been generating quite a bit of attention over here in the states very recently and their inclusion on the Ozzfest roster was surely going to get them a larger audience in a region where they had never traveled before. Sadly, for the festival they would only play for twenty minutes and after seeing photos of them in action I was certain that it took longer for them to get prepared than they actually played at these shows. Now was my chance to see what the fuss was all about as I had missed them during the Ozzfest. They really hit the stage with great levels of energy and from the musical standpoint are very closely tied to that of Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth yet they add in a distinct Asian flair by having one of their members playing an Erhu (a traditional Chinese two-string violin) and this makes a whole world of difference in their sound. Leader and singer Freddy Lim is very vocal in the efforts for Taiwanese Independence and his actions in this area have causes the band to be very volatile in certain parts of China. His makeup is borderline maniacal and when he stares down from the stage you can sometimes feel a chill of fear hit your spine. On guitar they have Jesse the Infernal who shreds with abandon while leering evilly at the crowd around him. CJ "Dispersed Fingers" handles the keyboards and does a fair amount of head banging from behind the instrument making him more difficult to see at times. Their drummer Dani almost seems expressionless but that's because sports a spiked mouth-cover which I am not certain even allows him to breathe properly and he pummels his drum kit. Su-Nung plays the erhu for the band and he is interesting to observer for when he is not playing anything in the song he stands motionless like some ancient Metal statue that quickly comes to life at the proper musical progression.
I give Chthonic and incredible amount of credit for making this type of instrument not only work in the context of heavy music, but the fact that it also sounds incredible and brings the genre into a new realm. I would be remiss if I failed to mention the young lady who stands usually right next to Su-Nung, and that is bassist Doris Yeh, or Doris Thunder Tears to those who know her best. She not only thunders on her bass but also provides the necessary backing vocals to the bands tunes. At times she does a dreamy and ghostly tone and during others will scream in fever pitch. I found myself impressed at this show and according to my sources this was also the very first time that they had played in New York City. The shows that Chthonic are doing are considered their "UNlimited Taiwan" gigs and this is based on a new song that bears that same name. Perhaps you catch the gist of it "UN-Limited, meaning United Nations Limited which is the current state of Taiwan's affairs in the eyes of many of this nations own. Outside of the body politic if that is not your sort of thing I have to tell you that Chthonic definitely are a hot Metal band that has some great songs. Give them a try because they are set to appear as opener for a number of shows that will be hitting the area before they go back home. They have several albums out as they have been together for about ten years now. I was annoyed that I could not find out the set list played, so I guess I just have to listen to it all now.
Nile: While the audience seemed to love what Chthonic had done for that just under an hour set you could now physically feel the energy shift over as they prepared for Nile to hit the stage. It would be my third time seeing the band and even though they were also on the Ozzfest that just happened, I would miss them as well and hence my making sure to be at this particular show. The thing I love most about a band like Nile is their overall intensity and seemingly superhuman prowess on their instruments for they are clearly one of the most extreme out of all the Technical Death Metal bands on the scene today. Thematically I must say that I am impressed with them as well because I've always found myself fascinated by Egyptian mythology and culture so it was great to find a band that was able to incorporate that kind of detail into Metal music. It surely set the bar higher as to what can be done in a genre as heavy as this. Of course they go deeper into the whole aspect a lot more than I do with my love of mummy's and pyramids. Karl Sanders, the guitarist, is the primary driving force in the composition realm of the band and it was his love of this mythos that made him write songs about it. Their latest release is called "Ithyphallic" and it is the first for the group on their new label Nuclear Blast Records. The bands fifth album shows them as not resting on their laurels but instead continuing to impress those who flock to their shows, and you can believe that they come from all areas as one fan in the audience told me she was from New Zealand and heading home only days after this show. The venue was not over-crowded tonight but that didn't seem to matter to the band or the audience who was crowd surfing, moshing, and literally thrashing about with abandon no matter where you focused your attention. As you might expect the set list tonight would focus on the new album but also find sufficient time to hit some of their older music and that's always great for the audience. Luckily, there was a good amount from "Annihilation Of The Wicked" as well, since that release is just so good. I found that there is little respite during a Nile performance and I think that it's not only the guttural growling of singer Dallas Toler Wade that gets you but also with their drummer George Kollias, who is nothing less than a machine gun with legs. His technical prowess on the kit was astonishing and it wasn't since the Behemoth/Krisiun show that I felt my fillings moving and my heart racing closer to the surface of my chest as much as I was feeling tonight. "Wow" would be an understatement of what he does on the drums without question. It's this level of technical expertise that separates Nile from any run of the mill Death Metal band and shows why they rule various aspects of the genre and continue to mold how this is done to all the up and comers. At the time of this show I had only given the new album a couple of listens and while I enjoyed it very much I had to say that seeing it performed in the live sense really brings it to a larger life. It is my hope that they return soon and also bring with them openers who are just as interesting as the ones who joined them tonight.
Nile Set List
1. What Can Safely Be Written
2. Sacrifice Unto Sebek
3. Blessed Dead
4. Cast Down The Heretic
6. Eat Of The Dead
7. Smashing The Antiu
10. Essential Salts
11. Lashed To The Slave Stick
12. Annihilation Of The Wicked
13. Black Seeds
Official Web site: http://www.nile-catacombs.net
Official Web site: www.chthonic.org
Official Web site: www.4skinless.com