Venue: The Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Last night I attended the Pentagram show over at B.B. King Blues Club and I had to say that the dank and chilly night that we experienced here in NYC was almost the perfect setting for such a show. Tonight however we were dealing with truly unseasonable “warmth” for a January and one had to think that the blazing Death Metal that we would soon enjoy inside the Gramercy Theatre was the culprit behind this. The main event for the show would be Nile who were celebrating the release of their most recent epic “Those Whom The Gods Detest” and this heavier than titanium steel release is a must have for any fan of the band and those who support the Death Metal genre with zeal. They would be joined by New York’s own Immolation who always brings the party to full tilt along with Krisiun and Dreaming Dead. Starting the whole thing off would be unsigned local openers The Judas Syndrome and here is how it went.
Judas Syndrome: With only a few exceptions the local openers have been largely disappointing me at the shows I have been catching at the Gramercy Theatre and it’s either my own “failure to get” what they are bringing across or they are just terrible. Fortunately this evening would not find me checking the watch as The Judas Syndrome hit the stage. I had missed a couple of their tunes since I was just arriving and dealing with the reasonable line to get into the venue but I had to say that there was some appeal in the way that they blended Hardcore with traditional Thrash Metal. There is potential here but I am not too sure I like the bands use of “Judas” since in Metal everyone relates that instantly to The Priest. Clearly these cats are doing their thing in a far different fashion from the legends and we wish them well in their pursuits.
Dreaming Dead: I received the CD for this band about a year ago and I had to say that what I heard on it was super impressive. They are a female fronted Death Metal band but they kick this premise up a notch by having the lead vocalist also be an absolute shredder on the electric guitar. Introducing the beautiful Elizabeth Elliot who really showcases some chops as the leader of Dreaming Dead. The band’s album is called “Within One” and I am guessing that everything they played tonight was on this recording. It’s been awhile since I sat and enjoyed it so it felt like this material was a brand new thing for me and in a sense it was since it was my first time catching them live. Elizabeth is joined by Laura Christine (who is also in Warface) on second lead guitar and together these ladies are insane. They have really done some justice for the whole Women In Metal view and are a great inspiration to any ladies out there who feel that they want to pursue this line of work. They went over incredibly well for the second band up and its not often that we see this but of course how could it be anything less based on how well they were playing. There was blazing speed combined with technical chops and most important of all – melody. They did not lose an instance of song composition despite the duel shredding tactics that they were displaying to the now more crowded Gramercy Theatre and one has to hope that bigger and brighter things are in store for the band. While not trying to sound sexist, I have to say that these chicks kick ass. If you see their name on the bill please do yourself a favor and check them out. You shall regret it otherwise and you can trust me on this. Now for a little bit of Krisiun.
Krisiun: The band called their latest album “Southern Storm” and it’s a great title for such an unrelenting Metal force like Krisiun. Tonight they would hit the stage with the feeling of a crushing elemental force but this is usually the case when it comes to this band. The crowd loves them and responds to their orderly brand of chaos like sharks swimming in blood soaked waters. The venue was suitably packed now and lucky for Dreaming Dead, a number of the Krisiun supporters got into place to guarantee a good spot for the carnage and gave them some new fans in the end. The circle pit really began to pick up steam while Krisiun was playing and that makes sense since it is just so brutal and brings out all the primal urges in their fans. It was not for the weak to say the least. Having seen Krisiun a number of times over the years it is clear to me that they are one of the truest to form Extreme Metal bands on top of being one of the hardest working ones currently on the scene. You always know when Krisiun is performing because your bones rattle underneath your skin. Their set would be a short one tonight and I wondered if the absence of Abigail Williams was part of the reason since that band had dropped off the tour only days before. Either way they managed to get in a healthy dose of both new and old material and no one was arguing with what they did. Keep it up Krisiun, you are truly defenders of the Metal way and I feel sorry for anyone that crosses you. Next up would be Immolation.
Immolation: Let’s hear it for the home team as New York’s own immolation was back in action and celebrating their recent signing to Nuclear Blast Records. The band did release their previous album via Century Media but somehow this new association seemed just so perfect when you consider how bands like Suffocation, Decrepit Birth and of course the mighty Nile are now their label mates. The response that these guys got when they hit the stage was nothing short of overwhelming and it was clear to even the most casual observer that many people snared tickets to the show to be able to see Immolation as much as they did for Nile. Among the bands only legacy members is singer/bassist Ross Dolan who possesses a main of hair that should be viewed as a weapon of Metal intent. One day I would like to see him do something with Alex Krull of Atrocity and we can compare whose locks are the longest. He is joined by guitarist Bob Vigni who really has an interesting visual style as well as technique. The axe slinger assaults his weapon during the show and proves to be very “into” the material as well and this ends up transferring onto the fans that cannot take their eyes off him. Rounding out the four man lineup is guitarist Bill Taylor and drummer Steve Shalaty who showcase themselves as really capable Metal musicians. Ross spoke to the crowd a couple of times during their all too short set and said how this particular tour was ten years in the making and how they were incredibly happy to be doing a tour with a band like Nile. They also spoke about the gig in similar fashion with friends and fans that got to speak to them downstairs near the merchandise tables before the event took place and I have to say that they are two of the friendliest guys that this genre ever put out there. Don’t worry because that pleasant personal demeanor does not get in the way of the righteous technical brutality that they dish out with every tune. Their set tonight would focus on their older material but they would also tease the audience with their newest song called “The Purge” which they have posted on the bands official MySpace page. It comes from their soon to be released album “Majesty and Decay” and it is sure to please any of their legacy fans as well as impress all of the new ones that they might have made this evening. Good luck guys, we shall see you on your next go round and hopefully headlining gigs. Up next…………Nile.
Nile: I have not seen Nile doing their thing for a couple of years and I think that the last time I caught them in concert was when they did a one-off headlining show at B.B. King’s around the time of their appearance on the Free Ozzfest. That alone made catching another headlining appearance a very welcome thing and for those in the unaware, their 2009 release of “Those Whom The Gods Detest” has made a number of Metal reviewers top lists for the best stuff the genre gave us that year. Once you have heard it you will understand why because it is just so on point for their style. The upgraded the game musically on this one and are tighter and angrier than ever before. When the band came on the entire floor was in frenzy (and I had thought the Krisiun response was wild) but who could blame them. The music of Nile just helps to stir you up all the more and based on just how perfect their sound was tonight it was hard to resist joining into the fray. Fortunately I opted for safer vantage points but those were so limited while Nile was performing. “Kafari” started off the night and this comes from the new album “Those Whom The Gods Detest” and if the fans didn’t all have a copy yet it would not matter because they were on sale downstairs and the band was going to be playing other classics from “Annihilation Of The Wicked” and “Ithyphallic” as well. Towards the middle of the set we got the bands short epic “Papyrus Containing the Spell to Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who is in the Water” which always amused me in the sense that by the time you say its name the tune has completed based on its length. If you are still new to Nile for whatever reason you could not have picked a better time to join onto their forces and support the new release. The obviously continue the premise of Egyptian mythology, legend and history with their writing and as long as Karl Sanders is in charge this will likely remain the case. As a guitarist, Sanders was on fire tonight and showing just how fast his chops were. A skilled player, he quantifies his speed with an incredible technique and really is one of the best in the Death Metal genre. Drumming was the mega-enforcer of George Kollias who I am now officially convinced is not human. There is no way that someone can play the way he does. Perhaps he is a super enhanced experimented upon human being of some kind. I could be wrong, but this is what happens to your viewpoint when you watch “X-Files” reruns and “Fringe”.
Leading the charge for Nile as usual was Dallas Toler Wade who now sports a shaved head and this made him seem even more menacing. He growled commands to the audience who very simply followed them all without question. I was happy to see the bands pull in the kind of crowd that they did this evening because they all performed commendably and deserve it for their efforts in Metal. It was a shame to find injury taking Abigail Williams off the bill, but in some sense this was a good thing for Dreaming Dead since they played later as a result and made some fans. They need them and I am sure will continue to impress. Tonight’s show would lead New York City into the return of Arch Enemy who was appearing with Exodus, Arsis and a new band called Mutiny Within. Generally I don’t like Mondays, but tonight was an exception to the rule. Fans that attended this show would surely not forget it in awhile and that is an amazing thing.
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
Downstairs after the Dreaming Dead folks finished their set, I caught them at their merchandise table and we were fortunate to be able to snare this rather pleasant shot of three out of the four players.
The obligatory shot with that which they were selling or hoping to sell and keep this enterprise going strong comes next.
This next one is just funny and I have no idea what prompted it but who cares at this point. My guess is that they were attempting to do upside down crosses. Metal musicians are so crazy 🙂