Sunday, May 27, 2007

Friday Night Death Metal Egyptology Lesson

Live at Manning Bar, Sydney, 25th June

As I mentioned the other day I'm not a huge fan of Nile but I had so much fun at Suffocation earlier this year I figured it was worth taking a punt on another brutal death metal gig.

Nile are certainly more popular than Suffocation, and there was a pretty large crowd in attendance, a large contingent of whom were there to see the support band, Polish death metallers Decapitated. I missed the first opening band (who's name I didn't even catch) but caught Decapitated's set. They ran into a bit of trouble right from the start, with the vocalist striding on stage, bellowing his head off and getting the crowd ready for a frenzy. “Are you ready Sydney!” he growled in his best death metal voice, “We are Decapitated, lets fucking go!”, and the band launched into their first song, only to find that the guitar wasn't plugged in. The band slunk off stage to mocking laughter from the crowd.


However once they got it all sorted out they played a pretty good set. I'd never heard these guys before but I found most of the tracks they played pretty agreeable, they had plenty of catchy riffs and a talent for a nice brutal groove. Manning Bar has an amphitheatre kind of setup, with a couple of raised levels surrounding the area in front of the stage. It was pretty cool looking around and seeing the big moshpit in front of the stage going nuts while a semi circle of black clad metallers looked down on them Colosseum style, all of us windmilling our long hair in perfect unison. For a change it actually felt good to be metal.

Shortly thereafter Nile took the stage and played a set based mostly on material from Annihilation of the Wicked. For those keeping score they played 'Cast Down the Heretic', 'Sacrifice to Sebek', 'Lashed to the Slave Stick' and 'Annihilation of the Wicked'. They also played two or three tracks from their new album, Ithyphallic, due to be released next month sometime. And of course there were scattered fan favourites from older albums that I was unfamiliar with throughout. I liked the new material, there seemed to be a bit more fast/slow dynamism and the riffs seemed slightly more worthy of being what I would call 'technical death metal'

Nile. Manning Bar has particularly shitty lighting, so my photos are even worse than usual.

But to be frank, these guys were not as good as Suffocation. It was a decent gig, but they just lacked the energy and theatre of the Suffo gig. On the other hand, while I am usually dismissive of bands who confuse speed and complexity with musicianship, it was a real treat to see these guys playing some of the most physically demanding music I've ever seen. The look of concentration on George Kollias' (drums) face during 'Sacrifice to Sebek' was actually quite inspiring.

More drums than you can shake a stick at. So to speak.

Best Song: 'Annihilation of the Wicked'. The perfect death metal riff that opens the song that I mentioned in my review of the album went off like a monster.
Best Stage Banter: “You call that a growl? Those motherfuckers in New Zealand were louder than that and there were only half as many of them!”

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