GIG REVIEW: NILE Live at The Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO
Kicking off what promises to be a great 2016 for metal, US technical death metal band Nile hit the road for a 31-date tour in early January. Nile has been consistently pushing the boundaries of death metal with intelligent, historically-based lyrics and epic arrangements that bring in fans from all around the metal genre. Celebrating the fantastic 2015 release ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed‘, founding member Karl Sanders promised to play fan favorites old and new, and emphasized local metal acts to open the show at each stop. I was lucky enough to catch the tour on January 27th at The Bluebird Theater in Denver, CO, with support from local metal bands Flood of Souls and Vale of Pnath.
Denver is definitely no stranger to death metal bands; our local scene is saturated with talented musicians that always support each other, from small bars to the larger stages. With such an active death metal scene, Flood of Souls was an interesting addition to the lineup. FoS is always entertaining to see, with their charismatic frontman and groovy guitar riffs, but such a radio-friendly southern(ish) metal band stuck out on the technical death metal lineup. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but considering their next tour support slot is with Drowning Pool, they perhaps were not the best choice (with all of the death metal bands Denver has to offer). Still, they played strong, and the crowd enjoyed their set.
Up next were young local favorites Vale of Pnath, an extreme technical death metal band that destroys every stage they touch. These guys utilize great atmospheric backing tracks, and thus delivered a straightforward and brutal set; truly the perfect way to prepare for Nile. Here’s some daily trivia for you to impress your friends with: the Vale of Pnath, from the mind of H.P. Lovecraft, is a vast, mountain-sized pit of bones in the underworld. Nile references H.P. Lovecraft as well, in “Beneath Eternal Oceans of Sand” on their debut album.
By now, the Bluebird was pretty full, and Nile hit the stage with a vengeance, opening up with “Sacrifice Unto Sebek” and “Cast Down the Heretic” from my personal favorite album, 2005’s ‘Annihilation of the Wicked‘. Veterans Karl Sanders (guitar, vocals), Dallas Toler-Wade (guitar, vocals), and George Kollias (drums) were joined by a young new addition to the band, Brad Parris on bass. The energy, excitement, and sheer joy these guys exhibited was contagious, and the Denver crowd loved it. Probably the most exciting moments for me though, were the new tracks from 2015’s ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’: “Call to Destruction”, “Evil to Cast Out Evil”, and “In the Name of Amun”. If I remember correctly (forgive me, I had a few beers), every Nile full-length was represented in this setlist, but seeing “The Inevitable Degradation of Flesh” from 2012’s ‘At the Gate of Sethu’ live made me appreciate that album a little bit more, since that album wasn’t really for me.
I had to miss three of the past Nile tours that came near me because I fell sick each time. Thus, I was so glad that I could catch this tour, especially after the fantastic release of theirs in 2015 that was a total blast to hear live. These guys have remaining dates throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas, until they close this tour in their hometown, Greensville, SC, which hasn’t seen Nile live in ten years. If they come near you, do not miss this tour! Support Nile, and support the local acts opening for them. Keep your local metal scene alive, or soon, you may not have one!