GIG REVIEW: Beyond Creation, Rivers of Nihil & The Zenith Passage Live at DNA Lounge, San Francisco
7 PM, it was pretty sunny and warm. I could see the venue at a distance with humans lined up clad in black. DNA lounge, the venue has been a home of great memories for me, its here that I have witnessed bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse, Carach Angren, Tesseract, The Contortionist along with Skyharbor on their North American tour. Today I was here to witness a band that I had dreamt of experiencing live someday. The band is none but Beyond Creation. To begin with, this time it was not the normal area where the past gigs were held. This was the first floor and the whole area was comparatively much smaller. Maybe, the main area was gearing up for the Ne Obliviscaris gig the next day. A decent crowd had arrived, merch stalls were up and drums were being setup for the first band to play for the evening.
The Kennedy Veil, a brutal death metal band from Sacramento, CA were all set for the lessons on death metal to be delivered. Honestly, I was not much aware of the band. They were to play just the San Francisco leg of the tour, and believe me, few moments of their music and I was completely blown away. The band put on a powerful show of a hard-hitting brand of death metal with definite technical elements. They are around since 2009 and have two albums under their belt. They have played gigs alongside legendary acts such as Cephalic Carnage, Exhumed, Cattle Decapitation, Origin, Decrepit Birth to name a few. If you like your death metal to be the brutal American way, you have got to check them out.
Next up was The Zenith Passage, a progressive/technical death metal from Los Angeles / Bay Area, CA. Of late, I have been following the bay area metal scene, and this is the one name I see which keeps appearing on various gig posters. I had to attend their show for sure, and they surely do not disappoint. Bands like Obscura, The Faceless, influence their death metal. The songs were crafted technical masterpieces of amazing riffing, intricate drumming yet melodic. When a supergroup is comprised of former members of Fallujah, All Shall Perish and The Faceless, you know what to expect. The moshpit had turned even more brutal, the head banging even more crazier. What a stellar performance. Check out their recent release, ‘The Solipsist’, a must listen for Tech-death enthusiasts out there.
At this point there were around a 150 metalheads were jammed up on the mosh floor and a lack of oxygen was evident, but who cares. It was time for the legendary act Rivers of Nihil all the way from Reading, PA to take stage. The Band needs no introductions. They are a mind numbing force of modern death metal with a vivid darkness in the sound. Absolutely intense live, the set saw some of the most brutal circle pits of the night. The set was comprised of songs from their recent album ‘Monarchy’ and also their older stuff from ‘The conscious speed of light’. Neck was sore by now. I just wonder what hell was unleashed when Psycroptic was on the same lineup for a few dates last month.
And it was on, Beyond Creation was on stage, all the way from Montreal, Canada. Fog generators had been initiated, and I stood in the second row literally suffocating on the smoke, patiently waiting for the massacre to unleash. The first thing to strike you will be the headstock-less guitars and bass they use. Weird stuff. They blasted off with “Omnipresent perception” and within seconds, the crowd went nuts. Simon was an absolute beast on Vocals and guitars. Pure riffing genius by Kevin as well, Hugo’s bass guitars skills were simply superb. His bass solos were so well crafted and bonded well with the intricate technical drumming awesomeness by Philippe. They belted out other classics such as “Earthborn evolution”, “Theatrical Delirium”, “Coexistence”. Circle pits kept growing larger.The last song of the night was Fundamental process. Honestly I was too engrossed in head banging to actually notice what else wasgoing on in the world. Based on the crowd chants of ‘one more, one more’ they played an encore as well.
Post gig scenes: Beyond creation was hanging around at the merch booth, I even got to have a small chat with them. Simon asked me “Hey man, when are we getting to play in India? I heard there was a huge festival recently.” Of course I did not have a reply to that, however I pretty much conveyed the message that a lot are waiting, and it needs to happen. And whenever it happens, I will be there.
Technical death metal is not for everyone, and it need not be. It’s a very modern approach to metal and hardly gets appreciated by the conventional metalhead. However, when you have a lineup comprising of Beyond Creation, Rivers on Nihil and The Zenith Passage, it is enough to put to shame, some of the most other extreme tours out there. This surely will go down as one of the most brutal tours North America has ever witnessed.