Tucked away in the heart of Coventry’s city centre stands the HMV Empire, a nifty multi-purpose venue which has an eclectic calendar of events, but tonight it’s been taken over by four heavy bands from four different parts of the world who threaten to shake the venue to its very core.
Originally formed in 2005 as a thrash orientated band, things started moving for London’s Decrepid when they regrouped after a hiatus and adopted the death metal sound. Their old school take on the genre smokes like a fresh kill, and those who’ve arrived early are treated to a blistering performance and, this being their final night of the tour, Decrepid bow out in style and have made more than a few friends tonight.
On an evening of brutally heavy death metal, Argentina’s In Element have a genre-defying sound that adds a touch of variety to the bill. Hidden behind balaclavas and gimp masks and dressed in the height of S&M fashion, In Element aren’t the type of guys you’d like to meet in a dark alley, but I’m more than happy to encounter them in the confines of the Empire. The band’s strong visual presence ensures they won’t be forgotten in a hurry, and while lesser bands would use an image to mask musical deficiencies, this Italian quartet have an equally arresting sound, and if you need proof then just listen to their latest release Victory Or Defeat. In Element have made a big impression on all those present, and I, for one, shall be exploring their discography.
As regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of three-piece bands; the reduced numbers distil a band’s sound right down to its essence and brings every instrument to the fore. That’s exactly what you get with Krisiun, three brothers from Rio Grande do Sol, Brazil who put the “power” into power trio. There’s a nice raw edge to their music, it’s one that suggests a hardcore punk influence (Discharge, Broken Bones) which means opening shot ‘Kings Of Killing’ grabs the crowd by the lapels and gives them a good shake. It’s a ground-quaking sound which suggests Krisiun are going to do for death metal what Motörhead did for rock n’ roll. As you’d expect from a band now into their third decade, Krisiun waste not a single second and proceed to deliver a crowd pleasing set that touches all points across a long and illustrious career.
Heavy metal bands have had a fascination with ancient Egypt stretching back to Dio’s Last In Line and Maiden’s Powerslave but American death metal maestros Nile have taken things to a whole new level. Egyptologists all, they’ve been mining a rich seam of folklore, and, like metal archaeologists, they’ve excavated some jewel encrusted treasures. The band’s technical brand of death metal is the perfect genre in which to frame these songs, but first we must wait as an unbearably long introduction ramps the tension up to almost unbearable levels. This means that when opening salvo ‘Sacrifice Unto Sebek’ hits the crowd, it hits hard. Wrapped in a dizzying array of chords with which to disorientate the listener (much like getting lost in a sandstorm) it serves to throw a spellbinding curse over the audience, and it holds them in thrall for the next 60-minutes.
While each band has brought a special something to the stage, it’s obvious that Nile are a major step up in class and, bathed in a demonic green light, Nile are a well-oiled machine and worthy headliners. With a discography stretching back over three decades, someone is always going to be disappointed with the set list selection, but Nile a good job of touching all bases with ‘Kafir!’ and ‘Vile Nilotic Rites’ going down particularly well. Attesting to the band’s sense of purpose, there’s no time for encores, Nile launch ‘Black Seeds Of Vengeance’ as a parting shot, and it finds them departing as they arrived; in a blizzard of chords and pounding drums. The only way to go.
Nile Set List:
- Sacrifice Unto Sebek
- Defiling The Gates Of Ishtar
- Call To Destruction
- Long Shadows Of Dread
- In The Name Of Amun
- Lashed To The Slave Stick
- The Howling Jinn
- Vile Nilotic Rites
- Black Seeds Of Vengeance