Lineup changes, signing to Napalm Records, taking Sanguisugabogg on tour, and combining forces with the almighty Incantation were just a few reasons I had to check out Nile‘s Los Angeles show at 1720. Nile is one of my favorite death metal bands, not just because they’re brutal, crushing and technically awesome, but with their use of Egyptian imagery, I’m able to bite into a more cohesive, fuller vision that harnesses a whole world of brutality beyond death metal–history and mythos.
A guy dressed as King Tut, touting an Egyptian staff romped around the pit during each band, cursing the mosh pit to higher levels of violence it would’ve never reached otherwise. This made my first viewing of Sanguisugabogg all the more intriguing. What I appreciated most about this band, currently stirring up a bunch of hype in underground circles, was how dirty their sound was. I was just reminiscing the other day on how Chris Barnes era Cannibal Corpse created the superior death metal sound as every instrument added to a more rotten, decayed atmosphere. Sanguisugabogg doesn’t sound rotting as much as they sound filthy and gritty, but that’ll still do to takes me places.
A bill that hosts two death metal heavyweights like Incantation and Nile is a must for any true metalhead. Incantation’s brutal, old school approach made for slow-churning chaos that really captured the essence of what death metal should be. Death metal should make you uncomfortable and jostle your sensibilities somewhat. The sound ought to be a little ugly. Incantation’s death metal captures this but also has an evil and violent quality within in their music, like walking through a war-torn landscape full of fetid corpses.
Nile brought everything that makes them a must-see death metal band for the last three decades. Karl Sanders’ vocals, guitar work and epic sensibility were on full display. Certain songs transcended the death metal sound and felt as if you were listening to angry Egyptian Gods that woke up from a deep sleep to destroy the modern world. Nile is a band where every member makes an integral contribution to every song. For this tour, the band brought Scott Eames in while Brian Kingsland sat out to be with his newborn, and Eames killed it along with the rest of Nile’s executioner’s row of shredders.
This wasn’t just a regular death metal show, I came away from it feeling the music more profoundly than I would have after any other band’s set. Knowing the power and meaning behind the music and the mysticism surrounding every lyric and riff, I felt as if I was in the presence of something hallowed and to be feared. Karl Sanders’s fingers have the power to summon great evil and on this night, he used that power for the good of giving Los Angeles one hell of a show.
Words by: Rob Shepyer
Photos by: Dillon Vaughn