An evening of death metal once again sets down on London, this time tech death Egyptologists Nile have returned to the capital on the first date of the UK run of this tour. Since they missed the UK on last year's European trek in support for latest album 'At the Gates of Sethu', there are plenty who are eager to catch them live again.
France's Svart Crown may not be an obvious support due to their death metal being heavily crossed with black metal but they certainly fit the bill. Formed in 2005 and with three full-length releases to their name, the quartet proceed to pummel the audience with Behemoth-esque relentlessness coupled with the slower, sinister and almost clinical melodies that are present in modern black metal acts. Material from this year's 'Profane' release is aired out and goes down a storm, including 'In Utero: A Place of Hatred and Threat' and the title track. Although the venue is well attended yet not packed, those watching Svart Crown are sure to give them a solid reaction.
Next up is Roman fans Ex Deo, essentially death metal successes Kataklysm with two guitars and another bassist. Making their live UK debut at this year's Bloodstock Open Air festival, Ex Deo play melodic death metal centred on Ancient Rome. Clad in Roman armour and with a Roman banner at either side of the stage, the Canadians look the part and are ready for war. With an intense stage presence and melodic death metal in the vein of Amon Amarth, Ex Deo quickly win over the audience's approval. Unfortunately, the guitar sound is a little too low in the mix and the keyboards, which are so important on their record output, are conspicuously absent in the live environment.
Nonetheless, it is difficult to avoid headbanging to such muscular anthems as 'Romulus' and 'I, Caligvla'. The band appear proud to be on stage and in spite of the sound issues, they give a solid performance that the audience can get behind. Given the theatrical aspect of Ex Deo, their strength lies in the live performance and many unfamiliar with them tonight are undoubtedly converts.
Finally, headliners Nile take the stage opening with the crushing 'Sacrifice Unto Sebek', from the 'Annihilation of the Wicked' album, its catchy guitar work summoning fists to pound the air in unison. The technical prowess of these Americans can never be understated as fingers manically dance all over fretboards and drumming is intricate yet remains visceral. Three growling vocalists, each with a noticeably different style, add further dimensions to the bludgeoning death metal. Like Ex Deo, Nile suffer with the guitars not being loud enough which does remove an element of their brutality.
Nile are no strangers to these shores yet the crowd are by no means bored of them at all. Mosh pits erupt and raise the temperatures of the venue to those of an Egyptian summer. The setlist is a decent mixture of old crowd pleasers and newer offerings. The lengthy 'Unas, Slayer of the God' and the foreboding 'Sarcophagus' always force smiles on faces whereas lesser aired songs include 'Smashing the Antiu' and 'The Howlng of the Jinn', less technical but notably heavier. The tracks from last year's 'At the Gates of Sethu' typically do not secure the audience excitement as the aforementioned songs do but tracks including 'Enduring the Eternal Molestation of Flame' and 'The Inevitable Degredation of Flesh' are appreciated by many. Older but still new-ish 'Kafir' receives a contrastingly envious reaction.
The levels of excitement are particularly high and when closing song 'Black Seeds of Vengeance' is consumed, the night is over without an encore (probably due to the Garage's weekday curfew). This seems to surprise fans but sadly, Nile are over. However, fans highly praise the show as for usual and the gods of technical brutal death metal will return before too long.