Aeons have passed since death metal egyptoplogists Nile rocked Glasgow. This rare show is absolutely heaving with metalheads, unsurprisingly. This is the first time founder Karl Sanders has brought this newer line up to the city so they may have to work harder to show they’re as domineering as before.
Another rarity on this line up is Floridian death metal troupe, Hate Eternal. Last year, guitarist Derek Rutan employed the outstanding drummer Hannes Grossman of Necrophagist and Blotted Science fame into his line-up. Hate Eternal’s death metal is frenetic, busy and with the intriguing stand out guitar work, but not technical like Nile. The Cathouse is rammed for their performance and it’s nearly impossible to get a good view. Rutan was once in death metal veterans Morbid Angel and played on the opinion-polarising ‘Domination’. With Hate Eternal, he draws influence from this release but affixes modernising touches and amps up the fury.
They commence with one of their strongest compositions, ‘Bringer of Storms’, a truly dominating track that stamps a crater into the ground. This is followed by another fan favourite, ‘Behold Judas’, with Grossman sounding like he has access to machine guns. Despite the impressive start, as the set stretches on, the audience’s attention visibly thins. Hate Eternal simply do not have enough variation in their career to stand out. A tasty passage will be sandwich between mediocrity that encourages the listener to zone out, despite its ferociousness. This is confounded by a lack of any defining stage presence – they’re just not interesting to watch. Last year’s full-length ‘Upon Desolate Sands’ has ‘All Hope Destroyed, ‘Nothingness of Being’ and the title track to represent it but given the volume of interesting and ground-breaking new death metal coming out, it feels lacklustre and unconvincing. Concert staples ‘I, Monarch’ and ‘King of All Kings’ close the show but this one-two punch isn’t enough to resuscitate the performance.
Death metal deities Nile open their set with one of their most popular death metal shots, ‘Sacrifice Unto Sebek’. This snaps its jaws around the sweet spot and summons a mosh pit maelstrom. This rhythmic beast packs the perfect equilibrium between brutality and technicality in a modest length of time. This incarnation of Nile is a couple years old but fresher band members bassist Brad Parris and guitarist Brian Kingsland certainly have the chops and enthusiasm to fit Karl Sanders’ master plan . The Cathouse confers laudable sound for these death metallers through the night too.
The set blows the sand off almost all of Nile’s albums, showcasing an exciting retrospective on how these death metal legends consolidated their sound over the decades. The selections are some of Nile’s most beloved and distinct, including ‘The Blessed Dead’, ‘Kaffir!’ and ‘Sarcophagus’. In November, the quartet will release their ninth studio album, ‘Vile Nilotic Rites’. Tonight they unearth three of these songs, ‘Long Shadows of Dread’, ‘Snakepit Mating Frenzy’ and the title track. The songs are par for the course, featuring flurry of dizzying solos, breakneck guitar interspersed with bone-crushing slower passages. Drummer George Kollias is inhuman behind his kit slicing time signatures and beatings with his idiosyncratic poundings. The stage may be compact and besieged with crowd surfers but the band possesses an austere presence with fingers dance along fretboards with lightning speed.
For some reason, the crowd only hears the second half of the great ‘4th Arra of Dagon’ but chant along to its catchy lyrics with gusto. This is proceeded by the outstanding ‘Black Seeds of Vengeance’ that entombs the venue into oblivion. The headliners leave the stage and the lack of the usual inclusions ‘Lashed to the Slavestick’ and ‘Cast Down the Heretic’ suggest there will be an encore. Unfortunately, the house lights illuminate the room and the disappointed punters shuffle towards the exit. The show is over bizarrely early but Nile engraved a blistering performance behind, one that certainly has Glasgow beckoning them to return more often.
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