When you go to see a big-name band, it’s easy to get caught up in the important atmosphere around the whole thing. The big bus outside, the impressive merch selection, the potentially pricey cover-all of these tell your brain that this show is A Big Deal. Contrast that with local shows-usually smaller venues, familiar faces, friends and band members hanging around. Local gigs tend to have a more relaxed, friendly atmosphere that larger, touring bands don’t (or can’t) capture. But Nile’s show March 28th felt like the local metalheads threw a party, and the South Carolina death metal kings were the guests of honor.
It helps that half the bands on the bill were local, and they played their hearts out. I walked in just as local brutal death peddlers Gornography were starting their set, and they kicked things off with a bang. Frontman Steven Babcock effectively led the band through a half-hour of blasting, smashing and crashing, warming the crowd up with songs like “Vomitous Vaginal Anal” and “Homicidal Maniac”. If you like the stuff Jon writes good things about on this site, you ought to look them up.
The crowd was familiar with (and receptive to) Gornography’s brand of brutal, and the band made shoutouts to friends and fans between songs. It was part of what gave the show such a great vibe-it felt like a celebration for the local metal crowd. The venue was relatively sparsely populated, given its size, and everyone looked ready to get their fill of ugly, disgusting death metal. A good chunk of the audience was wearing shirts representing homestate heroes Origin. Recognizable figures abounded-special notice goes to the dude with one leg and crutches who wasn’t afraid to mix it up in the pit. It felt as warm and cozy as an extreme metal gig can get.
Fellow locals Marasmus were next to take the stage. If Gornography weren’t afraid to mix some goregrind into their sound, Marasmus were ready to put a splash of tech-death and slams into theirs. Sweeps, hyper-fast double kick and gutteral growls abounded during their set; “Shut the Fuck Up and Die” was a notable highlight. Following them were Italians Hour of Penance. They continued the death metal intensity, but about three songs in I realized that they sound like Behemoth. Like, a lot like Behemoth. If you’re a huge Behemoth fan and you’re looking for a fix, they can certainly fit the bill, just know what you’re getting.
Nile was here on an off-date of their current tour opening for the Black Dahlia Murder, and they seemed legitimately appreciative of having an intimate show of death metal die-hards waiting to greet them. The band themselves were having a blast entertaining the fans with a collection of songs spanning their six-album career, including “Hittite Dung Incantation” and “Lashed to the Slave Stick”. It helped that they had maybe the best sound I’ve ever heard at the venue-usually drums are the only thing you get a good earful of at that place, but Dallas Toler-Wade’s guitar came through clear as day. The band also debuted new track “Supreme Humanism of Megalomania” from their upcoming album At the Gates of Sethu to much appreciation from the audience. Combine this with the band cracking jokes and grinning like maniacs the whole set, and it’s easy to see why Nile’s enthusiasm was so infectious.
All in all, this gig was more pure, unadulterated fun than any other show I’ve attended in recent memory. No lame bands to sit through, no weird genre-bending, no assholes. Get up to the front and headbang till you can’t feel your neck, or get in the pit and never leave, or drink your liver to death. It’s all good when Nile’s in town, and you’ll be in good company.
Bands: Nile, Hour of Penance, Marasmus, Gornography
Date: March 28, 2012