Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nile at the Gramercy Theatre

Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade
Guitarist/vocalist Karl Sanders launched a thrash metal band named Morriah in 1983. Morriah recorded a demo and opened for several touring metal bands. The band fired the lead vocalist in 1993 and the remaining musicians formed Nile, a technical death metal band based out of Greenville, South Carolina. The new band's music and lyrics were inspired by ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern mythology, mysticism, history, religion, and ancient art, as well as H.P. Lovecraft's horror novels. After frequent line-up upheavals, the present Nile consists of Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade on vocals and guitars, Brad Parris on vocals and bass, and George Kollias on drums. Nile's eighth and most recent album, What Should Not Be Unearthed, was released on August 28, 2015.

Nile appeared onstage at the Gramercy Theatre tonight as a pre-recorded "Ushabti Reanimator" played through the speakers, introducing a symphonic sound that would have suited a film about ancient Egypt. Once the band positioned itself, however, it ripped into speedy, crunching, growling metal. With Kollias playing double bass drums, a hair-spinning Parris hitting the bass strings both on down and up strokes, and two guitarists alternating hyper-driven licks, NIle's approach was strictly brutal and merciless. Complex cadences varied within songs, such that identifying a melody was often challenging, and the musical assault often was too fast and furious for a human brain to follow. Hard-to-decipher growls and howls seemed to call out to ancient deities. To enhance the Egyptian motif, pre-recorded Middle Eastern styled singing and gongs played between and during some of the songs, as well as pieces of cinematic, symphonic works. This was extreme metal with an ancient twist.

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