May 19, 2014 Nile’s At The Gate Of Sethu Tour Part III Annihilates NYC 4-20-14
On a very cold Easter Sunday night April 20th, die-hard death metal fans gathered in Hell’s Kitchen at Stage 48 to worship Ra and ingest the knowledge of Thoth. The scourge of Nile was upon the island of Manhattan on the third date of the At The Gate Of Sethu Tour Part III. Self-described as “Ithyphallic Metal”, Nile is one of the most respected acts in modern American metal. Just as they stand alone on a bloody altar forged from their own device, they are touring the North American continent without national supporting bands. On their trip, they are playing with local and mostly unsigned independent bands from all genres of heavy metal. Entering the temple with them in direct support, for the second time around, was NYC’s melodic death warriors Winter Nights, along with blackened death metalers Imperial Crypt, and the self-proclaimed “hillbilly metal” band Sunlord. The foundation had been laid for a solid and dynamic show comprised of uniquely different and powerful bands.
The first of four plagues to smite Stage 48 was NYC’s own Sunlord. Sunlord was born in 2004 and has made a name for themselves traveling the country as a Slayer/Pantera tribute band. Their current line-up has been playing together since 2009 and has shared the stage with Soulfly, Metal Church, Dio Disciples, and Raven as they rise in the metal rankings. Led by Argentinean Alfonso Ferrazza (vocals-guitar), Sunlord is rounded out by Bobby Schulam (bass), and Jeff Almeyda (drums).
Storming the stage, playing “Miserable Gods”; the set was heavy, upbeat, and from an audiological standpoint, a boundary smasher. A unique hybrid of rock and metal, this trio showcased new material, playing all songs from their yet-to-be released follow up to The First One (2005). Unfortunately, NYC’s metal militia had not shown up in full force yet; looking around at the dozen or so couches in the venue all filled with people sitting down behind an empty floor, Ferrazza stated “I feel like I’m in someone’s living room”. About half way through the set during “Like A Champion”, the crowed was prompted to gather in front of the stage to get a closer look at the rock infused screaming solo work of Ferrazza. Their positive Motorhead mixed with Hank Williams-like energy gave metal fans exactly what they needed to kick start the show.
Darkness shrouded the venue as Imperial Crypt took the stage with the fury and passion of a Sith Lord. Led by Max Edelmann (vocals/rhythm guitar), Chris Danato (lead guitar) AJ Sciandra (drums), and newest member BJ Persampieri (bass); they are a dark force to be reckoned with. Since releasing their first EP Demise of the Seventh Realm (2012), they have clawed out of the underground scene and into the light, shredding with the likes of Alestorm, Vital Remains, Marduk, Kataklysm, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Suffocation, Moonspell, and Inquisition. Edelmann states “The name Imperial Crypt is derived from the historical mausoleum in Vienna, Austria that houses the remains of the Habsburg Monarchy who ruled over the Holy Roman Empire for over 700 years. The name is meant to symbolize the death of theocratic states, Roman influence on European history, as well as religion itself.”
As the band took the stage in typical black metal fashion, there was blood, spikes, corpse paint, blast beats, and blasphemy. Imperial Crypt’s short vie for power over Stage 48 began with “Glory Of Tutonburg”, an intensely fast and hard hitting blend of death and black metal. The overall feeling in the venue had turned from attentive to primal during the new song “Battle at the Skypillar”; off their forthcoming first full-length album to be titled Fate Of The Allfather. The pit came alive as Imperial Crypt ended the set with the epic and melodic “Rebirth Of Eternity” leaving the crowd impressed and gasping for air.
With the venue packed and fans completely awoken from their mid-day Easter slumber, Winter Nights took to the stage. Starting off as a couple of guys having fun in the studio back in 2007, Winter Nights is now supporting bands such as Morbid Angel, Dark Tranquility, Destruction, Krisiun, and Arsis as they gain popularity and support in the NYC metal scene. The guitar work of brothers Jeremy Farfan (vocals/rhythm) and Efrain Farfan (lead) is best described as aggressive, mean, and reminiscent of some of their biggest influences such as Iced Earth and Hypocrisy.
Electrifying the room with the relentlessly brutal title track of their first full length album, An Endless Apocalypse, released on May 16th, the pit gained size and strength during “In Nuclear Winter” and “A Dark Awakening”. These two stand out tracks are comprised of heavy riffing, heart-felt bass, and solo work. In a conversation with CrypticRock, Jeremy stated “The lyrics are mostly associated with apocalyptic endings and survival during the season’s harsh conditions”. The music and atmosphere created during their performance fit this description accurately. The set peaked while they shredded “The Pleasures of War”, the sledge hammer of their collected works. With Mike Malleo (drums) and Martin Tune (bass) reinforcing the Svinfylking, these winter warriors are pillaging venues across the Five Boroughs.
What is left to say that has not already been said about Greenville, SC natives Nile. Forming in 1993, Nile released their first EP Festivals Of Atonement two years later and has gone on to become technical death metal kings. Their dedication to their craft has helped them become a form of music completely unique, exotically interesting, and impressive amongst the metal genres. Nile has released seven unforgettable studio albums and has been shocking fans with incredible live performances for over two decades. Just like most bands, with any longevity, Nile has experienced many line-up changes throughout its reign with the exception of Dallas Toler-Wade (vocals/guitar) who has been a constant, thrashing and contributing song writing efforts with Sanders since 1997. The current line-up for the “At The Gates Of Sethu Tour Part III” also consists of the revered George Kollias (drums since 2005) and newest member Todd Ellis (bass).
Fans gathered in front of the stage wide-eyed, cheering as the iconic instrumentals featured on all their albums began blaring. Sacrificial offerings to Sebek, to protect against the reach of the evil eye, were carried out during “Sacrifice Onto Sebek” to begin the chaos. The energy was through the roof and fans were screaming with excitement. Nile was feeding off the tremendous reception of praise that preceded “Defiling The Gates Of Ishtar” and “Chapter For Transforming Into A Snake”; two fourteen year old standouts from the Black Seeds Of Vengeance album. Appreciative of the turnout of devoted fans, Toler-Wade stated “I am glad to see all the true metal fans made it out tonight”.
The pit was a killing field from the start, but really gained size and ferocity midway through the performance during the blasting of classics “As He Creates So He Destroys”, “The Blessed Dead”, and “Unas Slayer of the Gods”. Toler-Wade, observant of the audience, went on to say “We got some crazy fuckers in here tonight”. Covering material from the old and new kingdom of their music, they played an astounding fifteen songs off six different albums spanning their rule. Rounding out the set was cult favorites “Sarcophagus” and “Lashed To The Slave Stick”. Returning to dominance moments after, Nile returned to destroy Stage 48 with an encore of “Black Seeds Of Vengeance” to cap off an incredible show.