Nile at the Culture Room
Not a lot of bad things can be said about a show of this caliber coming through town. Fort Lauderdale just happened to be lucky enough to get the final show of Nile’s ‘Those Who The Gods Detest’ touring cycle. Also in tow was Keep Of Kalessin, Psycroptic, and Ex Deo. Nobody left the building on Thanksgiving Eve without feeling thoroughly rocked. A show with some of the finest death metal North America has to offer seems fitting for a day of slaughtering turkeys in some sort of twisted tribute to having slaughtered the Native Americans.
Opening the night at eight on the dot was Norway’s Keep Of Kalessin. I immediately fell in love with this band and I’d be lying if I had any excuse as to why I hadn’t listened to these guys or seen them sooner. They bring a very tight knit sound to the stage that falls somewhere between death metal and black metal but with crisp vocals. The band brings a great energy and presence to the stage fueled by endless windmilling and crowd chanting and fist pumping reminiscent of an old 80’s thrash show. 30 minutes wasn’t nearly long enough for this band and they definitely deserved to be bumped up in the lineup above Psycroptic. Psycroptic made the trip all the way from Australia for their half an hour set. The band leans towards technical death metal, which isn’t objectionable, but the random pig squeals are completely unnecessary and detract from the band as a whole unfortunately. Musically, they’re a talented group that like so many other bands out there needs to find their own little place of originality – but hopefully sans the squealing. Ex Deo was definitely a treat to see for me. The side project of Kataklysm frontman Maurizio Iacono is more or less a tribute to ancient Rome which brings a refreshing new twist to the Death Metal world. The scene has enough Vikings and Pirates for another twenty years so to see a group on stage in Roman warrior attire is a nice change and to see this band thoroughly kick your ass is an amazing feeling. It’s definitely a shame that we won’t all be seeing much of these guys due to their side project status but it gives even more incentive to try and catch them while you can.
Nile needs no introduction in the metal world. They happen to be one of the finer death metal bands in the U.S. that doesn’t hail from Florida and their musicianship is second to none. While I’ll honestly admit that the biggest thing that held me back from seeing Nile in the past was my ‘meh’ approach to their vocals, I’m very happy that I did finally see them. They are one of those bands that you appreciate a whole lot more after seeing them even if you are a fan of everything they’ve made. I own all six of their albums and I enjoy the instrument side of them immensely but I could never get with the vibe of their lyrics until their most recent offering on Those Whom the Gods Detest where bassist Chris Loll and guitarist Dallas Toler-Wade each get fair turns on vocals along with Karl Sanders. Luckily for me and any other fans of the new album, there was plenty of the new album that got attention (5 of the 11 songs to be exact). Opening the night with ‘Kafir!’ and the chant of “There Is No God” makes for a energetic start and probably a staple in the opening slot of their set for years to come. As the night continued on the band mixed up a few older songs (‘Serpent Headed Mask’, ‘Sarcophagus’) in with the newer stuff and kept the crowd quite content and continued to sway me to liking them more. The band finished the night with 2000’s ‘Black Seeds Of Vengeance’ and in one of the classier moves in metal, guitarist and founder Karl Sanders stayed on the edge of the stage shaking hands, signing autographs and conversing with anybody and everybody who was there wanting to talk to him well into the night. The entire band, as well as all of the other bands on the bill, were class acts who all stayed to greet their fans and have a good time which also goes a long way in winning me over. By the end of the night I was a firm believer in Keep Of Kalessin, Ex Deo and Nile and I have no excuses not to see any of them again. It wasn’t the show of the year for me by any stretch but it was wonderful seeing four talented bands who I hadn’t seen before that left me with the desire to hear lots more from them.