Nile Take Us on a Headbanging Journey Through Antiquity

Dallas Toler-Wade of Nile
Dallas Toler-Wade of Nile
Rachael Mattice

The City National Grove of Anaheim

While almost all death metal bands churn out lyrical content relating to the macabre, Satanism, zombies, gore and pathology, Nile is one of few bands who go against the grain since the band was conceived in South Carolina in 1993. With a bludgeoning use of double guitars and vocalists, the music brings to life the mythology, rituals of the ancient Egypt. The music is just as fast, uncompromising and conveys a sense of intensity that is matched by only a few other death metal artists.

Comprised of vocalist/guitarists Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade, Nile is rounded out by bassist Brad Parris, and one of the most extreme and insanely fast drummers in all of death metal, George Kollias. The band’s recent tour, celebrating the recent album from July, What Should Not Be Unearthed stopped at the Grove of Anaheim on Wednesday for fans to catch this super talented and intense extreme metal band live in action.

Just a few minutes after 10 p.m., the crowd had grown more dense and squeezed into the two front areas in front of the stage. As the green log of the band’s logo and symbol of the Key of the Nile were projected behind the band, instant death metal shredding began to commence.

Nile’s music is so technical, neck-breaking and eardrum-destroying, but it is this brutality that leaves fans are left in awe during their live performances. The drumming of Kollias is utterly insane to witness, and at certain moments the darkness and antiquity and musical spirit actually leap out from sound waves pounding from the drum set, at an inhuman speed.

Sander and Toler-Wade’s vocals are also demonic and guttural invoking possession of demons, but the songs are not about the conventional Devil, but ancient mysticism, battles, death ceremonies, deities, and incantations of ancient Egypt.

For one hour, the band played at least one song off of each eight albums released, including fan favorites, "What Should Not Be Unearthed,"‘Ithyphallic.," "Defiling the Gates of Ishtar," and "Black Seeds of Vengeance." For an hour, fans at the Grove were presented with some of the most complex, and utterly extreme music the universe has to offer, which took listeners on a journey through antiquity and into the face of the Sun God, down into pyramids, shrines and tombs of the Egyptian civilization. This is unrelenting death metal music with some actual historical value to the discipline of Egyptology and ancient archaeology.

Empyrean Throne
Empyrean Throne
Rachael Mattice

The only unfortunate part of the night was the light turnout. The venue was not empty. But half full. With a lot of space in the back, fans at the show were treated to very short lines for the restroom and to buy beer, but the intensity of the show could have been perhaps a bit more charged had the venue been a bit smaller, or more people shown up on a Wednesday night.

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The Obsveratory might have been a better fit for this show, in retrospect. Despite this, fans were still banging their fists and heads to the music, as they moshed to unbelievably fast and dark music that summoned up ancient rites and primeval spirits of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Opening bands LA area opening bands Letumn Ascensus brought out another brutality laced warm up with a heavy dose guttural and raw black death metal, with an anti-established religion sentiment, that fans seemed to appreciate. Lake Forrest’s thematic black metal band Empyrean Throne also warmed the crowd up with a very ritualistic set of black metal that included a makeshift altar and bones of a baphomet. LA area band Tormenter was the first band on, and though a handful of people were there, the band’s old school thrash was sweet, but like the other two openers, too short, at less than half an hour long.

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