A casual Hard Rock Café-style venue in the unassuming Pittsburgh suburb of Baldwin was where crypts opened, sandstorms raged, curses were realized, and long-dead pharaohs were resurrected last week.
Nile, led by founder and metal archaeologist Karl Sanders, were in town to support the release of their latest opus Vile Nilotic Rites and represented it duly as “Long Shadows of Dread,” “Snake Pit Mating Frenzy,” and the title track proved to be highlights of the set along with “Howling of the Jinn,” “Kafir,” and closer “Black Seeds of Vengeance.” Karl Sanders could be the reincarnation of an ancient king or time-traveler a la Kang The Conqueror/Rama Tut based on his otherworldly growls and guitarwork, which are bent on defying the laws of the natural universe. His minions, Kingsland, Parris and Kollias also cast their own winds of scorn, seeming as if they’ve been with the band for untold centuries. Such was the mythic, Egyptian synergy that was on aural display, from a band one would never think hailed from South Carolina no less. This was the fourth encounter I’ve had with Nile, and they’ve yet to put on an even mediocre stand.
Terrorizer, also with just one original member dating back to their formation three decades ago, managed to pummel us into admitting that they deserve underground legend status, leader Pete Sandoval granting us a god-level extravaganza a la Nile’s George Kollias, and speaking of which, when it came to the final two bands of the evening, the kit is what I focused my attention on the most. Yes, the deathgrind riffs of Lee Harrison and fat-stringed fury and wrathful vocals of Sam Molina were at the forefront, but it was all centered around Sandoval, whose proficiency on the skins rivals that of Gene Hoglan.
Erie’s Bravura and locals Post Mortal Possession dismembered us all and stitched us back together again so that we may be ripped apart once more, the former with their dizzying progressive death and the latter with their more carnivorous take on the genre, both bands excelling in terms both brutality and musicianship. Post Mortal Possession even previewed a new album in its entirety, one that will surely lead them to more acclaim in the metal scene beyond Pittsburgh.
Technicality reigned supreme on this night of kingly trauma.