Nile, Incantation, Sanguisugabogg, I Am @ The Gramercy Theater
March 08, 2022
As the city lights came to life under the setting sun, the marquee over The Gramercy Theater illuminated under four letters long overdue to grace the stages of New York. Originally scheduled to perform in Brooklyn in 2020, tech-death legends Nile at least returned to the Big Apple, this time taking the stage to an ecstatic Manhattan crowd.
Joining them on The Age Of Vile Divinities Tour were fellow death metal heavy hitters Incantation, Sanguisugabogg, and I Am.
Hailing from Texas, I Am started the night off right with a furious blend of Lone Star fury, combining circle pit inducing riffs and massive breakdowns. Case in point, the sledgehammer midpoint of "Peel Back The Skin" off 2018's Hard 2 Kill. Even early in the night, the crowd was beyond ready to throw down and did not disappoint.
Try not to trip when pronouncing the name Sanguisugabogg, or sustain permanent eye damage trying to decipher their logo. With a heavy focus on thick grooves and guttural vocals, the Ohio quartet had all heads banging from front to back over their entire set. An up and coming act, the crowd's response definitely warranted the Buckeye State quartet's return to New York as soon as possible.
With a career spanning over three decades, the mighty Incantation needed no introduction. From the groaning guitar riffs of "Carrion Prophecy" to the suffocation blasts of "Devoured Death" and the abyssal growls of vocalist John McEntee on "The Ibex Moon", the platter of classic death metal was stack high for all in the crowd to share.
At last, the legendary history fanatics better known as Nile closed out the show with their breed of speed and intensity built to stand the test of time like the Great Pyramids. With barely any time to think, the pit opened up as the opening notes to "Sacrifice Unto Sebek" kick off the set. Using whatever breath was left after so many pits, fist pumped in the air shouting the lines 'there is no God but God' over the marching drum beats of "Kafir!"
While hidden in the shadows of the stage, drummer George Kollias didn't need to be seen to have his relentless force felt all around the room. The relentless blast beats of "Call to Destruction" and knee snapping grooves of "Vile Nilotic Rites" proved once again that the man behind the kit is one of the greatest to pick up the sticks in the name of death metal.
What was perhaps the most exciting thing to see, especially after two long years of uncertainly around the world, was how much Nile seemed to enjoy performing. There was scarcely a moment when a grin as wide as the Nile River itself was not on the face of guitarist Karl Sanders.
Indeed, the positive energy was carried right through to the closer, the very song that some argue changed the face of brutal/technical death metal by introducing groove to the mix: "Black Seeds of Vengeance". Celebrating their thirtieth anniversary in 2023, Nile shows absolutely no sign of stopping. Their place in metal history is sure to be worthy of the mightiest Pharaohs.
Photo pass courtesy of Freeman Promotions