WORDS: James Weaver, PHOTO CREDIT: Katie Louise Needham
Death metal is a genre that is always consistent. Since the genre’s explosive entry into the metal world in the late 1980s numerous sub-genres have evolved and all have a whole host of talented bands carrying the flag. Yet despite all this growth, the old school sound of death metal is still worshipped by many and on a warm September evening two of the scene’s leading names graced Sound Control in Manchester, NILE and SUFFOCATION. But is the old school sound still relevant today?
SUFFOCATION helped pioneer the breakdown which is now incredibly popular within the realms of metalcore and deathcore. But make no mistake, SUFFOCATION don’t embrace melodic elements to their music. From start to finish their performance at Sound Control was brutal, devastating and phenomenal. Opening with Thrones of Blood the mood of the performance was clear from the offset, huge pummeling riffs, consistent double bass drumming and a guttural bellowing vocal performance.
With the band still supporting 2013’s Pinnacle of Bedlam, it was surprising that the only track that was performed was As Grace Descends and whilst fans may be disappointed to not hear newer material, it in fact enabled SUFFOCATION to deliver a performance covering all corners of their blood-splattered career. Abomination Reborn, Catatonia, Pierced From Within and climatic closer Infecting The Crypts all made an appearance in SUFFOCATION‘s set and were performed in such a professional manner that the band had effortlessly replicated their studio sound.
Terrance Hobbs and Guy Marchais provided slick riffs and crushing breakdowns, Kevin Talley consistently kept the rhythm pummelling and Derek Boyer‘s bass tones sent huge shock-waves to the audience. With lead vocalist Frank Mullen stepping down from long term touring commitments fans were anxious on the vocal deliveries to say the least, yet Ricky Myers (DISGORGE) delivered a vocal performance that was both menacing and charismatic. Holding the audience in the palm of his hand, Myers provided a truly spectacular vocal performance with guttural vocals performed exquisitely and managed to replicate the band’s studio sound, a difficult feat indeed.
With SUFFOCATION setting the mark at an all time high, it would be difficult for NILE to be able to follow with the same calibre. NILE have always been reknown for brining both a technical and brutal performance to the stage and their performance at Sound Control reinforced this. Opening with the chaotic Sacrifice Unto Sebek, NILE set the tone for the evening; intricate riffs and powerful blasts that have enough force to wake the Pharaohs from their slumber.
With the band’s latest release, What Should Not Be Unearthed, only hitting the shelves recently, it was obvious that the band would perform a selection of tracks from their latest record. Call To Destruction, Evil to Cast Out Evil and In The Name of Amun all made an appearance and proved to gel well with NILE‘s previous material. With the rest of the setlist covering the band’s extensive back catalogue, NILE‘s performance was a spectacle to witness. Kafir!, Lashed To The Slave Stick and Black Seeds of Vengeance were absolutely monumental in a live setting with crowd participation full encouraged, NILE were on fine form throughout their set and at such breakneck speed it was surprising that the band didn’t falter.
With George Kollias keeping the tempo at an all time high, Karl Sanders providing the technical aspect to NILE‘s chaotic musical assault and vocalist Dallas Toler-Wade unleashing his singature snarls, NILE easily replicated their studio sound and delivered it so throughout their performance. The new addition of bassist Brad Parris only reinforced NILE‘s destructive sound. Both SUFFOCATION and NILE more than proved that the old school sound of death metal is still as destructive as it was when it first emerged, and both delivered sets of the utmost brutality, signalling that both bands are still highly regarded in the world of death metal.