Overkill + Nile, with Axeslasher, Necropanther @ The Gothic Theater, Denver CO

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Overkill + Nile, with Axeslasher, Necropanther @ The Gothic Theater, Denver CO

I’m always amazed at how many “classic” bands have escaped my notice, despite being a metalhead for 20 years. New Jersey’s OVERKILL is one such band. The name had been floating around in my head for quite some time, but I never had any solid concept of either their history or their sound. Thankfully, I had a wonderful opportunity to become acquainted with whom many say should be the “fifth” member of thrash metal’s “Big Four” (METALLICA, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX, SLAYER.)


Two local support acts were on the bill tonight. The first, Denver-based NECROPANTHER, I missed due to arriving a bit late to the venue. But fortunately, I arrived just in time to catch horror-themed thrashers AXESLASHER.

I’m a sucker for both props and fake blood, which AXESLASHER provided via a fake human head impaled on a pike that sprayed blood over the front moshers.

Their cheeky catchphrase “Eat Pizza. Worship Satan” gave me the giggles, as did their “pizza-gram” logo (consisting of a pentagram made up of pizza slices.)  Overall, a very entertaining show!  


Florida’s NILE was my nascent exposure to any kind of technical death metal, so they’ll always occupy a little piece of my black heart. Their seminal album “Black Seeds of Vengeance” is now 17 years old, but it may be the best example of the technical death metal genre ever produced. Tonight’s performance had an extra note if intrigue as NILE’s longtime frontman Dallas Toler-Wade had quit the band a couple weeks ago, clearing the way for newcomer Brian Kingsland on guitars and vocals.

NILE has reverted to their original “triple-attack” vocal format, which had both guitarists and bassist alternate growls. Previously, Toler-Wade handled most of the vocal duties.


I also am very fond of NILE’s bandleader Karl Sanders, whom I met at a gig in NYC about five years ago. He is an incredibly friendly man, something an audience member can easily tell by watching him on stage.

He always has a huge smile on his face as he belts out his trademark riffs and guttural gurgles. There’s something refreshing about seeing metal musicians looking joyful (especially given NILE’s style of music), given that metals emotional aesthetic is typically limited variations of “grim” or “brutal” or “evil”.

My only critique is that musically, they sounded a bit sloppy on a couple songs. My personal favorite song “Black Seeds of Vengeance” sounded smeared and inconsistent as the band tried to stay in sync. I’m sure the next time NILE comes to town, they’ll have gelled as a band and will have things a bit tighter.


  1. Intro
  2. Sacrifice Unto Sebek
  3. Defiling the Gates of Ishtar
  4. Kafir!
  5. Hititte Dung Incantation
  6. The Fiends Who Came to Steal the Magick of the Deceased
  7. In the Name of Amun
  8. Sarcophagus
  9. Black Seeds of Vengeance


Within 30 seconds of their opening song, OVERKILL had won me over. These guys have been on the road for 30-plus years, and the skill and enthusiasm of their performance reflected that amazing depth of experience.

Frontman Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth commanded the stage like a frenzied panther.

Bassist D.D. Verni was no slouch either, wielding his instrument like a cannon.


Something about OVERKILL’s music allows his basswork to shine in the mix, unlike many modern metal bands who arrange or mix their music to where the bass appears buried.


Guitarists Dave Linsk and Derek “The Skull” Tailer dutifully worked their corners of the stage, with Mr Linsk’ soloing being another musical highlight.


  1. Mean, Green, Killing Machine
  2. Rotten to the Core
  3. Electric Rattlesnake
  4. Hello from the Gutter
  5. Goddamn Trouble
  6. Feel the Fire
  7. Nice Day…For a Funeral
  8. Infectious
  9. Our Finest Hour
  10. Hammerhead
  11. Armorist
  12. Emerald (Thin Lizzy cover)


  1. Ironbound
  2. Elimination
  3. Fuck You (Subhumans cover)