Nile + Krisiun + In Element + Decrepid
The Garage, London
06 November, 2022
Photos by Manu Volpina
Review by The Flâneur
“Nile on a Sunday night sure is brutal”, I was thinking half-comatose on the Overground. It had been a long week which was about to end with a long gig. A recipe for disaster – or a potion for success.
I was a little late for well-oiled war machine Decrepid, but, to be fair, a 6:35 pm start was a bit optimistic. A couple of pieces in, I already felt like I was familiar with their entire discography – and not in a bad sense. Decrepid are really good at what they do and they do it strictly by the books. They not only had a good stage presence, but they also had great sound. A yummy concoction of straight up death metal and – you guessed it – more straight up death metal, and the potion was being both shaken and stirred.
Sadly, for me, In Element were bad. Really bad. To start it off, they were wearing Slipknot-like masks. Now, I’m not going to lie, I love a well-thought out stage outfit and a good mask, and I never expected them at a death metal show. So, my expectations were already set quite high before the band even started playing. Once they did, however, I was left increasingly confused. I do think In Element are a fascinating outfit with a previously unheard of sound. But my ears refuse to agree with my mind.
A chaotic blend of death metal, digital hardcore, and clean singing alternating with harsh vocals, In Element are absolutely an acquired taste. It rather seemed like very few in the audience had acquired this taste at the time of the gig because, most revellers looked just as confused as I felt throughout most of the band’s set. It didn’t help that the vocalist was very talkative, and somewhat cringy. I actually came up with a drinking game during In Element’s performance: drink every time the vocalist says “man”. A very dangerous game, which could be the end of any of those blessed with the livers of Lemmy or Ozzy.
In Element did finish with a fascinating cover of Phil Collins’s In The Air Tonight, which was their best piece of the night. I feel like they should make an entire album full of covers of pop songs, kind of like the one Spider God released not that long ago. That would be fun!
After a surprisingly enjoyable filling music playlist (Type O Negative baby!) Krisiun was welcomed with a hearty hoo-ha. I’ve never been a big fan of Krisiun, but it seems like playing really well live is their superpower. That’s how they hook you in, the scoundrels! Their beautiful blend of thrash, and trad and technical death metal let those languishing in boredom take a breath of fresh air and get started on the party.
There was finally a mosh pit, and Krisiun’s impeccable sound and powerful vocals reeled everyone in. But even more importantly, they had the domineering stage presence I’ve come to expect from good death metal bands. They genuinely seemed happy to play live and kept on encouraging the crowd with proclamations that this was “the best show of the tour” and that they “love playing in London”. There was even a brief “fuck Bolsonaro” chant, in which everyone joined. It was a truly beautiful moment, and a knew I was becoming a fan of Krisiun then and there.
However, this feeling was rather short lived, as I did not anticipate what transpired next. As the Krisiun zealots were at the peak of chanting the band’s name, the band responded with a different kind of chant: “give it up to all the women in the house” to the sounds of the theme song from the Pink Panther. Oh did that leave a bad taste in my mouth. Not just because of the subterfuge-laced yet sexually suggestive tune, but also because something men on the extreme metal scene seem to fail to realise, is that there are more and more women on the scene, and they are not there for the men (ha!) but for themselves. This bewilderment caused by the sight of women in the crowd needs to stop – as well as the increasingly common acknowledgements of it from male metal vocalists. At the show, about 40% of the public was women. It’s no longer extraordinary to see women in the crowd of extreme metal shows – but it is extraordinary to see them on stage. That night there were none. Perhaps, this should have been the aspect acknowledged by Krisiun. I know I’m nit-picking, but this is my space to do so!
Thankfully, Nile did not faff around with any such semantics and just did their thing – and how awfully mesmerising it was! To start with, they had brought their own filler music, which I thought was a good touch. It was quite synthy yet on theme – possibly concocted by head honcho Karl Sanders, who is prolific in the electronic/ritual ambient genre in his own right.
I was immediately star struck when George Kollias started doing his sound check. I really expected the crowd to be just as star struck and shout out his name, but that did not transpire. Once the others got on stage, it was game on for the hellraiser fourpiece – who also had a new member – Julian – who recently replaced Brad Parris on bass.
Did the mosh pit start first, or was it the band? We would never know! How do Nile keep up with their own impossibly fast and technical music? We would never know! Are all but George Kollias talented vocalists – or would he also be if he wasn’t drumming himself into a different galaxy? We would never know! Is George Kollias a god? That we do know.
Now, for those who know me, I don’t really like death metal. My interests tend to lie within the raw atmospheric black metal realm – think distortion and synth, and then distorted synth. That being said, it’s impossible not to bow down before the horrible perfection that Nile is, and cry out in reverence. Seeing them is very much a religious experience – one of agony and bliss. The Hellraiser reference really is entirely too appropriate in the context of Nile. They are one of the very few death metal bands who never get boring, never put on a bad show, or never put out a bad album. The mosh pit never stops once they walk in!