Rivers of Nihil – February 22, 2014 – Saint Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NYMonday, 24th February 2014
Living in the Hudson Valley for a little while now, I’ve always grimaced when shows have come through NYC and not been able to get down there (wife, kids, commitments; all those fun adult things). When this lineup was announced, things finally aligned and allowed me to take the two-hour trip to check out the renowned St. Vitus Bar. As my first trip down, the bar itself was top-notch, an intimate venue with some quality craft brews (at reasonable price no less). Looking forward to getting down here more regularly.
Torrential Downpour started things off, with a set heavy on synths, sampling, and mathcore riffing. Never hearing the band before, they did have a certain energy on stage and the music was eclectic enough that I’ll be checking out their Bandcamp page soon to get some future information about them. Some notably heavy rhythms, as well as some psychedelic and atmospheric moments highlighted their set. Their next album, Truth, Knowledge, Vision is coming this year.
Up next was a band that is currently skyrocketing their way to the top, Black Crown Initiate. They opened the set with a new song, in fact, so new that they hadn’t decided what to call it yet. It seemed to continue focusing on combining subgenres as the excellent Song of the Crippled Bull had. Not quite as initially hooky as the EP material, it will be interesting to see where the band decides to go on their next release. The remainder of BCI’s set was a full play through of Song of the Crippled Bull (as vocalist James stated, “We’re just going to play the EP now”). For a young band, they truly have the makings of hitting metal’s upper echelon in the near future. An excellent stage presence, the live act really captures what they put down on the record. They’ll be sure to be gaining fans left and right once the Metal Alliance Tour kicks off (with Behemoth, et al).
Admittedly, I was a bit tepid about catching So Hideous in the live setting. Everything on Last Poem/First Light was so well orchestrated, there was no way they could pull that off live. Happy to admit when I’m wrong, the band was just as potent, if not more so, in the live setting. The only light during their set were two small lights behind the band, giving a certain mood and ambience to the proceedings and then the guitars hit. With the cinematic orchestrations left to being sampled, it really gave the guitars the opening to show how much they truly carry the band. Oozing with emotion while keeping things heavy, the band’s set mostly consisted of songs from last year’s Last Poem/First Light and they were probably the highlight of the night. There was almost something hypnotic about their set; clearly this isn’t a mosh-pit friendly band, but something you need to soak in, and the crowd was more than willing to do so.
Last up were up-and-comers Rivers of Nihil, who cherry-picked the strongest songs off their Metal Blade debut, The Conscious Seed of Light to end a consistently great night of metal. Their live act sees the band throwing a bit more energy into their material, and they commanded the stage during their set. “Airless”, one of the more atmospheric of the band’s offerings, seemed to benefit most from this additional live presence. Straight-up thrashers like “Rain Eater,” “A Fertile Altar,” and “Birth of the Omnisavior” brought the crowd to life a bit more than the preceding bands, and perpetual closer “Soil & Seed” ended things in top form with it’s riffs that seemed to be tailor-made for head banging and circle pits.