Rivers of Nihil/Black Crown Initiate – September 23, 2014 – Saint Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, 24th September 2014

As one of the more entertaining tour names of the fall season, the Reading Rainbow tour features the two shining extreme metal acts (of said Pennslyvania town), Rivers of Nihil and Black Crown Initiate. It did inspire a bit of deja-vu from the one-off show that both bands were involved with back in February at Saint Vitus (along with So Hideous), but being able to witness two of the most promising young acts in the metal genre again so soon seemed like a no-brainer. Even if it was on a Monday night and involved a jaunt to Brooklyn.

A bit of a late start (as there were only three bands total); the NJ-based act Huldra hit the stage around 9:00 PM to start things up. An interesting mix of multiple genres (notably some doom, hardcore, and even some hints of grind), their short-but-sweet set served as a nice primer for things to come. Despite the genre mashing, nothing seemed forced or jarring, and the vocalist in particular was all over the place, literally. All over the stage, and occasionally on the ground, it was clear he was throwing everything into it. Their Bandcamp page will need to be hit up in the near future.

Next on the stage was Black Crown Initiate. Currently promoting their exquisite upcoming album The Wreckage of Stars (see review here), which arrives next Tuesday, it seems clear they are getting primed for the big time. The band has been on two high profile tours since last I saw them, and their live show has greatly benefited from this experience. The current Black Crown Initiate is one that is confident, hungry, and well deserving of their hype. Kicking off their set with “Great Mistake,” (which was played back in February as “new song”) it was a testament to how much more refined the band has become in only a few months. An energetic performance by all, the band played the Song of the Crippled Bull in its entirety, along with two of the more venomous tracks off of the new album, “The Fractured One” and “To the Eye That Leads You.” Even without the audience being familiar with the two tracks, the destructive riffs, particularly those of “To the Eye That Leads You,” gave off a wicked energy. The middle of that track will be explosive once the album is in everyone’s hands. This is a band that needs to be experienced in the live setting, and quite possibly the band to watch in metal currently.

Closing the evening were death metallers Rivers of Nihil. Unfortunately, it seemed there were a number of folks who just couldn’t afford to stay up past their bedtime as Vitus seemed a bit more open than it was for BCI’s set. Their loss, as Rivers of Nihil has also been afforded opportunities since February and was (like Black Crown Initiate), a much tighter and devastating live act. Rivers has an extraordinary upper hand on most metal bands as they have, after one full-length, come up with the perfect opening/closing tracks (“Raineater” and “Soil & Seed”). Both tracks are brutal slabs in the live setting, with infectious headbanging energy, with “Mechanical Trees” coming in as a close second. Still utilizing “Airless” to provide a brief esoteric escape, it serves as a nice breather between more visceral numbers. All in all, an excellent night from two very buzz-worthy bands.

Huldra on Facebook
Black Crown Initiate on Facebook
Rivers of Nihil on Facebook

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