After a long two and a half year absence from our green and pleasant land, returning death metal overlords Nile set their sights on annihilating the wicked London crowd. But before Karl Sanders and his band of Egyptian-inspired bruisers tear the venue up we are greeted by a genuine revelation.
Something incredible has been happening over in France and the last few years have seen some genuinely amazing bands thrown our way. In the wake of Gojira's rise to the extreme metal elite, our eyes have been opened to what the French have to offer. Svart Crown (9) are no exception and join an ever increasing list of brilliant bands from across the Channel. This was one of the most intense and furious performances that I have recently witnessed. They just ooze energy and unbridled rage. If their new release, 'Profane', didn't fully grab your attention they made damn sure they would in the flesh. Svart Crown's black-tinged deathly racket is as no-nonsense as they come. Arriving, splitting ear drums and leaving in a whirlwind 30 minutes. Every note is smashed out with full force as the wild-eyed quartet bring everything from spine-compressing grooves to potent, venomous screams. After being in existence for 8 years, it would be an injustice if they didn't get some recognition sooner rather than later.
Ancient Rome gets to show its hand before Ancient Egypt is turned loose and the great empire doesn’t disappoint. Ex Deo (8) take to the stage in full body armour and it's surely the most metal thing that you will see this year. I know it is a bit pantomime, but it is insanely good fun. Kataklysm frontman Maurizio Iacono has turned his side project into a self sufficient beast that can pull its own weight. With two solid albums under their collective tunics, the Canadian five-piece are very much on the road to glory. Britannia are very welcoming to the crunching riffs and the Olympian poses thrown by Maurizio. Expect to see them make a triumphant return at some point in the future.
Its has been a long time coming but the South Carolina death metal royalty are back and bringing hit after snappily-titled hit. Nile (9) are in stunning form and clearly loving it with Karl Sanders sporting a huge grin for, at least, the first 15 minutes of a ferocious set. The un-holy trinity of Karl, Dallas Toler-Wade and George Kollias provide a near flawless barrage of rapid-fire riffing and thunderous blastbeats. The band are an extremely tight unit and extremely impressive musically – this is death metal at its most spellbinding. A brutal blend of dexterity and raw power. Having seven quality albums worth of ragers to call upon helps their case immensely and while 'At the Gates of Sethu' might not have been as warmly received as the other albums, the songs that they play tonight go down a storm and whip up a flurry of banging heads. So, it is clearly a success story at the Garage: a returning death metal giant, a side project that has grown and can stand shoulder to shoulder with its brother band and yet another hugely impressive French export. Times were good and beers were drunk and bodies were mummified, now there is one final thing to do; Anoint my phallus with the blood of the fallen... or something like that.