Over the years, there are a few things I have noticed while attending various metal shows. More often than not, there are signs you can look out for that will give you a hint as to what you’re in for. First, if you can’t read the band logo because it looks like a pile of branches, then you’re in for a rough night. Also, if there is a mosh pit right from the first song of the first band, you know it’s about to get wild. Metal fans are known for being passionate and from time to time, expressing that passion physically. Tonight was a testament to that, and being part of it was not only an excellent workout but a hell of a good time. I had not been to a death metal show in a long time and it was nice being part of the experience at Piranha Bar.
Already tensions were high, and the metalheads wanted to run into each other. When The Path To R’lyeh unleashed chaos, the building started to shake. I knew right away that I had gotten myself into a journey that would leave a few bruises along the way. It’s hard to describe a music as savage as what these guys play when you have little to no references, but as one can expect from the H.P Lovecraft-inspired band name, there was a dark and mischievous vibe to the music. That being said, with the double bass pedals and blast beats, it’s easy to get lost in the mix and forget about the music.
Inferi where much “easier” to listen to because of their melodies. I’ve never been one to freak over a band’s genre, but in this case, the melodic aspect of the music was apparent when compared to the havoc of The Path To R’lyeh. One thing that stuck out during their set was the singing. One voice was the typical, low growl found in many bands of this genre. But the other was more of a high-pitched growl. For some reason, I could picture a demon from a horror movie sounding like that. One thing to note is that the songs were long. I’m sure the more hardened metalheads could take ages of this stuff, but after ten minutes of non-stop screaming and double bass pedals, my head was about to explode. This music isn’t for the faint of heart.
As soon as Alterbeast walked on stage, I could already tell things were about to be taken a step further. From the get go, I knew these guys had stamina. Their singer was jumping around and he almost seemed trapped on the small stage at Piranha Bar. I’m sure that given more space, he would be running around a lot more. At first, I thought the band had no bassist, but I soon realized that the man of the groove was holding a six string bass and he played it very technically, almost like a guitar. It’s not what we old-school metal fans are used to, but it was a change of pace and gave a different sound to their music. I have to mention the song “Apex Night Eclipse.” Having a room of people raising their fists and screaming “6-6-6!” to a song about Satan is not only terrifying, but extremely satisfying.
Finally, it was time for Rivers of Nihil to take the stage, and the fans were hungry for more. People can say what they want about metal, but when you cross over to the more extreme genres, you’ll never find more faithful fans. If singer Jake Dieffenbach called for a circle pit, the crowed started spinning. When guitarists Brody Uttley and Jon Topore raised their fists in unison, the crowed raised the devil horns. You could feel real appreciation from the band, who played their heart out in the heat and humidity. I also can’t forget drummer Jared Klein who was in perfect harmony with bassist Adam Biggs. Not only did he sing clean vocals for some songs, but he did something I had never seen someone do with a bass: string tapping. If there had been some sound issues with the first band, the sound for Rivers of Nihil was spot on, which surprised me, having experienced technical issues at Piranha before. Rivers of Nihil, though clearly being a more extreme metal band, had more in common with classic metal acts. There were more riffs in the music, a clear distinction from other bands of the same family who just play fast and loud.
Being present at that show reminded me of a time where I wasn’t as lazy as I am today, a time where I was the first in line, the one idiot who would stand smack in the middle of a Wall of Death. It was a wild night and when I finally stepped out of the bar, my ears were ringing all the way home.
Written by Johnathan Robinson
*edited by Kate Erickson