i love the smell of napalm in the morning

by anders pearson Wed 12 Feb 2003 11:36:08

i must be getting old.

last night i went to see napalm death, strapping young lad, nile, dark tranquility, and berserker. the headlining band was Nile. who is Nile? i've been listening to death metal since high school and i'd never heard of them before yesterday. and there they were with top billing above Napalm Death, one of the most influential bands in the genre. apparently Nile is currently popular with the kiddies...

the other really strange thing about the show was the venue: BB King's Blues Lounge. not exactly the kind of place you'd expect to see a metal show.

met up with angela before the show and we went to the BB King grill which is in the same building as the lounge so i could get a quick bite to eat before things started. about half an hour before the show was scheduled to start, the first band, Berserker, went on. we were in the restaurant part and we oould hear them pretty clearly through the walls. it was then that we realized that the staff pretty much had no idea what they were in for. when the band started playing, a couple of the waitresses disappeared off to the lounge to see what was going on. the came back in looking absolutely mortified. it was quite amusing.

we wandered back into the lounge with just enough time to grab a beer before Strapping Young Lad started playing. SYL was the main draw of the show for me. their set was unfortunately somewhat disappointing. they only got to play for about half an hour and the club's sound still wasn't well setup. it was about 20 decibels quieter than SYL deserves (and needs) and tinny sounding. even with the poor sound, the band was still fantastic. Devin is a pretty goofy guy ("water, water, it's good for your heart, the more you drink the more you... have in your system") which makes for an odd contrast with the sheer crushing heaviness of their music. Gene Hoglin, the drummer, is positively inhuman.

after SYL played, angela and i each ran off to our respective bathrooms. as i was coming out of the narrow hallway leading to the bathrooms, someone says 'excuse me' and slides past me and into the women's bathroom. i had to stop and blink a couple times. it was Juliya, the host of Uranium the metal show on Much Music, one of the few tv shows that i actually watch on a regular basis. 5 minutes later angela comes out of the bathroom. i'm about to say something to the effect of "do you realize who was just in the bathroom with you?" when angela beats me to it. apparently she had a long conversation with her while they were both applying hair spray at the sink.

after our little celebrity encounter, Dark Tranquility went on. like Nile, i'd never heard of them before that night. they were pretty good though. sort of at the goth end of the death metal spectrum. growly vocals and heavy guitars but mixed in with keyboards and occasional clean vocals. i'm really a sucker for that style of music so i'll probably pick up one of their albums.

the Napalm came on and showed everyone how it's done. holy crap. the first two songs were a little muddy sounding but then the band really tightened up and they got the last kinks out of the PA. most napalm fans have been disappointed with their last couple albums. thankfully, they played almost all old material with just two or three songs off their new album. napalm's first album, Scum, is an absolute masterpiece of extreme music and single-handedly invented the grindcore genre. but it was recorded for almost no money and production wise was pretty terrible sounding. so i was thrilled when they played about half of that album live (the whole album was only 28 minutes so playing half of it wasn't that big a chunk of time) because i got to finally hear the songs with decent quality sound. the other highlights of their set were "Suffer the Children", "From enslavement to obliteration", and their cover of "Nazi punks, fuck off".

after Napalm was Nile. by now my curiousity was killing me. who the hell thought they could be billed above Napalm Death? being the headlining act implies that you're better than the opening bands. being presented as better than Napalm builds up some pretty high expectations. sadly, Nile fell far short of those expectations. they were pretty generic, cookie-cutter death metal. they played pretty well but not exceptionally so. angela walked out after 5 minutes of their set. i lasted another 20 minutes but i was getting tired by then and after seeing napalm play, Nile were just bringing me down.

TAGS: music death metal concert napalm death strapping young lad nile


Hmm ... well while I am a fairly avid Black Metal fan (Opeth, Emperor, Enslaved ... even Bathory), I have to admit that I don't keep up on the 'pure' death metal scene too much. However Nile, blows and I am surprised to see that they haven't self-destructed yet like so many other talented, yet uncreative metal bands. Good hear that Napalm death is still grinding their riffs ... however how many of the original muscicians are left? I've noticed death metal bands change their lineup almost as much as thrash bands ... hehe. Maybe I should go to a death metal show sometime ... hmm.

none of the original members of napalm are left in the band. on Scum, Justin Broadrick and Nik Bullen both left before the album was finished, they were replaced by Bill Steer, Jim Whitely and Lee Dorian. Mick Harris, the drummer, was the only member of the band who was on both sides of the album. for 'From Enslavement to Obliteration', Whitely was replaced by Shane Embury. on Harmony Corruption (1990), only Mick Harris and Shane Embury remained. by Utopia Banished (1992), Mick, the last original member, was gone. that lineup (Barney Greenway, Jesse Pintado, Mitch Harris [not to be confused with Mick], Shane Embury, and Danny Herrera) has been stable ever since. 11 years without any lineup changes pretty much makes up for the turmoil early on.


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