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Nile And Melechesh Unearth Darkness At The Bristol Bierkeller

The Bierkeller in Bristol has hosted some of the most respected names in rock, metal, hardcore and punk over the years. It's an ideal venue to welcome these bands too, as it can hold around seven hundred people, with plenty of space, yet feel like an intimate concert, not least because it's not uncommon to see members of the groups walking around, drinking and taking photos with the crowd. All this made it pretty much perfect for the night's show, as American death metal veterans Nile brought their What Should Not Be Unearthed tour to Britain's seventh largest city, and with them, Jerusalemite black metallers Melechesh and Italian death metal act, Embryo.

It was Embryo who kicked off the evening's festivities, taking to the stage with only a small audience to perform to. Right from the start, they let the crowd know just what they had before them: Five hungry young men whose appetite for death metal was insatiable. There's a lot to enjoy about this band, whose brutality is married to a groove many attempt, but few can capture. As the number of people in the venue grew, so too did the appreciation for the band, who maintained a professional demeanour, despite their clear joy to be a part of such a tour. While they may not be a household name (in households who listen to extreme music anyway,) Embryo could yet become one of Italy's most beloved metal bands if they continue their quality songwriting and live intensity.

What followed next was one of the most intense performances I have ever witnessed. Jerusalem founded Assyrian black metal veterans Melechesh took to the stage, with lead guitarist Moloch and bassist Tsel both cloaking their faces in veils (I couldn't see the drummer from where I was,) it brought an intimidating but nonetheless awe inspiring image, before the three were joined by vocalist, guitarist and founding member Ashmedi. It didn't take long for Melechesh to have the audience eating out of the palm of their hand, with their brand of extreme metal yet intricate Eastern rhythms driving everyone into a frenzy. Their setlist was one that would please the majority fans, covering most of their catologue, including their exhilerating latest album, "Enki," as well as representing the classic, "Sphynx" with "Triangular Tattvic Fire."

Despite the extremity of the band, there was a touching moment as Ashmedi thanked the fans for coming to the shows and supporting them in a time of need, due to a legal problem he's currently facing in Jerusalem after (winning) a bar fight. Don't think this means Melechesh or Ashmedi are going soft though, as they concluded with "Rebirth of the Nemesis," because there's no more metal way to end a gig than with a song about a Mesopotamian dragon. For those of you who haven't seen Melechesh before, I honestly can't recommend them enough. They are truly one of the most intense and striking live bands in metal today and will leave your neck hurting for days (trust me!)

Closing the night, it was South Carolina's own Nile. The band who are known for their fascination with ancient Egypt as much as their mind blowing, complex music and elegant take on death metal, took to the stage a little later than advertised but with no less integrity. The musicianship of this quartet is absolutely stunning, at times reminiscent of a classical music concert, as those lucky enough to attend were able to appreciate their talent, which was clear right from the opening notes of "Sacrifice Unto Sebek."

Also promoting a solid album released last year, "What Should Not Be Unearthed," the songs from the new record including, "In the Name of Amun," sounded wonderful and stacked up well against old favourites like, "The Howling of the Jinn." Rounded off by "Lashed to the Slave Stick" and "Black Seeds of Vengeance," it was the perfect end to a unique extreme metal tour, one which continues to tear through Europe with a trek that should be respected as much for the sheer talent on board the bus as well as the legacies and brutality that it brings.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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