4.5.12: The Black Dahlia Murder x Nile x Skeletonwitch x Hour of Penance

More often than not, the post concert shower makes me feel like I’ve just lost a fight, and I’m trying to wash away the memory of a sucker punch to the collarbone or a kick to the stomach. A look in my foggy bathroom mirror reveals bruises to which I ask, “How the fuck did I get that one?” As I reach for some cotton balls and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the various cuts and scrapes I acquired, I have a smirk on my face because I know somewhere, someone else is taking a deep breath, thinking about the 240 pound dude in the Beyond the Permafrost shirt that put them on their ass. But, you know, it’s all in good fun no matter how brutal things get in the pit, and Thursday night was no exception. The Black Dahlia Murder, Nile, Skeletonwitch, and Hour of Penance came to The House of Blues to present to us their musical stylings… and make it a rough night for those who chose to participate in the mosh.

“Fuck,” I said as I arrived to the venue. It was a sell out show, and the line may have literally been a quarter mile long. The wait made a majority of us miss Hour of Penance, unfortunately. I made my way inside The House of Blues as they were wrapping up, and people were leaving the pit area as I situated myself in the middle of it. A wave of nerves suddenly hit me. I was about to see my favorite band, and possibly get torn to shreds. I sized everyone up as best I could, making awkward eye contact with folks as I put on my best serial killer face. Before I knew it curtains rose, and Chance Garnette gave us the signature greeting where he introduces the band, the state they’re from, and encourages us to commit misdemeanors. From then on, Skeletonwitch was the soundtrack to me pummeling anyone within in 5 foot radius. Things got off to a quick start with “Erased and Forgotten,” and “Submit to the Suffering” being the first two songs of the entirely new set. I did my best to not get completely immersed in the mosh so I could observe what was happening on stage.

Skeletonwitch are a band whose energy is always reciprocated by the fans. I’ve never seen a lame ass crowd at one of their shows, due to them being excellent performers, and having a truly evil sound that I haven’t yet heard from another thrash band. There’s just an aura of pure bad ass that surrounds them. I think a lot of it has to do with vocalist Chance Garnette. He’s got the charisma of a young Charles Manson, and his growls are the voice of every imaginary monster I conjured up during my childhood. You can’t help but focus on him as he stalks the stage, and spits his hate at you ever so menacingly while the band is shredding your face off.

Skeletonwitch’s set was comprised of mostly new material, but dipped into the older records as they played songs such as “Beyond the Permafrost,” “Crushed Beyond Dust,” and the usual closer “Within My Blood.” I spent a majority of their set running over people, and getting knocked around but I was so goddamn happy to be a part of it. At the very end of their set, I took my Skeletonwitch bandana off and held it to the sky as I got props in the form of devil horns from Chance. Epic. Aren’t I glad to have spent 92 bucks on the Forever Abomination super collector’s bundle?

After Chance Garnette instructed us all to “eat some fucking pussy!!!,” I went outside to nurse my wounds for a bit. I came back into the pit to check out Nile for the very first time. The extent of my knowledge of these guys is that my best friend named her two cats after Metal bands, and one of them was Nile. That’s it. A shame, isn’t it? After I was forcefully thrown onto some unsuspecting concertgoers who were less than pleased by the antics of us miscreants, I left the pit area and spent a majority of their set observing from the bar with 11 dollar tall can in hand, and I was really pleased by what I heard. Every cliche that metal journalists (not calling myself a journalist, I swear!) use to describe a band’s sound are about to be used. Nile were:

Crushing.
Brutal.
Bone crunching.
Technical as fuck or TAF. (Hoping that catches on)
Sick.
Heavy.
KARL SANDERS IS GOD.
Literally so enjoyable your eyes explode, ears bleed, colon gets pulled through your belly button etc.

Basically, they’re everything I want a death metal band to sound like, and I’m upset that it took me this long to discover them. Nile played some tracks from their latest album, Those Whom the Gods Detest, as well as playing songs from past records, and their upcoming album At the Gates of Sethu. I ended up buying Those Whom the Gods Detest via iTunes later that night, and I’ve been jamming it non-stop since.

The Black Dahlia Murder came out to close the show, and holy shit what a job they did. I’ve never seen a band get as much pop in L.A. as The Black Dahlia Murder did on Thursday. This was my first time seeing them live, and I was pretty amazed at how clean, and tight they are. I suppose that comes with 10+ years of being a group, but everything sounded extremely clear. Trevor Strnad’s vocals were easy to follow, and Ryan Knight didn’t miss a note when soloing. I swear I’ve never heard precision on a guitar like that before. The crowd was going apeshit from the very start of the set, which began with “A Shrine to Madness,” till the very end of the show. One of my favorite moments of the night was when The Black Dahlia Murder played “On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood.” The pit looked extremely cool on the breakdown outro, everyone was participating in a violent back-and-forth sway that was mesmerizing to watch.

This show was a blast. I finally got the chance to mosh with Skeletonwitch, I was exposed to new (Nile) music, and I watched The Black Dahlia Murder give an incredible performance. Definitely worth all of the bruises I earned throughout the night. I just hoped that I didn’t gas myself out for the Metal Alliance 2012 show scheduled for the very next day. Yikes.



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