The Black Dahlia Murder w/ Nile, Skeletonwitch & Hour of Penance 04/05/12
House of Blues – West Hollywood, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito
I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better way to spend Good Friday Eve then with a quadruple shot of detuned death metal action. The line for the sold out House of Blues Sunset show wrapped around the block long before the doors opened with fans ready to mosh the night away. Once doors opened, the building buzzed with anticipation as fans slammed beers and discussed which of the night’s artists they were most looking forward to experiencing live.
Hour Of Penance
While the venues website stated that the music was to kick off at 8pm, the evenings first band Hour of Penance actually hit the stage at 7:30pm. Hailing from Italy (Rome to be exact) I know I was not alone in not knowing much about the four piece band. Likewise I was not alone in being instantly converted as a fan by the time they left the stage. For 25 minutes the band brought it hard as circle pits formed and fans went nuts. New songs like “Ascension” mixed well with older material like “Slavery In A Deaf Decay” and the set closing “Misconception.” I was very impressed and get the vibe that by the next time they make it to America they won’t be the first band performing on the bill.
Skeletonwitch made it clear from the second they hit the stage, they were there to drink beer and rock the fuck out. Mission Accomplished as the Ohio based band did exactly that. The set drew heavy from last year’s four star effort Forever Abomination. “This Horrifying Force (The Desire To Kill),” “Reduced To The Failure Of Prayer” and “Shredding Sacred Flesh” beat the capacity crowd into submission. I did have one major problem with the bands set and that is the fact they only got 30 minutes. I know they were second on the bill, but I assumed with the early start time they would have played for at least 45. Sadly that was not the case as the band said goodbye before launching into a spectacular version of “Within My Blood.”
Despite quick set changes, fans were ready for Nile the moment Skeletonwitch left the stage. With singer/songwriter Ryan Adams having already shared with me via Twitter that Nile was “intense” I was damn excited to finally see a band that has been making groundbreaking death metal for nearly 20 years. The group opened their main support set with the thunderous first track from their 2009 release Those Whom The Gods Detest. With it being Good Friday Eve, “Kafir!” was the logical opener as it gave the sweaty masses on the packed floor a chance to scream in unison “There Is No God.” Not even lead guitarists Karl Sanders Marshall Amp cutting in and out could stop the destructive onslaught Nile was brining onto the West Hollywood hot spot.
@ReverendJustito Nile are intense.
— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) April 6, 2012
Nile did an outstanding job of interacting with the crowd while cranking out a seven song career spanning set. Vocalist/guitarist Dallas Toler-Wade had fans scream in their best death metal voice before launching into a devastating version of “Sacrifice Unto Sebek.” Other highlights included tight versions of “Ithyphallic” and “Sacrophagus.” Much like Skeletonwitch, my only complaint was how short the set was. 40 minutes of Nile is simply not enough. After the band wrapped the set with “Black Seeds of Vengeance” fans chants for one more song were unfortunately not granted. While a few were seen heading for the exits, most crowd members just grabbed another beer of complimentary cup of ice water in a hope to hydrate before the night’s final act.
The Black Dahlia Murder
It was shy of 9 months ago that I caught my 5th performance by The Black Dahlia Murder and I was no doubt excited for round 6. Kicking things off with the 1-2 opening punch from their most recent studio effort Ritual; “A Shrine To Madness” and “Moonlight Equilibrium” took what had already been an insane pit and somehow managed to make it bigger and faster. For the next hour, the Michigan based melodic death metal heads played a career spanning set much to the delight of the crowd. “What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse” and “A Vulgar Picture” took it back a few years but it didn’t matter as fans react to all eras of The Black Dahlia Murder with equal enthusiasm.
I believe it was during “Conspiring With The Damned” that I thought of the perfect title for the set. It was A Night of 1000 First Bumps. Lead vocalist Trevor Strnad found a way to sneak in an even heavier dosage of arm raising fury than usual as the band blasted heavy hitters like “Den of The Picqurerist,” “Miasma” and “On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood.” Known for not playing encores, the set ended with a song from their debut album Unhallowed. “Funeral Thirst” gave fans one last chance to go bonkers in the pit and one final chance for Strand to raise his fists in the air while serving as the perfect exclamation point for an outstanding night of death metal mayhem.