MAY 1st 2014
Review By: Anka
Photos By: Peter Ruttan

We don’t usually party for 3 days in a row in Vancouver, but when we do, it’s because there’s a major metal event every night. And this is exactly what happened between May 1st and May 3rd 2014, or in other words, a metal may-hem weekend to remember, thanks to The Invisible Orange and Scrape Records.

The first night of the 3-day may-hem at the Rickshaw Theater saw a packed, sold-out venue and hundreds of ecstatic fans amped to see one of the most awaited metal acts on Canadian territory: Nile. It was a long wait for their first show here, when most diehard fans had to travel across the border to see this band, but finally the waiting was over.  Not surprisingly, quite a few people travelled from around BC and Alberta for this show. From the very beginning the venue was pretty packed, and with a limited number of tickets left at the door, it was obvious this would quickly sell out. Clearly, this was a complete package that was very hard to pass.

What happens when you are a “privileged” metalhead living in Vancouver? You get some of the best possible opening acts for such a show - Auroch and Infernal Majesty- altogether a rather polarized combo but with a common penchant for crushing riffs. While Auroch is a relatively new band which is now gaining some international recognition among the underground fanatics, it has a significant local following thanks to the constant live presence, always marked by unruly and blistering death metal. At a somewhat opposite pole, Infernal Majesty is a long-reigning name that needs no introduction – except maybe to a few very young metal fans – but due to its rare live appearances it has become quite a treat to see. With an intense performance, the blackened thrash assault shattering any peaceful thoughts one may have had, the band’s set only lacked a better sound during the first few tracks. But it’s all good when the swarming pit of frantic fans grows wider, even though this time the moshers seemed a bit more reserved than I expected; eventually it all made sense, since I found myself adopting a similar stationary attitude, just watching and obeying the mighty riff.
Nile took the stage around 9:30, which is actually an early time for a headliner here, but surely, the right time to have everyone in for the most awaited part of the night.  Their 90 minute set left no one unhappy. Maybe because they played tracks off their last album “At the Gate of Sethu” which was well received two years ago, or maybe because the selected tracks from (almost all) past albums have proven to be a satisfying choice for all fans. What I noticed in Nile’s show is that extreme heavy riffing and speed definitely feel even “heavier” and “faster” live, so much that few could resist the urge to move. This time, the crammed moshpit gained huge proportions and everyone up to the back of the room was headbanging. Nile had an incredible stage presence, from spectacular windmilling and constant crowd interaction to jaw-dropping skill demonstrations. Add their unique brand of Egyptian-themed death metal with technical elements, and you can’t wish for something more special than this. In many ways, opening bands aside, Nile itself was a complete package that night.
I think we all learnt a few lessons here: Nile is one of those bands that is worth waiting for and seeing even if you’re not a big fan. Secondly, Vancouver has an awesome metal scene – and here’s hoping more bands that visit our city will be able to see that.