Melechesh, Dew-Scented, Zonaria, Darkrise
Eightball Club, Thessaloniki, Greece

I can hardly recall when the Greek crowd and especially in Thessaloniki, we had the chance to see a package of five bands touring together. So, as you can understand, this whole event was special from the very beginning, as it is seldomly happening and also, we can hardly tell if and when it’s going to happen again. Of course, some things remain the same no matter the efforts of the promoters, and as usual, this gig was not honoured by the presence of fans, as we were about 250 people only there. And what makes things worse is that this leg of touring stopped ONLY in Thessaloniki this time, concerning Greece. No matter the narrow mindedness of the ones who didn’t attend the show, we can surely tell we had hell of a time and every minute of it was worth, without big delays between the bands’ sets and with great sound to all the bands.

Darkrise from Switzerland were the first ones to step on the stage. Unfortunately, as it happens most of the times (not to say always), the first and opening band has the drawback to play for limited crowd attended to each show. However, their brutal death metal style managed to leave the few metalheads satisfied. They didn’t tire us at all and despite they didn’t have the response they’d like, they were honest in what they did. Their love for bands like Immolation and Spawn Of Possession was found also on the t-shirts the guitar player and the singer were wearing (the drummer was wearing an Anthrax one, respect!) and on the 25 minutes they had, they played six songs. They have three albums called ”Massive Retaliation”, ”Unbeliever” and ”Built” released in 2003, 2006 and 2009. Check them out, they deserve at least one good listening.

Zonaria from Umea, Sweden are the typical band who seemed to form only to get cheeks to get laid. I explain in order not to get misunderstood. If we surpass the fact that they appeared on the stage with a kind of lame Hellraiser-like suits and with guns hanging from their impressively expensive trousers, they sound like a third degree of Dimmu Borgir wannabes. I like their two albums ”Infamy And The Breed” (2007) and ”The Cancer Empire” (2008) and they played well. I can’t accuse them of not giving 100% on the stage. But it seems it’s all about the image so much, that everything goes into a downfall. Even the good voice of the Glen Danzig clone singer and their good drummer. They must do something with their bass player, as he looks as scary as The Predator from the same titled movie. Geeks! With some hard work, they can become better for sure.

Dew-Scented were like redemption for us all. German THRASH metal in the modern way and the veins of (good) old Slayer. Leif Jensen on the vocals friendly as we know him, started spitting venom from the beginning of ”Arise From Decay”, and despite a problem on the drums, the relentless assault continued with ”Turn To Ash” (somebody find my neck please) and ”Cities Of The Dead” (thrash groove holocaust). After these, we had ”Never To Return” and the new ”Critical Mass” from the phenomenal album ”Invocation”. With ”Soul Poison” the last remnants of endurance started to abandon my trempled body and my brain took over to bang my soulless head, before ”Condemnation” and ”Acts Of Rage” leave us unable to breathe properly. If they had played at least one song from ”Inwards”, I know at least 5 people that could tear the place apart. Much better than their first time here, they deserve a full show. SOON!

Melechesh were the pleasant surprise of the night. Not because we don’t know how much good band they are, but mainly because they managed to produce this oriental blackish metal in the best possible way. Starting with songs of their latest brilliant album ”The Epigenesis”, such as ”Illumination:The Face Of Shamash” and ”Sacred Geometry” (my favourite one), they had a great sound as an ally and they continued with great tracks such as ”Deluge Of Delusional Dreams” and ”Ladders To Sumeria” from the also great album ”Emissaries”, with ”Rebirth Of The Nemesis” from that album closing the set. Of course they played two more from the new album, being ”Grand Gathas Of Baal Sin” and ”Ghouls Of Nineveh” and there was also ”Triangular Tattvic Fire” from ”Sphynx”, the album that got me into them. They didn’t play anything from the first two albums but the crowd was more than pleased. Musicians that play with soul. I want to see them as soon as possible again.

Nile need no introductions. Basically they need no criticism but someone must tell what happened there in this devastating hour they fucked the place up. Their newest album ”Those Whom The Gods Detest” was another perfect example how much they have taken the whole genre from the hand and driven it to a whole new level. Logical as it seems, they represented half of the songs of their newest effort, with ”Kafir!” opening the set and Dallas chanting ”THERE IS NO GOD BUT GOD” and Chris Lollis on the main vocals being unleashed at every second. Karl Sanders on the other corner enjoying the role of the chief and smashing the six string into pieces with every riff and the pride of Greece named George Kollias playing with closed eyes and devastating every drum wannabe’s dreams with his playing. And it was only the start.

”Sacrifice Unto Sebek” eases things a bit (!?), before ”Hittite Dung Incantation” unleashed the hundred curses of the pharaohs inside the club. Suddenly there is a threatening feeling we’re surrounded by mummies and ”Serpent Headed Mask” from the monumental debut album ”Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka” brings the eternal sands of time around us, so as ”Ithyphallic” could make us suffocate much easier. The sound is colossal and the riffs are gigantic like the beasts of the ancient Egyptian prophecies. Maybe the best moment of the whole night. Coming three new ones, played as in the album in a row, with the title track being first, ”The 4th Arra Of Dagon” following (with the tremendous ”ARRA, ARRA, ARRA” and ”DAGON, DAGON, DAGON” chant) and ”Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld” showing us why George Kollias is the main reason that Nile have evolved SO much since his departure in the band.

The last part of the show included some older ones such as ”Sarcophagus”, which Sanders dedicated to Kollias, and straight after that, ”Lashed To The Slave Stick” prepared the final war, which came with ”Black Seeds Of Vengeance” and all people’s hands up to the air after a triumphant performance, by far the best of Nile in Greece. Sanders couldn’t hide his smile during and after the show, being kind with everyone and taking pictures with everybody approaching him. Dallas has the hand of doom in death metal, relentless riffing, even by a shaved skillet. Lollis is hella gigantic bass player, accompanying Kollias who felt like home after many years, to create an inpenetretable rhythm section. We will remember this show for many reasons in the future. If we manage to come up to the surface. For we are still buried. Beneath Eternal Oceans Of Sand…

Report:Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.
Photos: Louis Konstantinou photography.