Another day, another concert review. It was a Wednesday in the middle of hell week for me, already working 30 hours with two more days to go, getting my ass whooped in jiu-jitsu for the second class straight. However, there was hope this Wednesday night, Rivers of Nihil was in town with a stacked lineup to play Where Owls Know my Name (what many considered to be the record of the year in 2018) in it’s entirety. The show took place at another venue I’m quite familiar with, the grimy club El Corazon. It’s sometimes listed as “the funhouse” now and I hate it, but I digress. The club is extremely small and intimate. No barrier to keep me and the DSLR safe so I had to keep my head on a swivel.
There were three or four local openers, but like I mentioned earlier I was busy getting my ass kicked at jiu-jitsu. So as soon as class was over, I rushed home, walked the dog and sped off to Seattle to catch as much of this lineup as I could. Luckily I walked into the venue during Wolf King’s set, and I don’t think I missed more than two songs.
Wolf King is an extremely high energy, self described “blackened hardcore” act. Genres are legitimately getting hard for me these days. They had some blast beats, hardcore moments, death metal vocals and black metal vocals. Like a lot of the bands on the bill tonight they were quite the amalgamation that I had a hard time honestly pigeonholing. it might sound like I’m complaining, (and I guess I am?) but I think it’s awesome when a band can come from diverse roots and put them together so smoothly. It just makes it hard to put their sound on paper. Wolf King blitzed through their set and got some moshing going, but the crowd was a bit sleepy early in the night. I do recommend seeing Wolf King wholeheartedly though. They put on a hell of a set and I really enjoyed their sound and fed off the energy they were pouring out.
After a nice water break and a perusal through the merch booths, Conjurer began to set up their gear and soundcheck. Conjurer is a UK act who is making their US debut on this tour. They keep their description simple with “UK-based riff metal” and while that is extremely simplified it definitely isn’t wrong. The dense wall of sound that this band creates is maddening. They quietly walked on stage, but when they started it was an absolute eruption. Both vocalists (both on guitar) had incredible voices that complimented each other super well. The bassist stood in the middle of the stage, being the only one with the freedom to move around and act as a frontman.
There was a lot of real emotion that seemed to bleed out during Conjurer’s set and it was palpable. At one point when the music was at a somber section, on of the guitarists took off his instrument and yelled his vocals to the crowd without a microphone. Every one in the venue could hear him and it was a powerful moment that stuck with me. At the end of their set the bassist jumped into the crowd and went wild with everyone while playing some of the heaviest sludge you’ll hear all year. The guitarists were going insane on stage throwing their guitars around with reckless abandon and I thought something or someone was going to break. But when the sound stopped they calmly packed their things thanked us and left. It was wild. DO. NOT. MISS.
Up next was the band I was the least familiar with, Entheos. This was a four-piece band with an extremely powerful frontwoman leading them. Her range was pretty stunning, but she would use a vocoder to “digitize” her voice every so often and it really took away from the music for me. They came across as a pretty technical maybe space themed act, so the voice may fit their theme, but I thought she sounded way better without the effects. For the rest of the band I was extremely impressed with the dynamic sound and technical prowess they showed. For just one guitarist,bassist and drummer they had a lot of different things going on. There was a djenty sound and a lot of guitar solos, plus some really incredible jazzy drum fills that were easily my favorite parts of their set. I enjoyed their performance, but I absolutely hated the fog machines they had going on during their whole set. It made it near impossible for me to get some good shots. And more importantly, that shit is so hard to breathe, I hate when bands flood tiny clubs with incense or fog machines. Overall though, they were quite an impressive band and I’m inclined to check out their recorded material.
Last but certainly not least was the main event, Rivers of Nihil! They came out all dressed in black with the lights low, setting the stage for what was sure to be a set worth remembering. And they did not disappoint. They even brought the saxophone player from Cyborg Octupus to cover in on those dissonant jazzy sections. Everyone in the band sounded perfect and the setlist was exactly how you’d expect, plus a few encores at the end. This was my third time seeing RIvers of Nihil so I knew exactly what to expect. The first time they were the second opener. The second time they were the co main event under Revocation. And finally they got the chance to headline their own tour. It’s been really cool getting to see them get so much deserved recognition. Go see them in these dirty intimate clubs while you still have the chance.
Now time for the bad news. Due to all the fog from Entheos before hand, and Rivers all being dressed in black with little to no lighting…… I got zero usuable photos during River’s set. I’m sorry to disappoint but I will leave you with some more pictures from the wildest set I’ve seen this year from the UK lads in Conjurer.
I’m pretty great. Just ask me, I’ll tell ya.