An amazing night of Death Metal at Birmingham’s Asylum saw the Rising Merch Faces Of Death Tour featuring Rivers Of Nihil, Fallujah, Allegaeon, Inferi and Harbinger. The tour is playing 24 dates across 12 European Countries through November and December.
Rivers Of Nihil – Fallujah – Allegaeon – Inferi – Harbinger
Asylum, Birmingham – 30 November 2022
Words and Photography: Andy Shaw
It was an early start, with London-based five-piece Harbinger kicking off the evening at 6.15 pm. A powerful sound got a rather full Asylum up and running, opening with Prayer Of Deliverance before moving into The Dance Of Species.
The set was beset with issues for vocalist Dilan Alves, with his mic cutting in and out, but the show must go on, and the band – bassist Kris Aarre, drummer Joel Scott, guitarists Ben Sutherland and Charlie Griffiths – kept going. Hate File was next before the Antagonist and some blistering twin guitar playing. A letter To Anguish followed before finishing off with Descendants, then Guile.
Harbinger will definitely not be opening events like this for long, as they will surely move up the order. A great start to the evening
Next up were Inferi, an American Melodic Death Metal band from Nashville, Tennessee, with vocalist Steve Boiser cutting an impressive figure with his long dreads and amazing vocals. They kicked off with two tracks, No Gods But Our Flesh and Maelstrom Prison, from their latest album Vile Genesis.
They soon got into their stride and delivered a blistering short but sweet set. Next was Eldritch Evolution, from their 2001 EP Of Sunless Realms, then Behold The Bearer Of Light from Revenant.
The crowd were really getting into it, and it was then their last track Aeons Torn.
The turn round of bands was really quick, and we were treated to another short but sweet set from Allegaeon, who hail from Colorado. It also sees the return of original vocalist Ezra Haynes, who stalks the stage like a praying mantis, constantly providing a brilliant focal point for the band.
They open with Gray Matter Mechanics – Appassionata Ex Machina from Proponent For Sentience before Ezra exclaims, “all I can see are smiles.” Then into two tracks from their new album Damnum – Vermin and Into Embers.
Greg Burgess and Michael Stancel on guitars are a brilliant foil for Ezra. Next is an amazing version of 1.618 from Elements Of The Infinite before finishing with Behold (God I Am).
Before leaving the stage, Ezra says, “It’s been a long tour, and we are exhausted, but you make it happen.” As I said, short and sweet but very much to the point. Brilliant.
Again after another quick change round – obviously, a well-oiled machine – Califonia-based Fallujah enter the fray. They are brilliant exponents of Technical Death Metal, and tonight is no exception.
Kicking off with The Void Alone from Dreamless, they show why they are so highly regarded. Kyle Schaefer’s vocal dexterity is amazing, from growling to singing and back again to compliment the amazing Scott Carstairs on guitar. Scott says, “We have a new album out – Empyrean – anyone got it?” Loud cheers from the Asylum crowd followed. “We are going to play a few from that.”
Which they do – Radiant Ascension, Embrace Oblivion and Into the Eventide were brilliant versions of these songs with drummer Andrew Baird and bassist Evan Brewer providing the perfect backdrop to the songs.
Amber Gaze from Dreamless is next, followed by Eden’s Lament again from Empyrean. They finish the set with Carved From Stone from The Flesh Prevails and another from Empyrean – Mindless Omnipotent Master.
Next time they are touring, you must get to see these guys. Truly awesome.
Rivers Of Nihil
Finally, the brilliant Rivers Of Nihil, a Technical Death Metal band from Reading, Pennsylvania. To be honest, we were not sure about how this would pan out as, prior to this tour, the band announced that they had parted ways with lead singer and founder member Jake Dieffenbach, leaving Adam Biggs to play bass and take over the vocals.
We needn’t have worried, as Biggs did an awesome job. The bulk of the set was from their latest album, The Work starting with The Void From Which No Sound Escapes, which saw Biggs and lead guitarist and fellow founder member Brody Uttley get going with some amazing musicianship.
A Home was next from Where Owls Know My Name, followed by Sand Baptism from Monarchy. The Asylum crowd loved every second with Rivers Of Nihil proving they are one of the best at their chosen genre.
Next was another from The Work, Focus, followed by a stunning version of The Silent Life from Where Owls Know My Name.
Drummer Jared Klein and guitarist Andy Thomas were the perfect foils to Biggs and Uttley. Three more tracks from the amazing The Works album followed Clean, MORE? And Episode, before finishing with a blockbusting version of the title track of their third album, Where Owls Know My Name.
A brilliant way to end a night of stunning Death Metal in all its forms.