Soulfly and Nile
UC Theatre, Berkeley
May 16, 2018
Photos and review of Skinlab by Pollen Heath.
Metal fans were treated to an astounding display of punishing grooves and heavy guitar riffing on Thursday night at the UC Theatre as both Nile and Soulfly put on a fantastic show.
Soulfly headlined the night, with a tight and precise set that spanned the band’s entire recorded output. The band wasted no time going for the throat with the vicious opener “Frontlines,” a song punctuated by Max Cavalera’s aggressive de-tuned guitar riffing and gruff vocals. Soulfly songs are an assault on the senses, with many songs relying on pummeling rhythms and atonal vocals to get their message across. This was the case a few songs later the stomping “Fire,” a track that relied on Zyon Cavalera’s furious drum attack and another caustic vocal performance from his father, who enticed the crowd to open the mosh pit and start moving.
There were still plenty of surprises though, with the song “Mars” standing out amongst the remaining songs in the set. While the track started out as a typical hardcore thrash fest, halfway through the distortion cut out as Zyon Cavalera and bassist Mike Leon locked into a spacey drum/bass groove as lead guitarist Marc Rizzo emerged with an acoustic guitar to rip through a stunning guitar solo that recalled classical flamenco sounds, before eventually settling into a reggae-influenced jam.
This moment of brevity was short-lived however, as Soulfly continued to pile on the metal for the rest of the set, even managing to pull out a stunning cover of the Nailbomb song “Wasting Away.” While many metal fans still clamor for Cavalera to make nice with the members of Sepultura and reunite, Soulfly have proved once again that they are a force to be reckoned with and that they are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Nile is one of the most technically proficient bands on the planet, and they proved this to be true once again as the group shredded trough an inspired eleven-song set. The band made their intent clear from the beginning, as the triumphant intro to the classic song “Ramses Bringer of War” blared over the PA. The intro, a nod to the classic Gustav Holst piece “Mars, the Bringer of War,” eventually gave way to a torrent of brutal double bass drum blasts from George Kollias and plenty of inhuman guitar acrobatics from Brian Kingsland and Karl Sanders.
Next up was the fan-favorite, “Sacrifice Unto Sebek,” which injected just a bit of melody before dissolving into a sea of blast beats and atonal death metal growls from Sanders and Kingsland. Bassist Brad Parris really shined on this song, who managed the always-arduous task of keeping up with the guitarists and managed to inject plenty of speedy runs throughout.
A few songs later the band rolled out a newer song in the form of the title track from 2015’s excellent What Should Not Be Unearthed album. While the piece was a bit slower than the normal Nile song, that did not make it any less technically demanding or brutal.
The band’s sheer musical ability is overwhelming to witness in a live setting. While many bands struggle to make complex music come through the sound system sounding clean, Nile had no trouble nailing every single note.
Simply put, Nile are one of the best death metal bands around and for good reason: their devastating live shows leave a lasting impact in the minds of everyone who seems them perform.
Bay Area groove metal icons, Skinlab, kicked off this line up in a darkly supreme style and brought down the house with their rhythmic groove metal sound.
Setlist: Frontlines | Prophecy | Fire | Porrada | Blood Fire War Hate | L.O.T.M. | Sodomites | Rise of the Fallen | Mars | No Hope = No Fear | Downstroy | Wasting Away (Nailbomb cover) | Back to the Primitive | Jumpdafuckup / Eye for an Eye
Find out more about Soulfly on their website.
Setlist: Ramses Bringer of War | Sacrifice Unto Sebek | The Black Flame | Defiling the Gates of Ishtar | Kafir! | Call to Destruction | In the Name of Amun | What Should Not Be Unearthed | The Fiends Who Come to Steal the Magick of the Deceased | Sarcophagus | Black Seeds of Vengeance
Check out Nile on their Facebook here.
Setlist: Slave the way | Scream at the world | Second skin | Exelerate | Dead Tomorrow | Face of aggression
Get all the dirt on Skinlab on their Facebook page.