Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Alustrium, Black Fast and Rivers of Nihil at St Vitus Bar

New York City is magical because its big city nights are bigger and better than pretty much any one else's. Such was the case yesterday evening when some of the most exciting bands in the metal world descended on St Vitus Bar to bring the sort of sonic annihilation that makes this whole thing worth doing. So I sit here - reflecting on a trio of impressive death metal bands and the weirdness of mere hours ago as I listen to harsh noise and prepare to see where the rest of what promises to be an extremely weird day will take me.

Alustrium were the first band up, though they aren't part of the package they certainly could have been. I've been curious to see these guys for years ever since I first heard their 2011 EP An Absence Of Clarity. Though their set wasn't as tight as they may perhaps have wanted I found that their distinct riffing style, powerful overlays and sharp stage presence made them an exciting first band to watch. Though at times the fact that they had stage banners felt a little overblown and didn't quite fit the atmosphere, Alustrium clearly have big ambitions and I'm curious to see where that's going to take them.

My real highlight of the evening though was Black Fast - a band with a monstrous stage presence and oodles of hair flying just about everywhere. Black Fast are hard hitting and powerful metal masters, delivering weirdly angular riffs that sound like a sort of demented fusion between Death and Vektor. Despite their apparent technicality though the band does not fail to stay engaging. They draw you in and deliver every blasting chorus with a snarl. This is a band who define what modern death metal should be, combining distinct ideas and a unique vision with the sort of hyper energetic performance that even a non metal fan could love.

I've wanted to see Rivers of Nihil for years now and for some reason it has never really worked out before last night. With their bald muscle bound frontman and long locked guitar players this is a death metal band who look like a death metal band. As the band executed one devastating track after another I turned to a friend and said, "Damn, I forgot how good they are!" Because that's the thing - Rivers Of Nihil will fucking kill you if you let them. Few bands, especially in the modern sphere, have managed to as perfectly fuse grooves, technicality, brutality and simply good songwriting as well as Rivers Of Nihil have, and it's paying off dividends.

And so the evening came to a close. New friends were made and old friends were hugged. Beers were chugged and some even had the stamina to wander off to Duff's, Brooklyn's most famous metal bar. At the end of the night though, I had gotten what I wanted, the same sort of death metal absolution that resonates just as much with me now as it did all those years ago when I started attending shows in Paris. These bands proved something important last night, that no matter what, heavy music can find a way into your heart and still leave a mark.

Find the bands on Facebook!


Black Fast:

Rivers Of Nihil:

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