Gig report: Nile, Omophagia, Vapor, Confess- Zagreb, Croatia, 02.05.2023

Gig report: Nile, Omophagia, Vapor, Confess- Zagreb, Croatia, 02.05.2023

- in Reviews

It was pouring rain to the point of boredom that day. Seeing a band like Nile that almost literally blows desert winds through the stereo on a day like this, that’s a first. Nevertheless, it’s their fourth time coming here and my second one seeing them. The last time I saw them was in the ancient times of 2011 when they were on the road with Melechesh. That was the perfect combination if there ever was one. This time we were not so lucky but still we got three bands as support for Prof. Karl Sanders of the Egyptology Department and Friends.

The place of Egyptian education is again Boogaloo which I mentioned that it has its history of hit and miss sound, but we will get to that.

Of the three support bands we got Iranian groove/thrash metal Confess which has an interesting history, so much they ended up in the local newspapers in Croatia. I don’t know which one because I don’t read the news.  They started with the ”Inch of Sand in Hourglass” at 19:30 to a small size audience which is a shame because they are an interesting band. Nothing that I would personally call a homerun but their commitment to their craft is commendable. As I mentioned their band history is a story to tell; two members of the band Nikan Khosravi (guitars, vocals) and Arash Ilkhani (samples, backing vocals) were jailed in their country of Iran on November 10th of 2015 for expressing so-called anti-religious and anti-regime sentiments. Nikan got a bonus of 74 lashes because the Middle East is just that lovely place to be. After 18 months they bailed and got their ass to Norway where they were granted asylum. 10 points for the Scandinavians.

Back to the gig…

Confess was at the beginning greeted by a small size audience and we were greeted by a vacuous sound that I had a feeling that it playing soccer through their whole setlist. Pretty much loud and hard to distinguish what the hell is going on, musically speaking. But that did little to stop the band to give their best; frequent communication with the audience, fist pumps, bass player taking a stroll down with the audience during their ”Phoenix Rising” song which is from their new album Revenge at All Costs, and even weaving the Croatian flag at the end which is a nice touch. Not to mention that Nikan wore a Luka Modric jersey, our famous Croatian soccer player. I could care less about soccer in general, but I’m sure that the majority of the audience liked it quite a bit. Dig their music or not, it is a band worth checking out just out of respect especially if you like Samuel L. Jackson. You gonna hear him a lot in their samples.

Vapor kicked in and speeded things up. A thrash metal band from North California, which was graced with a better sound and more audience in the numbers.  Similar to Confess their audience interaction was quite solid and the crowd was very much into them. There is a lot of speed in their music which was very much needed. I’m not the biggest fan of their studio works, but their music sounds very good live although definitely will not move the mountains of reinventing the wheel. But for a kickass roaring thrash metal act they definitely fill the bill. They had toured with Destruction and Nervosa and its shows in their professionalism on the stage and the whole attitude and vibe.

Last of the support band was Omophagia, Swiss death metal (with a bit of a technical side of it) from Zurich. Probably the only band besides Nile, I was quite interested to see solely by listening to their records. I must say that they were definitely the band with the strangest sound of the night. The drums’ sound, especially the kick was all over the place. As I mentioned, club Boogaloo has a hit-and-miss history with band sound checks and this night was more on the miss. The number of the audience was not helping either, there was so much free space that you bring up another band with drum sets, guitars, and all and do your gig in the crowd with little to no effort.

You guys who came only to see Nile; suck a poser’s dick. When you come to a show, you see and support all the bands. They are here to play for you, whether the sound was good or not. It’s worth mentioning that we were standing pretty much at the center while people who were in the first rows said that the sound was great. Nevertheless, from our standpoint the second guitar was barely audible, the drums sound was awfully strange, and the vocals… oh boy. The musical side of Omophagia is great, it’s diverse, it knows when it’s time to be technical and it knows when to go balls to the wall but any type of vocalist besides Beni would be a million times better fit than him. Imagine a technical death metal band with a Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist with a bad throat. Despite that, they got the audience going, there were first mosh pits happening and by the end of their set, the club was finally getting piled up.

Just in time for Nile. During their 20-minute line check I must add that is one the easiest time getting right in the first row in recent memory.  About Nile, if you don’t know them I have no idea why are you reading this. For more than 25 years metalheads are learning about Egypt thanks to them. Although on the last couple of albums, I have a bit of mixed feelings they still got it and in spades. Considering them live; you wished you can see their performance three times. First time to headbang to their music with such ferocity that your neck muscles will get so big that Corpsegrinder would be proud. Second time just to watch and observe what the hell is going on with the band, watching Karl Sanders shredding its guitars and doing vocals that only be described as a desert whirlwind. Third time just to watch George fucking Kollias behind one of the most massive drum sets that you have a chance to see.

The show opened with ”Sacrifice Unto Sebek” from Annihilation of the Wicked, a great start to their set, and then ”Defiling the Gates of Ishtar” from Black Seeds of Vengeance just shredding next. It’s worth mentioning that the set list is an excellent mix of old and new with the majority of aforementioned albums. For us older fans this is more than a treat. In the beginning, again the sound was a bit at its odds but on the third song Kafir everything came to its place sound-wise. We in the first row did not notice, we were too busy head-banging like maniacs. My main complaint is that I sorely miss the “official” lineup. It’s awesome to see Karl Sanders and Kollias how they’re doing their magic but having a consistent lineup can go a long way. Live members Julian David Guillen (bass, vocals) and Scott Eames (guitars, vocals) are doing a fantastic job but you can’t get past the feeling that you are watching half a band with hired mercs. Nevertheless, the musicianship is up to skill and every track is proof of the high quality of Nile, old and new. The highlights definitely are ”The Howling of Jinn”, ”Sarcophagus”, ”Annihilation of the Wicked”, and of course ”Black Seeds of Vengeance”. Once again, Croatia was flooded by the Nile!


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