Nile / Infernal Majesty / Auroch Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver BC, May 1

Nile / Infernal Majesty / Auroch Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver BC, May 1
Photo: Sarah Kitteringham
Vancouver's metal heads may not be overtly present in high traffic areas during daylight hours, but they come out at night and dominate the streets. On East Hastings, the street where addiction sadly flourishes, crusties and metallers alike get their fix at Funky Winker Beans and the decaying Rickshaw. It was the latter for which Nile performed their first ever-Canadian tour, an extremely limited run that only touched down in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, with hand-selected openers in every city that were well chosen.

Vancouver natives Auroch opened the show, which was deservedly dominated by excellent, technical-but-not-tech-death metal bands with great connections. Although the sound was muddy and guitarist Sebastian Montesi's solos were lost to the ether, the Lovecraftian worshippers were in top form, glistening with sweat and a complete assault to the senses. Shortly after their set ended, the condensed, grungy theatre was packed. The show by that point had evidently sold out, to no one's surprise.

Decked out in enough leather to make Halford do a double take, Toronto-born and Vancouver-based Infernäl Mäjesty was surprising. Given that the band has nearly 27 years of inconsistent history under their belt, it was unusual that their newest songs were the most exciting and energetic in a live context. The sound remained muddy until later in the set, which certainly did not aid the band's blackened death thrash, but once it was appropriately adjusted they thrived.

By the time Egyptian-themed death metallers Nile hit the stage at 9:30 p.m., the crowd was salivating, drunk and incredibly stoned. The early part of their lengthy set was dominated by tracks from 2012's At the Gate of Sethu, and immediately Karl Sanders and company laid on the stage presence. Windmill headbanging, plenty of crowd interaction and razorsharp riffs and blast beats were delivered and expertly executed, and within minutes topless bros formed a pulsating pit.

As the set continued, the band went back, playing songs from across their discography, including a never before played crystalline rendition of "Unas slayer of the Gods." Both Sanders and guitarist/vocalist Dallas Toler-Wade unleashed undeniably powerful vocals, delivering alternating guttural howls and higher, raspy growls. As the last notes rang out on "Black Seeds of Vengeance," it was clear this show would be one of the best we all attended this year. Thank you Nile. Please come back soon.