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Live review: Nile, Immolation, Krisiun, Dreaming Dead @ House of Blues

Photos and review by Cosmo Lee

Stage right, House of Blues: that was the place to be in Hollywood last Tuesday. Either that, or the Ozzy Osbourne book signing down the street. For all the human effluent on its sidewalks, I am always surprised to find anything good on the Sunset Strip. Amid the rock star wannabes, the rock star burnouts, and their hides of borrowed time, I saw a young kid in a Black Sabbath shirt. All is not lost.

Come to think of it, stage right HOB trumped meet/greet OZZ. For starters, the performers at HOB actually wanted to be there. They also had bigger amps. I always go to shows expecting the worst in sound. Often I am right. But tonight the sound engineer killed it. For all the bands — Dreaming Dead, Krisiun, Immolation, and Nile (never mind the opening emo deathcore disaster called Rose Funeral) — stage right housed the shredders. The guitarists had great tones, the kind that cause babies to be made. Urrgh!

Dreaming Dead

Dreaming Dead recently acquired Laura Christine, of Warface and Meldrum. This shored up the second guitarist position in a big way. Two female shredders in one metal band is still quite a novelty. Christine and vocalist/guitarist Elizabeth Elliott must know this, because at one point they stood together and struck a righteous Tipton/Downing pose. Flash bulbs popped furiously. Fast became faster, solos became bullets, and jaws hung limp everywhere.


Krisiun thanked the crowd as profusely as they crushed it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Krisiun are hell’s marching band. They’ve got the rat-a-tat-tat for your ass, and if it seems like they have one song — well, most bands don’t have any. Moyses Kolesne waves his axe around sometimes because it looks cool. But it looks even cooler when his fingers barely move, yet they spew lightning. Thank you, come again, those wounds should heal up soon.


Immolation stood and delivered in a big way. Their opening salvo was “Passion Kill” — “God will punish you! / God will torture you! / God will silence you! / God will destroy you!” — ironic in a venue that hosts weekly gospel brunches. (Almighty dollar reigns supreme.) Bob Vigna did his trademark ripping-notes-out-of-his-axe thing — how the hell is he so accurate on upstrokes? Ross Dolan thundered like a demonic priest with Crystal Gayle-ic hair. His neck must be made of steel to support such hirsute heaviness.

Dreaming Dead’s Elizabeth Elliott
joins Nile on guest vocals
during “Black Seeds of Vengeance”

I did not expect Nile to be one of the heaviest bands I’ve ever seen. They are known for speed, and drummer George Kollias did a good impression of a gun battery. But they must know that the slower stuff goes down a treat. The set was filled with big, doomy riffs, the kind that make people adopt spread-leg stances and do large air guitar. This made the fast bits seem even faster.

Kafir! (chorus)

But who cares about mechanics? I spent the set with my mouth agape, basking in the power. The chorus of “Kafir!” — an audacious whittling of the Islamic “There is no god but God” down to “There is no God” — flattened the venue. Somehow the band found a way to channel ancient Egypt in all its imagined violence and glory. Everything went perfectly — the sound, the songs, Karl Sanders’ many axe changes. (His custom KxK double-neck is a sight to behold). I hardly took pictures because I was too busy absorbing metal through every pore. By the end, I felt like I was made of adamantium.

– – –

Here is a nice story on Ross Dolan’s impromptu stint as Nile’s bus driver.

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