Rivers of Nihil at Come and Take It Live, Austin, TX, 3/22/2019

Ooof.  I hope there is at least someone out there that appreciates the peril I put myself and my unguarded feet in to bring you tales from the pit.  Look, I’m old and somewhat fragile at this stage.  Luckily, I’ve managed to avoid any serious injuries during my travails in the sweaty and stinky clubs of Texas over the years.  This one, however, nearly took me down.

So, Rivers of Nihil has embarked on their first major Statewide trek promoting their latest ambitious album, Where Owls Know My Name.  I was a big fan of this album (#7 on the 2018 Best of Metal List) and of its attempt to break the formulaic mold of a lot of the technical death metal bands going these days.  It was a progressive break from their previous material and was notable for incorporating a saxophone player into the mix.  It was very different and it appears to have paid off for the band in cementing their reputation of being one of the forefront bands in the technical death metal scene.  I have seen these guys do their thing twice before, but it was only during 30 minute opening sets.  So, it was exciting to see how a full hour and fifteen minute set would play out.  The highlight of this tour was their full performance of their latest album complete with a touring saxophone player to bring the full impact.  And the band pulled it off perfectly.  You could tell that the crowd was really into the new material and especially lost their friggin’ minds every time the sax player came out.  The band finished up their set with a few older songs that were markedly different in their aggression compared to the new material.

As to my aforementioned peril.  So, if you’ve been to Come and Take It Live in Austin, you’ll understand that the main floor area if front of the stage isn’t that large.  Especially width-wise.  Well, as would have it, lead singer Jake Dieffenbach decided that it would be a good idea to have the crowd engage in a wall of death during one song.  If you aren’t familiar with this particular pit activity, it involves splitting the crowd in half and then at the pivotal moment of the song both halves of the crowd launch at each other Braveheart-style into a mass of flailing humanity.  So, my stupid old ass was by one wall and figured, “Huh, I’m kind of stuck here.  Well, there’s enough of a buffer of dudes that I should be OK.”  Nope.  The wall starts and dudes start flying around.  One unfortunate overweight soul lost his footing coming around in the ensuing circle pit and careens full weight right into my knee.  I really thought I was fucked and had blown out my knee at first.  However, after a couple of more songs, I was finally able to put some weight on it and I ended up escaping serious injury.  After some serious icing that night, everything seems to be OK.

I may be getting a little too old for this shit.  But them’s the price of admission if you’re going to rock ‘n roll.

The Silent Life

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