SXSW Showcase Reviews

Live Shots
Photo by Sandy Carson


Barbarella Patio, Wednesday, March 14

Illinois metal act Nachtmystium's set kicked off with a tedious, perplexingly long sound check where the snare was beaten, the sound tweaked, and then the drum beaten ad infinitum. Late and burdened with dampened momentum, the band seemed to start at a loss – a challenge it readily accepted and pummeled with a full 45 minutes of expansive metal touching on thrash and black and progressive flavors. Led by guitarist/vocalist Blake Judd, whose throaty voice is neither abhorrently guttural nor possibly mistaken for anything but metal, Nachtmystium played within the bounds of focused riffing trading off with almost ambient soundscapes thanks to keyboardist Sanford Parker, who brought Neurosis-style texture into the mix when he wasn't spitting into the crowd. The set was career-encompassing, with everything from 2004's "Ashes to Ashes" making an appearance alongside newer material from the not-even-wrapped and tentatively titled Silencing Machine. Maybe the extended drum and mic check at the start of the show was direly necessary, or maybe it didn't help a lick. Either way, by the time the band had wrapped up, horns were still in the air, and the crowd was more than ready for High on Fire.

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