Rotting Christ, Borknagar and more at Exit/In Venue (2022)
Exit/In Venue (Nashville, Tennessee)
Rotting Christ, Borknagar, Abigail Williams, Ghost Bath, Vale Of Pnath, Stormruler
May 11, 2022
I have heard of the legendary venue that is Exit/In but have never been there until this show. I must say, I was impressed. The venue is small but not overly—even when floor became crowded, I was still having a comfortable experience. But the sound of the venue is what is most impressive. Despite the small nature of the room and the obviously big sound from the bands, it wasn't super loud and everything could be heard clearly, no matter where you stood. I definitely hope to see more shows here.
STORMRULER opened the night for us. Having formed in 2019 and just having one album under their belt, this band was the least experienced of the six. However, after their vicious set, I am confident they will be around for a long time to come—and won't be regulated to opening for too much longer. Their brand of black metal is epic as hell—and full of delicious melodies and ripping solos. Vocalist Jason Asberry has solid blackened screams, which were loud and clear. But it is his guitar playing that really burned up the night. It has been a long time since I've seen someone play guitar as fast—and yet smooth-as him. His fingers were so fast, they were a blur as they picked the guitar strings to pieces.
J. Schobel's drumming was fast yet tight and crisp—he definitely provided that much need hard hitting rhythm while also being a spectacle and vessel of energy himself. They looked they were having a ton of fun on stage and it is clear they walked away with quite a few fans. At the very least, they pumped us up for VALE OF PNATH.
They have three guitarists but their multi layered music demands it to be so. Their style can go from searing to introspective at a moments notice. As many heavy riffs as the guitars pump out, there is also plenty of ambient and post elements as well. Even when things were clean, quiet, and atmospheric it was still extreme in its own way. Dennis Mikula's vocals were one of the highlights of the entire show—he is just some kind of beast. I really enjoyed their set and was happy to see they seem to have a decent following.
Speaking of which, every member of this band was smiling—anyone could see they were having a grand old time up there on stage. It has been 24 years or so since their last North American tour, and their first tour in general for True North, so maybe that is why they were so happy. Even the usually stoic Oystein G. Brun, had a smirk under his beard. Their set list was pretty great too and a decent overall display of their more modern era.
I want to specifically mention two songs from their set: "Up North," and "Voices." These are the two of the singles from their now three year old album "True North," and obviously very popular songs. But when they played these two, it became an enchanting and magical experience. The crowed sang each song along with the band as long as possible and even the bands members that don't do vocals could be singing each of these songs to themselves. Clearly, these songs mean a lot not only to us fan but the band members as well. I just love that; I love knowing musicians write songs they truly care about it because that isn't always the case with some. I got into more depth about it in my interview with Lars but "Voices," is a very special to me and I'm glad it seems to resonant with many others as well. I think these two will be in the set list for the band for many years.
They also had the most clear sound too. Every bass note, every cymbal crash, every little lead or melody….it all came out raging yet coherent. Sakis' voice has held up very well—no offense to him but he is probably one of the oldest guys in the scene but you can't tell with the way he moves, plays, or sounds. The dude, and the band, has earned their legendary status.
Thus ended an epic night of metal and I hope every band is able to continue their success and make it back to Nashville.
Written by: Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier
Photos by: Joe "Chockflopple" Wittenmeier