(NCS guest contributor The Baby Killer is back with us again, this time with an introduction to Rivers of Nihil.)
There’s a reason why people say if you want to find some of the best music, look to the underground. That’s where you’ll find bands who aren’t playing for a paycheck or releasing the same predictable, formulaic album over and over again, bands who are playing simply because they love what they do and want to be heard. To put it simply, underground bands just try harder, and once in a while a genuinely gifted act comes along that stands head and shoulders above the competition. Reading, Pennsylvania’s own Rivers of Nihil is one such band.
Now there are plenty of local unsigned acts who can write cool riffs and get your head bobbin’ and your feet tappin’, but it takes something really special to make you sit back and say, “Holy shit, that’s a bunch of locals playing that?” Rivers do just that with their personal brand of technical death metal, a unique blend of Aborted, The Red Chord, and a splash of Diminishing Between Worlds-era Decrepit Birth.
It’s certainly fast and heavy enough to keep the pits moving, but it also has just the right amount of atmosphere and melody to keep you interested the whole time. Blast beats and bass diddily-doo’s abound without being overbearing, and the guitars and harsh, almost-hardcore-but-not-quite vocals keep everything grounded.
Of course that all sounds great on CD, but everyone knows the driving force behind an underground band isn’t their recordings but rather their live performance, and ladies and gentlemen, Rivers of Nihil is easily one of the tightest local bands I’ve seen in a VERY long time.
I had the good fortune to see them open for Boston slam heavyweights Dysentery a week or so ago, and their precision is unmatched by the vast majority of their peers. It seriously sounded like I was listening to a really loud CD, and anyone who’s played in a band knows that that’s an impressive feat. Mark my words, if they keep this up, this band is going places; talent like this doesn’t go unnoticed for very long.
Do yourself a favor and check them out. If you’re a fan of fast-paced extreme metal (which is a safe assumption, I think, given the clientelle of this site), you’ll have a hard time finding something to dislike.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rivers of Nihil have produced two EPs so far: Hierarchy (2010) and Temporality Unbound (2011). The latter is available on CD through the band’s BigCartel site. All the songs on the first EP are available for free download at the band’s Facebook page (here). This ReverbNation player includes songs from both. If you check out only one, The Baby Killer recommends “Sea of Neurons”: