Rivers of Nihil delivers a stunning set at the Crofoot on the heels of their epic new release

Raising the bar and making it look effortless

It may seem unusual to compare a death metal album to vintage wine, but in the case of Rivers of Nihil’s new album Where Owls Know My Name, the analogy is perfectly fitting. Much like a great cabernet might provide hints of blackberry, cedar, licorice or coffee, The Reading Pennsylvania quintet’s latest offering delivers the full-bodied auditory assault one would expect, but is also peppered with an array of surprising elements. One can detect traces of King Crimson, Yes, Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, and Sonny Rollins amidst all the heaviness. It’s an ambitious, emotive and technically proficient album – incredibly proggy without ever feeling pretentious. And it’s likely end up on the top-ten list of pretty much every metal critic at year’s end.

Rivers rolled in Pontiac on Tuesday night in support of Dying Fetus and Thy Art Is Murder. While their set far too short, consisting of a mere five songs, the band managed to deliver an excellent overview of their three full-length LP’s, opening with The Silent Life from Owls as well as Raineater from The Conscious Seed of Light and the set’s rousing closer Sand Baptism from their second album Monarchy. The band was in top form, displaying a technical precision and confidence beyond their years.

It’s of no use saying that Rivers of Nihil is destined for greatness. They’ve already achieved it. The question now is how much farther this incredible band can push the boundaries of their genre, and when the hell they will be coming back as a headliner.

-Todd Gilleland

Todd Gilleland
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