at the Key Club, January 19

The trailer-trash metallurgists of Sweden look, talk and twirl their hair just like ‘Merica’s, but they often play better, because they’ve done more time. On the road, I mean. Extant for some 15 years, Hypocrisy drive home the essential metal stakes as truly as anyone: You get a monster drummer (the recently conscripted Horgh, ex-Immortal), muster your technically awesome axmen (a given), and marinate the elements until melody coalesces with rhythm into one surging bloodstream. Occasional contrasting intervals of angelic recorded choirs help the pacing, too. Hypocrisy’s all-important primordial slosh factor ensures that, slow or fast, audience headbang and horn-thrust will be as insistent as they are involuntary. So by the time the quartet slogged into the gory morass of “Let the Knife Do the Talking,” every aorta in earshot was pumping along. “Kill! Kill! Kill!” croaked guitarist-vocalist Peter Tägtgren, and there was general agreement on that plan. No, not literally. Jeez.

Maybe it was front man Karl Sanders’ receding frizz, or maybe it was the fact that the hunching beanpole was modeling the only product shirt in the club (Sabian cymbals), but Egypto-conceptualists Nile came off proggier live than they do on record. This proved no hurdle to the throngs of eager youth who smashed against the stage to worship the four hoarsemen’s complex, shape-shifting compositions and wail in sync with the Arabic riffsmanship. Proficient as it surely was, though, and despite many an obligatory “fuckin’?” declaimed by Sanders, the whole thing seemed a little cold. Chillin’ with mummies can do that.

Greg Burk

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