A Night of Progressive Metalcore Music with Swallow The Sun at the Nile Theater

Swallow The Sun at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on November 20th, 2021

Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: 13th Floor Entertainment (https://www.13thfloorentertainment.com/ )
Venue: The Nile Theater (https://www.theniletheater.com/ )
Date: November 20th, 2021
Tour: Moonflowers Tour 2021

I understand that everyone wants to see the mega bands (so do I), but when you end up paying hundreds of dollars or more for 1 ticket (and get “F’d” by Ticketmaster for fees), you could actually see 4 or more lesser-known bands for the same cost.  A lot of these smaller bands are really great.  You can also see multiple bands at a single show instead of just the one band.  Granted not all of the bands at these smaller shows are that great and some are a work in progress, but you get to hear some really outstanding music.  You also are not sitting a mile away from the stage and have to squint to see the bands.  Also, you might get to see the next Iron Maiden or Metallica before they become mega-stars.

Tonight’s show was a combination of 2 progressive metal bands, Swallow The Sun and Wilderun and 2 metalcore/black metal bands, Abigail Williams and Suicide Forest.

Swallow The Sun

Swallow The Sun at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on November 20th, 2021

I saw Swallow The Sun in 2019 when they toured with Children of Bodom.  At that time, they had just released When a Shadow Is Forced into the Light.  They started out as a Gothic/Black metal band but the last 2 albums they have moved to a more progressive metal overtone.  About half of the songs were from their newest album, Moonflowers.  The rest of the set covered all but their first 2 albums.

Swallow The Sun was formed in 2000 by Juha Raivio and hail from Jyväskylä, Finland.  Lead guitarist and founding member Juha Raivio was joined by long time band members Mikko Kotamäki on lead vocals and Matti Honkonen on bass.  They were joined by rhythm guitarist Juho Räihä and drummer Juuso Raatikainen.

I enjoyed them when they performed as a lead-up band for Children of Bodom and was excited to see that they were coming back as a headliner.  This would allow them to perform more songs and give us a better grasp of their overall music library.  From tonight’s performance, I was not disappointed.  The crowd also seemed to have a great time.  It was also interesting to see some members of local area bands there enjoying the music.  It is always a good sign to see other bands listening and enjoying the music.

Swallow The Sun at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on November 20th, 2021

The show started with “Moonflowers Bloom In Misery” that starts out slow and then explodes in the middle of the song.  It switched between progressive tempo and metalcore flavored melodies.  This really showed the extensive range of the band to perform multiple styles and time signatures.  They were outstanding and the crowd embraced every song as they headbanged along with the music.  After 90 minutes of great metal music and headbanging, both the band and the audience were spent.

Check out Swallow The Sun on their website and Facebook page.  You can see their upcoming tour dates there.

Website: http://swallowthesun.net/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/swallowthesun

Photos by Fred Kuhlman, All Rights Reserved

Swallow The Sun Setlist:                              (Album)
Moonflowers Bloom in Misery                       (Moonflowers)
Enemy                                                             (Moonflowers)
Falling World                                                  (New Moon)
Don’t Fall Asleep (Horror Pt. 2)                     (Hope)
Cathedral Walls                                               (Emerald Forest and the Blackbird)
The Void                                                         (Moonflowers)
Rooms and Shadows                                      (Songs From the North I, II & III)
Firelights                                                         (When a Shadow Is Forced Into the Light)
Woven Into Sorrow                                        (Moonflowers)
Stone Wings                                                    (When a Shadow Is Forced Into the Light)
This House Has No Home                              (Moonflowers)
Plague of Butterflies: Pt. II: Plague of Butterflies     (Plague of Butterflies / Out of This Gloomy Light EP)
Swallow (Horror Pt. 1)                                   (Plague of Butterflies / Out of This Gloomy Light EP)

Abigail Williams

Abigail Williams at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on November 20th, 2021

Abigail Williams is a black metal band that formed in 2004 and originally came from Phoenix, Arizona but has since moved to Olympia, Washington.  They have produced 5 studio albums but tonight’s setlist was exclusively from their newest album Walk Beyond the Dark.

This was the second time I have seen Abigail Williams.  The first was at Club Red and at that show they were all in hoodies and were backlit, so it was next to impossible to photograph them.  At tonight’s show some of the band members were still wearing hoodies, but at least this time I had front lighting so I got some better photos.

Abigail Williams has had many members with founder Ken “Sorceron” Bergeron being the only original member still in the band.  Abigail Williams currently consists of Ken “Sorceron” Bergeron on guitar and vocals, Gabe Seeber playing drums, John Porada on bass, Vance Valenzuela on guitar.

Abigail Williams at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on November 20th, 2021

The set started with the opening song on Walk Beyond the Dark.  From the very start, they mesmerized the crowd.  Gabe and John provided the rhythmic and harmonic direction for the band while Ken and Vance provide the guitar rhythm and power cords.  Ken’s growling voice on “I Will Depart” was outstanding.  They really showed their versatility by using multiple timecodes in “Black Wave”.  Probably their best song was their last song of the set, “Final Failure”.  It pushed each member to their musical limits and they performed flawlessly.  They were so good, that they pushed Swallow The Sun to have to up their game.

If you have not seen Abigail Williams, you owe it to yourself to check them out.  If you are into Black Metal, they are a great band to follow.  You can check them out on their Facebook page.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AbigailWilliamsBand/

Photos by Fred Kuhlman, All Rights Reserved

Abigail Williams Setlist:        (Album)
I Will Depart                           (Walk Beyond the Dark)
Sun and Moon                       (Walk Beyond the Dark)
Ever So Bold                          (Walk Beyond the Dark)
Black Waves                           (Walk Beyond the Dark)
Into The Sleep                        (Walk Beyond the Dark)
Final Failure                            (Walk Beyond the Dark)


Wilderun at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on November 20th, 2021

After the first band, I was praying for something better and with Wilderun I got it.  They are a progressive, symphonic metal band with metalcore overtones from the Boston, Massachusetts area.  It is amazing that they were unsigned until just recently.  Century Media Records will be handling their new album Epigone which will be released on January 7th, 2022.  Tonight, we were treated to “Passenger”, one of the songs from that new album.  Personally, I can’t wait for this new album to get released so I can hear the rest of the songs.  If “Passenger” is any indication of the quality of this upcoming album, it should be great.

Wilderun is Evan Berry as guitarist and lead singer, Wayne Ingram providing lead guitar with Dan Muller on bass and providing backing vocals and Jon Teachey on drums.

Wilderun at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on November 20th, 2021

Tonight’s setlist was only 3 songs, but in true progressive fashion, each song spanned almost 10 minutes.  Even though the songs are long, there were enough timecode changes that broke up the songs so they seemed much shorter.  If you listen to Veil of Imagination, you will hear more progressive song, but the 2 songs performed tonight, they did the more aggressive songs from that album.  I did miss the backing vocals on “Far From Where Dreams Unfurl”.  They give the song the added body missing in tonight’s version.  However, I did enjoy it and really wished they could have played a longer set.  Hopefully in the future they will come back as a headliner at a smaller venue so we could experience more of their music.  For now, I will have to be content to either stream their music or go to YouTube.

Please checkout Wilderun on either their website or Facebook page.

Website: https://www.wilderun.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialWilderun

Photos by Fred Kuhlman, All Rights Reserved

Wilderun Setlist:                               (Album)
The Tyranny of Imagination              (Veil of Imagination)
Passenger                                          (Epigone – upcoming album)
Far From Where Dreams Unfurl        (Veil of Imagination)

Suicide Forest

Suicide Forest at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on November 20th, 2021

Suicide Forest is an Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal that hails from Tucson, Arizona.  They are a fairly young band having formed in 2016.  I normally give local bands some leeway, but I found Suicide Forest very repetitive and boring.  For the most part the bass player seemed to have a 1 note bassline that he played for over 70% of the songs.  The singer was completely unintelligible, mumbling and growling throughout the set.  The drummer showed some signs of life, but the other members of the band overshadowed him.  They played multiple songs, but they all seemed to sound alike and at times ran together.  Maybe I was expecting more, but I was happy when they were done.  This is just my opinion and you really need to check them out yourself.  Some of the audience really liked them, so please check them out yourself and come to your own conclusions

Website: https://suicideforestblackmetal.bandcamp.com/album/suicide-forest
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SuicideForestDSBM/

Photos by Fred Kuhlman, All Rights Reserved


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