Nile
Vile Nilotic Rites

When I reviewed Nile’s fourth album, Annihilation of the Wicked way back in 2005, I mused how long the band could keep up the high quality and continue  the  long running Egyptian themes. Well 14 years and 5 albums later, that answer is pretty clear.

Even with a bit of a lull with 2012s At the Gates of Sethu, and maybe 2007s Ithyphallic, Nile has essentially stayed an elite death metal act since the bands first 3 or four arguably classic releases. And with a the band’s last album, What Should Not Be Unearthed, they showed that they can deliver material as dynamic as their early efforts over 20 years later. But with album number 9, founder Karl Saunders and long time drummer George K0llias ( at least since 2004) has managed to somehow up the ante again, and deliver what I’m confident in saying is their best effort since In Their Darkened Shrines.

As with the last album, where bassist Brad Parris joined, a new member join the ranks in guitarist Brian Kingsland (Enthean, ex Rites to Sedition), and again , Nile seems better for it.  Also the addition of Mark Lewis (Carnifex, Deicide, Arsis, Whitechapel, The Black Dahlia Murder) with a mastering/mixing  adds some real beef to Saunders’ production, and it all comes together perfectly.

The recipe is still the same: blasting, wall of noise, brutal technical death metal with a heavy  Egyptian backbone, and while there a few little surprise here and there, its all pretty much the same, but on this release there seems to be just a little more restraint and focus on those heaving, lumbering songs and moment that made songs like “To Dream of Ur”, “Unas”, “Black Seeds of Vengeance” and ““To Walk Forth From Flames Unscathed”  so dynamic.

Songs like opener “Long Shadows of Dread”, “That Which is Forbidden”, and the closing duo of “The Imperishable Stars Are Sickened” and “We Are Cursed”, all deliver moments of bone rattling, thunderous, earth shifting heft. And that’s not even including the album’s 9 minute standout “Seven Horns of War”, this album’s “Unas” or “Ur”; a blasting and lumbering behemoth of a track with monstrous mid song brass section  (is that Lord of the Rings I hear?) that gives me goosebumps, and is the best Nile song in several years.

Of course, there are still those teeth rattling, writhing faster, tracks like “Vile Nilotic Rites”, The Oxford Handbook of Savage Genocidal Warfare”, the aptly named “Snake Pit Mating Frenzy” or utterly devastating “Where Is the Wrathful Sky” (even with its little mid song Middle east jaunt). And Sanders is adding a few more tricks in some pure movie sound track/choral/ orchestral/symphonic moments like “Revel in Their Suffering” (my second favorite track) the album’s most experimental track, the heaving , lurching “The Imperishable Stars Are Sickened” with its clean-ish/chanted vocals and menacing lumber of “We Are Cursed”.

After virtually saving American death metal in 1998, with Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka, (“Rameses , Bringer of War” is still my go to Nile song) it blows my mind that Sanders and Nile are still this good twenty years later,  and its high time we started mentioning them in the same breath as Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse Morbid Angel and Obituary as true American Death metal legends.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
October 28th, 2019

Comments

  1. Commented by: Gabaghoul

    Best since Shrines? That is high praise. And my favorite Nile album. The first two singles haven’t blown me away but I’m looking fwd to hearing the whole album – and to hear if Dallas’ absence will leave a big sarcophagus-shaped hole…


  2. Commented by: Gabaghoul

    Wow is Nile paying royalties to Howard Shore? That is definitely a cue from LOTR in Seven Horns. One note changed. Not like they haven’t done homage before (Candlemass in the opening to Unas Slayer of the Gods)


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