That Which Should Not Be Unearthed

One could argue that after four classic albums (Among the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka, Black Seeds of Vengeance, In Their Darkened Shrines, Annihilation of the Wicked), South Carolina’s Nile could be construed to be running in place for their following 3 albums, culminating in 2012’s At the Gates of Sethu. While unmistakably still a Nile album, production issues plagued the album, with critics (or maybe just me?) decrying the cleaner, pristine guitar tone, restrained vocals, overly technical songs. Some reviewers even seemed weary of the Egyptian theme.

Well, say what you will about Karl Sanders and Co., because he appears to have taken the divisive response to Sethu to heart, and he and the band have responded with the band’s best album since Annihilation of the Wicked. Maybe it’s the throwback production to the crushing wall of noise of yore. Maybe it’s the addition of vocalist/bassist Brad Parris to the long running guitar/ vocal duo of Toler-Wade/Sanders. Either way, it’s invigorated the band, because this feels like the first four albums.

From the heralding opening cry of the blistering and aptly named “Call to Destruction,” you can feel the power from the new production and material. Sanders has more involvement with his deeper roars, Wade has more snarl, the drums and guitars have a much denser, more commanding presence, and everything just seems far more virile and violent right out of the gate. And it’s not short lived either, as the second track “Negating the Abominable Coils of Apep” also erupts from the dunes with a commanding salvo we have come to expect from the band. It signals some of the album’s many slower, churning moments which I have always found to be the best part of Nile.

And tracks like “Liber Stellae – Rubaeae,” the title track, the last few crumbling moments of “In the Name of Amun,” “Age of Famine,” and standout closer “To Walk Forth From Flames Unscathed” all have these ponderous, heaving moments in great, heaping, stone-dragging heft, with that low end “CHUN” that rattles your fillings. Granted, there are no 10-minute opuses like “Unas” or “To Dream of Ur,” but we’re getting quality, not quality right? And Sanders and Co are still masters of sweeping, tech vortices that can be just dropping at times, as the opening duo and ferocious “Rape of the Black Earth” display. Also of note: “Evil to Cast Out Evil” highlights the new dual guitar attack with a surprisingly epic, melodic lead solo, possibly a first for a Nile album.

Naysayers will be pleased to hear that there is less Egyptian stuff going on as well. Less chants, less Middle Eastern instrumentation and atmospherics. And other than the minute and a half “Ushabti Reanimator,” there’s overall less fluff, shorter titles, and more ‘brain removed through your nose by a hook’ brutality, which is always a good time.

Not that they ever went away, but Nile’s place atop US death metal’s pedestal seemed shaky the last few albums, but album number 8 doesn’t just up the ante, it smashes it. Nile has cast down the heretics once more to reclaim their place atop US death metal’s metaphorical death metal pyramid, thought Hate Eternal and their new release Infernus, might make it a little crowded up there.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 10th, 2015


  1. Commented by: PoopNuggs

    I thought Those Whom the Gods Detest was a great album from these dudes but the albums surrounding it were their weakest ever. This review has me pretty stoked to hear this, will be great if its more in line with their early works.

  2. Commented by: Mike

    Before we speak down on past albums, how about we actually understand the background of them first? For instance….production issues on Sethu? You DO realize that the production was intentional on that album? And yes, that’s been said by the band on several occasions. Oh, and the last few albums have seen the band atop a shaky pedestal? How does that make sense, considering the last three have been their best selling period?

  3. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Thanks for reading Mike. Best selling does not mean best. Most fans would agree that other that Those whom…. the the band has been running in place. alos, i d say most also didnt like the production of Sethu, which karl addresses here

  4. Commented by: PoopNuggs

    Sales don’t equate quality. Sethu was nigh unlistenable to me and most people. Nile in general, in MY opinion have been treading water for years now. Not to say that a band can’t make an impressive career and never change their sound, but their formula has been wearing a bit thin these last few years.

  5. Commented by: gabaghoul

    seconded. I gave Sethu another listen last night and had to force myself through it, it sounds thin and anemic. a lot of the songs just fly by too – though that’s probably because I’ve never been compelled to play the album over and over and learn the songs as well as I know the ones on Detest or Annihilation or even Shrines (which also has a fairly ‘thin’ sound compared to some of the later stuff, but the overall impact is still incredible).

  6. Commented by: Andy Synn

    Basically you said something in a review that someone disagreed with, so now they feel it’s necessary to question your knowledge, background, and motivations.

    Just be thankful they didn’t question your manhood and sexuality at the same time!

  7. Commented by: Tomas Jacobi

    Brad Parris is the new bass player, not guitarist. Karl and Dallas handle all guitar playing in Nile.

  8. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Fixed. Thanks

  9. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    I like this record a lot. I wish it had more of their neato ambient stuff, tho.

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