NILE - ANNIHILATION OF THE WICKED - RELAPSE
Heavy metal's leading Egyptologists are back with a new album which the band's proponents (of which there are many) will be happy to know does not let up on intensity. Furthermore, Annihilation Of The Wicked is the band's most linear album yet. The band is a tight death metal unit in both mid and fast gears which uses tight arrangements to bring home the falafel. The changes in line-up have not adversely affected the band, except perhaps there is little left of the band's Middle Eastern rhythms and interludes. The Egyptian or Arabic melodies are heard less of and are mostly consigned to intros. Instead, Nile is most analogous to Morbid Angel nowadays, in arrangement and in complexity, and given the latter band's relative stagnation is probably a better choice right now than the originators. It is almost effortless to be convinced by Nile as songs like the title track demonstrate. This is funny given how much effort the band puts into its music or into coming up with titles like Dusk Falls Upon The Temple Of The Serpent On The Mount Of Sunrise or Chapter Of Obeisance Before Giving Breath To The Inert One In The Presence Of The Crescent Shaped Horns. - Ali "The Metallian"
NILE - THOSE WHOM THE GODS DETEST - NUCLEAR BLAST
As with several other records reviewed over the course of the decade, initial thoughts here don’t focus on death metal: instead I am relieved that Those Whom The Gods Detest is a grammatically correct title, for had it not been I would have been annoyed every time I went to spin this album. Yes, the immediately subsequent sentence is a lame one, but it’s the truth. Now that grammar’s been dealt with, immediate musical impressions of Those Whom The Gods Detest indicate that this is an undeniably more listenable effort than Ityphallic, that album’s detached production really being a stumbling block that irreversibly hindered its longevity. The first reviews that have come in (both critics and fans) herald Those Whom The Gods Detest as one of Nile creative peaks and this scribe would have to concur, as South Carolina resident Karl Sanders has outdone himself on every level and has written a record that could have justifiably lived up to the ridiculous hype set forth for Black Seeds Of Vengeance follow-up In Their Darkened Shrines (an excellent album in its own right, mind you). And while we’re on that Black Seeds Of Vengeance point, it’s at this stage that Nile, while remaining artistically and commercially relevant as never before, has begun to enter the realms of nostalgia band, especially given how cherished 2000’s Black Seeds Of Vengeance was and still is (and, incidentally, the overwhelming praise that surrounded it release places it as one of the '00s' most talked-about records). But, as mentioned, Nile finds itself at a new artistic peak, the aforementioned Sanders writing in classic Nile schemas, but also incorporating subtle outliers that allows for a dynamic and vibrant new take on the Nile sound. On an amusing side-note, only in death metal would a second producer be needed just for drums (Erik Rutan is credited with drum production, while Neil Kernon worked on the rest), but that grin-inducing thought is quickly silenced by probably the most effective album cover of Nile’s career. - David Perri