Album: THOSE WHOM THE GODS DETEST
Label: Nuclear Blast
Track Listing: 1) Kafir 2) Hittite Dung Incantation 3) Utterances of the Crawling Dead 4) Those Whom the Gods Detest 5) 4th Arra of Dagon 6) Permitting the Noble Dead to Descend to the Underworld 7) Yezd Desert Ghul Ritual in the Abandoned Towers of Silence 8) Kem Khefa Kheshef 9) The Eye of Ra 10) Iskander D’hul Karnon
Nile return with their latest album and according to Karl Sanders himself the band was looking to achieve ‘Abba-sized hooks’. I know what you may be thinking, but don’t worry, this thing sounds absolutely nothing like Abba whatsoever, yet it is their most tuneful to date.
The album starts off with a strong number in Kafir, a brutal piece of tech-death where at one point there is a melodic eastern native vocal exploring a harmonic minor scale over the top of a surging river of seriously down-tuned riffage and wild guitar-shredding. At the same time doom vocals growl ‘There is no God…’, it’s electrifying stuff.
Hittite Dung Incantation is more Slayer inspired, hammer-on riffs amongst a tide of rapid drumming, it’s safe to say this is high-speed death metal. The Egyptian mythology inspired themes is what really make Nile stand out from other death bands, the vocals I mentioned earlier and the whole atmosphere that is present within their music really gives their sound that extra dimension.
I guess a minor downside of this would be the track names can sometimes get a bit tedious, sure it’s great to see a band not going for the expected titles, I’m all for that it’s just when you’re trying to discuss songs with others it’s like ‘oh yeah there’s a really good track called Kem Khef…what was it??’ Other titles such as Utterances of the Crawling Dead are just plain awesome. That particular track is a fine highlight of the kind of seriously intense blackened-death strains you’ll hear on this album. Starts off fast, a simple yet effective riff holding the line before everything sinks into a whirlpool of doom. The guitars sludge to provide a stressed and painful slow chord sequence, so down-tuned it’s almost impossible to recognise the presence of pitch. At the same time the bass drum is rampaging at full speed and the vocals are low and indistinguishable from being spoken words, more like a dark murmur. All this before an epic breakthrough that takes us back to fifth gear and into a crazy guitar solo – brilliant.
The title track is a clear standout, you can just imagine the moshpits bellowing the words to the chorus ‘We are they whom the gods detest’, the band referring to death metal-heads everywhere. Once again there’s the switching from speed to doom thatNilepull of so well.
4th Arra of Dagon has one of the greatest openings to any metal track I’ve ever heard, the Egyptian atmospherics followed by a doom riff before the vocals roar and the bass drum spits like a deranged snake. Yezd Desert Ghul Ritual in the Abandoned Towers of Silence certainly spices things up a bit, an instrumental, well sort of, it’s a slice of the Egyptian melodic vocal with sound effects in the background, it definitely keeps things interesting.
The problem with this album is that it doesn’t quite go all the way in means of experimentation. A few more bursts of Egyptian atmospherics would suffice nicely, providing more areas of interest and development. Sure, this stuff is supposed to by full-throttle, but I sense more can be done with this band’s sound. The record is a step in the right direction nonetheless.
This is certainly not for the faint-hearted, Nile are a unique band, but it’s still technical death metal which ever way you look at it, and it’s not going to appeal to everyone, despite this being possibly their most accessible album to date. However, it’s a solid album, it won’t disappoint fans and will manage to consume new fans, hell, it got hold of me.
2) Those Whom the Gods Detest
3) Utterances of the Crawling Dead
Reviewed by: Daniel Aston, 08/01/2010