Ξ December 17th, 2009 | → 2 Comments | ∇ Album Reviews |
WOW. I woke up this morning to find the new Nile album ‘Those Who the Gods Detest’, sitting on my doorstep. It was like Christmas morning, but with the fear that Santa was on strike. New Nile albums are like religious experiences for me; I receive the holy gift, listen to it constantly for the next 3-4 days, and then realise that yet again, I am in the company of probably the greatest death metal band that has ever played. A massive claim, but even legends like Deicide and Morbid Angel have dropped a less than stellar one or two (I’m looking at you ‘Insineratehymn’ and ‘Heretic’). Nile have never made a bad record, period. Sure, ‘Ithyphallic’ is probably the weakest, but it still destroyed 99% of the competition, and was THE death metal release of 2007. But this new one is, well, possibly their greatest work.
Opening track ‘Kafir!’ is devastating. Similar to ‘Cast Down the Heretic’ from 2004’s ‘Annihilation of the Wicked’ to begin with, you are immediately assaulted by a blitzkrieg of sound. Using the phrase ‘There is no God but God’ (the first words heard by a newborn Muslim), Karl Sanders and co create a sandstorm of pummelling death metal, relentless in its savage delivery. Mixing the band’s trademark technicality with some punishing doomy breaks, interspered with Arabic chanting. It’s possibly the most inspired slice of death metal this year, and what follows is nothing less.
The album’s more eccentric areas, instrumentally, are rewarded with a higher place in the mix; no longer do the Middle Eastern tones dissipate amongst waves of riffs, but become much more prominent as the album moves through its tracks. Yet again the band stick very close to the Egyptological theme that made them such a breathe of fresh air to start with, and Karl Sanders’ liner notes are yet again extensive and well written, adding a completeness to the package that many bands forget. You can almost feel the dusty tombs come to life with every thunderous riff, insane blastbeat and roaring growl.
It’s a rare band that can sound exactly the same and yet totally different on each record. Gojira are one of these bands, and so are Nile. Their thick, technically devastating sound, littered with all kinds of Middle Eastern tones and brutal drumming is instantly recognisable, but the solo work of Sanders has clearly added things to each track, for example the creeping menace of ‘4th Arra of Dagon’ comes across as the metal equivalent of ‘Saurian Exorcisms’’s more evil moments.
Their best work ever? Well, purists may choose ‘Black Seeds of Vengeance’, and my personal favourite has always been ‘Annihilation of the Wicked’ (it was ‘Lashed to the Slave Stick’ that got me into death metal) but ‘Those Whom the Gods Detest’ is probably their most impressive work to date. Simply awe-inspiring.