Whether you believe that having a band concept is cheesy or clever, there are some bands that can pull it off flawlessly. I think it takes quite a bit of talent to release multiple albums on a concept and still write enjoyable Metal. NILE does just that. Release after release, they pound their listeners to ashes with their brand of technical and very brutal music.
If you think this album is going to be any different than their previous releases then you will be sorely disappointed. NILE offer up another solid dose of their practically trademarked sound without ever missing a beat. “Ithyphallic” gives listeners another taste of Egyptian themed Death Metal. Although definitely solid and very good, “Ithyphallic” doesn’t quite match up with the sheer brilliance of their last two albums.
It’s almost shocking that music so downright brutal and abrasive could be so technical and pleasant at the same time. The guitar work is jaw dropping at times, with some awesome chaotic moments intermixed with monstrous riffs all approached at the speed of sound yet surprisingly clean sounding. Throw in some bass work that not only matches the intensity of the guitars but surpasses them at moments. That is a mixture for some epic Death Metal. Not to mention the drumming (although at times a little linear as compared to previous albums) that is both technical and fast without losing momentum that really keeps the album moving at breakneck speeds. Not that all the music is played at blast beat pacing cause there are some very cool Doom Metal inspired moments like the ending to the title track, “Ithyphallic”.
It helps that NILE distinguishes themselves from the field by adding in little unique moments. Adding in gongs and Egyptian music to interludes and at various sections of the album gives the album some well needed change of pace. These little sections are a nice little signature of the band that does distinguish their music from a field of Metal that can be easily lumped together.
Vocally, Sanders is actually more understandable then he has ever been on “Ithyphallic”. His guttural roars may not be the most unique but his energy can even be felt through the recording which helps the band a lot. It would be nice to hear a little more than just his normal vocal style at times, but that really isn’t a complaint about the album. Just curiosity.
“Ithyphallic” might seem a little ridiculous to those outside of the Death Metal world. Songs with titles like “Papyrus Containing The Spell To Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who Is In The Water”, may seem a little over the top even for a concept band but once you hear the well written music…all that doubt is beaten out of your system.
Songs to check out: “So He Creates, So He Destroys”, “Ithyphallic”, "Eat Of The Dead”.
(Online August 29, 2007)