I’ve been a fan of the NILE camp for some time now and I always look forward to hearing their new material. The band is always consistent in their quality (with only slight variances usually) and their talent and ability is something to be respected. That being said, NILE is always a tough listen for me. It takes time for me to enjoy their music. I have to run through it a few times before I start to grasp onto it and NILE’s latest release, “Those Whom The Gods Detest” is of this vein. It’s a brutal and technical romp through a Death Metal Egyptian landscape that challenges the listener.
With the band’s popularity and album catalog only growing stronger each release, it’s no surprise that “Those Whom The Gods Detest” is perhaps my favorite release of theirs. It’s also the easiest album to ease yourself into with some of their most memorable songs to date, so it’s a great starting place for new listeners too. Not only does NILE deliver on their usual scale of grand Egyptian themed Death Metal, but I think the key to this being their best album to date has to do with the almost perfect balances incorporated.
I refer to balance in a few different ways on “Those Whom The Gods Detest”. I think this is the band’s best balance of sheer Death Metal technicality and increased presence of solid songwriting. We aren’t getting pure songs of blast beat bombardment nor are we getting songs of pure epic Progressive structuring with choirs and Middle Eastern instruments. We are, technically, but I think NILE has meshed them together better than they have ever done before. The opening “Kafir!” and the instantly memorable and sure to be classic title track blend the two very different styles together beautifully and they do it throughout the release.
I also think this is NILE’s best balancing of song structuring too. We have a great mix of long epic tracks and those short face melting Death Metal assaults like “Hettite Dung Incantation” or “Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld”. But like I said early, it’s the mix that works. So there are those tracks that fall between the two that make them mesh so well. It’s NILE at their album writing best, I believe.
If you are a fan of the intensity of Brutal Death Metal, but can’t stand it when a band doesn’t give you more to chew on (like I am) then NILE’s “Those Whom The Gods Detest” is one of the perfect examples of how to make it work. The epic almost orchestral Middle Eastern sections move and compliment their speed and powerful Death Metal core of quick wristed riffs, brain jarring drums, and guttural roars. This is NILE at the top of their game. I’m curious to see where they go from here.
Songs to check out: “Those Whom The Gods Detest”, “The Eye Of Ra”, “Utterances Of The Crawling Dead”.
(Online December 21, 2009)