While NILE has never really released a truly bad album I have quietly resigned myself to the fact that they will perhaps never top their classic “Black Seeds Of Vengeance” album, even though it’s follow-up (“In Their Darkened Shrines”) did come dangerously close. Their last two albums, while decent enough, definitely lacked that album’s magical touch, so I approached “For Those Whom The Gods Detest” with nothing but tempered expectations.
My wariness was completely unnecessary though, as I found myself pinned to the floor as soon as the wanton aggression of “Kafir!” kicked in, and by the time the somewhat orchestral inflections of “Iskander D’hul Karnon” faded out I was more than convinced that Karl Sanders and co. have delivered their best album in yonks. The reasons for this are many, with the main strength of the album lying in the guitar work which is equally as intense as anything in the past, but with a beefed-up sense of proggy playfulness that ensures that just about every song on here has something to sate my various Death Metal needs. This “proggy” element is in no way an allusion to the wankery that said style is often associated with but rather an indication of the increased technicality on display here, though with a good sense of catchiness constantly intact. “For Those Whom The Gods Detest” is basically the sound of NILE amplified – the faster parts are really fast, while the slower parts are doomier than ever. Even the various interludes seem to have an extra sense of depth to them. On some songs like “Kafir!” and “Kem Khefa Kheshef” Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade break out brutally precise riffs that include a few extra scales when/where needed, while a song like “Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld” has some killer palm-muted riffs that recall CANNIBAL CORPSE as much as it does BLACK SABBATH. More surprising still, they even try their hand at clean vocals in a few spots, seamlessly integrating this new aspect into their unbridled attack. Couple this with the inhuman drumming skills of Geroge Kollias and you have one of the year’s best Death Metal albums in your hands.
I’d probably still rate “Black Seeds...” as my personal favourite NILE album but this new one isn’t far off, let me tell you. It is a way more vibrant affair than their last few efforts and it has remained a consistently engaging listen on every occasion. This one is sure to delight long-time fans of the band as well as re-ignite the interest that some may have lost in them in lieu of their previous two albums. Acquire without hesitation!
(Online December 26, 2009)