With one crushing blow, NILE lay waste to the entire "Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephrem-Ka" album, pulverizing every bit and piece with a massive wall of fury. You did not think they could top themselves? Well, sorry folks, they did…
Yes my friends, NILE are back with a vengeance (pun intended). While the opening track features but a quiet Arghoul instrument, "Black Seeds Of Vengeance" casts the listener right into the crocodile pits of ancient Egypt. With it's hyper blast drumming, rolling guitars and oppressive three-vocal attack, this insane opener immediately lays out the blueprint of things to come on this album. I guarantee you'll be shouting the "Black Seeds Of Vengeance" chorus for days on end…
Over the course of two demo releases and two studio albums, NILE took the Death Metal world by storm with their very own brand of Egyptian flavoured onslaught lead by mastermind Karl Sanders (Egyptologist in his own right). Indeed, originality is what NILE sets apart from the current Death Metal masses. While the haters will typically argue against the Egyptian influence as a blatant gimmick, I feel NILE offers a welcome relief of the endlessly rehashed Impale-Christ-worship-Satan themes, and bring a fresh approach to the style.
In fact, NILE totally revived my interest in Death Metal. But certainly this is not for everyone; it may take a few spins to let it grow on you, or you may not ever like it all, but those willing to give it a try will be rewarded with an experience beyond traditional Death Metal.
"Black Seeds Of Vengeance" conjures images of brutal execution, cruel sacrifice, desert storms, slavery, ancient rites and decadent pharaohs. A quick glance at the lyrics will tell you more, but even better are the liner notes Karl Sanders wrote in the booklet, with commentary on the origin of the text and the music. What more can you ask for?
Anyway, I've sucked up to NILE for enough now… :) a few more comments on the music:
After the vicious openers "Black Seeds Of Vengeance" and "Defiling The Gates Of Ishtar", the speed is somewhat reduced on "The Black Flame", one of the best tracks of the album. Track 5 (yes that's right, the one with the really long name) will certainly give you the creeps, kicking right into one of NILE's greatest namely "Masturbating The War God". The drumming is amazing on this song, and on the whole album in general, relentlessly pounding away with numerous drumrolls and double-bass. It actually sounds like Pete Hammoura is soloing away with this record, but Sanders/Toler-Wade's guitar attack offer an equally heavy counterpart, with laser precise riffing, going at an approximate rate of 10 riffs per minute (well, that may be a little exaggerated).
Judging by the 10/10 rating, you must have guessed by now I regard this as a Death Metal masterpiece, but certainly not one without flaws, because after "Multitude Of Foes" (which apparently took Toler-Wade 2 years to figure out), it starts running wild, with not-always-as-clearly-discernable chaos. They might have managed to cut here and there and trimmed the fat, but luckily, "To Dream Of Ur" will bring you right back to the sands of Egypt. "To Dream Of Ur" is instant classic material, with rasping vocals, slugging Doom-style riffs, and an epic solo over the agonizing screams of Karl Sanders.
After a breather (pun again intended, you'll know what I mean ;) ), "Ketti Satha Shemsu" roars it's way out of "Black Seeds Of Vengeance", waltzing one more time over the whole thing, especially effective in its minimal approach: a steady war drum, and a choir of grunters (Ross Dolan of IMMOLATION among others).
This is Death Metal's finest hour… and to think "In Their Darkened Shrines" was lurking right around the corner… (Online October 23, 2003)
Guest reviewer Ben Meuleman