NILE gave everyone a kick in the ass with "Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka" back in 1998, and so among the Death Metal cognoscenti anticipation was high for their follow-up. But while "Catacombs" was pretty much a full-throttle affair, nobody expected the style, variety and class NILE would bring to their second album. "Black Seeds Of Vengeance" served notice that a major and dominant force in Death Metal had arrived.
"Vengeance" shows no difference in overall style from the debut - this is still mostly fast and entirely furious Florida-school Death with the weird riffs and oriental flourishes. But here NILE had room to stretch out and give their epic tendencies full play. Here there are more instrumental tracks, more slow atmospheric passages, and more idiosyncratic instrumentation. All the features here were present on "Catacombs" in nascent form, but on this album the band could really let it hang out and push the envelope. The results are uniformly impressive and original. From the moody invocation of the intro it is clear that this band has arrived, and by the time the earthshaking chorus of the title track comes shuddering through the speakers a new Death Metal dynasty has been cemented in place. "Black Seeds Of Vengeance" is ten times as furious, technical, inventive and atmospheric as "Catacombs", making it easily one of the best albums ever recorded in the genre.
One of the things that stands out to me about this album is the consistency and unified purpose of every element. From the excellent cover art and superior design of the booklet to the track placement and of course the literate and well-researched Egyptian mythology themes, everything fits together to make a coherent whole more deadly and epic than the sum of its parts. Rarely has any album seemed as complete as this one without being an actual concept album. By the time you get to the funeral chants of "Khetti Satha Shemsu" you feel like you have been on a journey through ages of myth and horror, and its been really, really cool. "Black Seeds Of Vengeance" is, simply put, a mandatory album for Death Metal fans, and no metal fan can deny the importance of this landmark work by a band who continue to innovate and improve. Even if NILE had not followed this with the awesome "In Their Darkened Shrines", even if they had never recorded another album at all, this one would guarantee them a place in Metal legend all by itself. (Online October 15, 2003)