This is one of the most anticipated releases of 2005. Since its inception, NILE has basically turned the entire Death Metal genre on its head. The album “Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka” is heralded as one of the best debuts ever within the Metal world and each following release has shown a steady evolution. Their mix of Brutal Death Metal and middle eastern elements (specifically, ancient Egyptian elements) has garnered them a loyal following and has granted them tours with such bands as CRYPTOPSY, DYING FETUS and MORBID ANGEL. Considering that each one of their releases has been labelled a “Future Death Metal classic”, this album had A LOT to live up to, especially following a release as phenomenal as “In Their Darkened Shrines”.
Unfortunately, the band lost two of its members. Bassist Jon Vesano and more importantly, drummer Tony Laureano (ex-ANGEL CORPSE, DIMMU BORGIR), are no longer with the band. Considering how much drumming is important within Death Metal, this could have been a tremendous blow to the band’s music. However, the new fellow, George Kollias, more adeptly fills in the shoes of his predecessors (which also included Derek Roddy) and that’s saying something. The drumming is high quality Death Metal drumming. It’s solid, powerful, precise, aggressive and it fits and, more importantly, enhances the brutality of the music.
The music does not disappoint at all. The album features a fantastic acoustic intro, which is inspired by Arabic music, then just blasts into “Cast Down The Heretic” and from there, it blasts (and how!) into “Cast Down The Heretic”, which is Death Metal, the way NILE envisioned it. If you’ve heard their former material, this album is similar in style. If not, NILE’s vision of Death Metal is brutality mixed with their unique sense of melody (it’s very subtle). The music is very chaotic and the varying tempos and complex riffing and song structures add to the feeling, but there is an underlying theme that holds everything together. NILE’s talent has always been being able to write balls-out lunacy, but make each song memorable in its own write. This album is one where you could either spend your time listening to this with your jaw on the floor, paying attention to all the small intricacies of the music, or you can just use it as the soundtrack to you just violently tearing shit up. The lead guitar work is unreal as well, with the solos seemingly breaking the sound barrier and those crazy lines are mixed with Egyptian influenced melodies. It’s just unreal.
Also, getting Neil Kernon has done wonders for the band. The music is that much more powerful because you can hear everything and it hits you right between the eyes. The production fucking CRUSHES, that’s the only way to describe it, it just crushes everything in its path.
Highest recommendation. (Online September 27, 2005)