Those Whom The Gods Detest

Written by: AB on 17/11/2009 17:56:49

Nile is probably the biggest not-born-in-the-late-eighties-early-nineties death metal band ever, and has probably been the biggest death metal band in about 10 years (with the possible exception of Cannibal Corpse, though I can't see why as listening to them is about as entertaining as watching water freeze). Their brutal, technical death metal, coupled with their clear imagery and text universe of ancient Egypt, inclusion of ethnic instruments and epic songwriting, and, lastly, their ability to write ass kicking death metal has made them one of the biggest players in the field. Personally, their two first albums, "Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka" and "Black Seeds of Vengeance" are classics; both some of the finest death metal from the last 15 years, and the more 'straight up' death metal album (less weird instruments) "Annihilation of the Wicked" is also one mean motherfucker. Sadly though, their last offering, "Ithyphallic" was boring, bordering on generic, and personally I had banished Nile to the eternal sleep in the grave chambers below the pyramids after this, not believing they were able to release a relevant/interesting album after the trite of "Ithyphallic"; instead focusing only on the epitaphs of the old albums that, like monuments of ancient gods carved in eternal stone, can never loose their power.

However, it seems that being detested by the gods was all that was needed for Nile to resurrect, and with this new album they surely have crawled back out of their dusty tombs! "Those Whom The Gods Detest" once again cements their status amongst the elite of death metal. Though Nile continues with their trend after the release of "In Their Darkened Shrines" of cutting down on the ethnic and epic moments, that is not automatically a bad thing, as these ingredients are not necessarily needed to create monstrous and majestic albums, as seen on "Annihilation...", and once again on this release. This monumental-but-not-quite-epic sound is further enhanced on "Those Whom The God Detest" by the great production job, which is darker, heavier and warmer than ever before (even though producer Kernon also has worked on the last couple Nile records).

Apart from three blastastic songs, that, by no means bad, aren't very interesting except a nice chorus in "Kafir!", and apart from the one ethnic sounding instrumental (which isn't up to par with Nile's earlier atmospheric instrumental pieces), all songs on "Those Whom The Gods Detest" are utterly fantastic. Songs like "Utterances Of The Crawling Dead", "Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld" and "Kem Khesa Kheshef" assaults you with the power of a sandstorm, and showcase the great skills of the band. There are classic Nile riffs aplenty and superb solos from Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade. George Kollias once again pushes the bands to new crazy speeds as a true Egyptian slave master, and Sanders and Toler-Wades's brutal double vocal assault has enjoyed a little step up in aggressiveness. Very nice.

Then there is the almost 9 minutes long "4th Arra of Dagon", the one song where Sanders strays away from the subject of ancient times and has penned lyrics of his much loved Lovecraftian themes - and music to match. The result is utterly crushing, as the monolithic song crawls along and annihilates everything in its path. Nile has written many slow and looong songs before, but usually in the epicer-than-thou style ("Unas, Slayer of the Gods", "To Dream of Ur", "Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten"...) - "4h Arra of Dagon" isn't epic in the traditional Nile sense, but rather dark, heavy as the pyramid themselves and about as evil as some of the best from "Black Seeds of Vengeance" such as "The Black Flame" or "Nas Akhu Khan She En Absiu". Truly a great song. Speaking of great songs, the awesome title track must be mentioned, likewise so with album closer "Iskander D'hul Karnon". Both are dark, heavy songs, and manages to be majestic and exalted without resorting to Nile's usual epic levels of song writing. Especially the title song is fantastic with it's slow, crushing parts, its totally frenzied classic Nile parts, and some new stuff in the Nile universe - clean singing.

Nile has, all in all, managed to fight their way back into the elite of death metal. While "Those Whom The Gods Detest" might not top the classics of "Amongst the Catacombs..." or "Black Seeds...", it places itself comfortably right in front of the great "Annihilation of the Wicked" and the interesting "In Their Darkened Shrines". All my doubts about Nile as a band has been swept away, and after this show of quality, everything "Ithyphallic"-related has been forgiven. The pharaohs are back in style; listen to their own words: "darkly splendid I remain unconquered"!

Download: Those Whom The Gods Detest, 4th Arra of Dagon, Utterances Of The Crawling Dead
For the fans of: Nile!

Release date 03.11.2009
Nuclear Blast Records

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