Album Review: Nile – Vile Nilotic Rites

Metal dives into some odd territory, especially from death metal legends Nile deliver a technical energy with an ancient Egyptian theme, despite being from South Carolina. Nine albums in seems impossible to continue delivering quality, yet the veterans of brutality have not failed in the slightest with Vile Nilotic Rites.

With a brief introduction, the first track Long Shadows Of Dread unleashes utter hell. This mid-tempo track hammers down to turn bone into dust with spikes of intense speedy riffs and drums that pound with heavy force to finish off Nile’s victims. To add to the atmosphere, bells boom in the background, leaving for a reminder of the grand scale that the band likes to employ with their focus on Egyptology.

Going into one of the most violent tracks, The Oxford Handbook Of Savage Genocidal Warfare, the title says it all. Men, women, children, and pets are not safe as singer/guitarist/mastermind Karl Sanders depicts this massacre. It is no mercy from the entire group as they enhance the bloodshed with their expertise in tech death.

The title track goes full death metal leaving little room for its thematic background. The effects in the distance are a nice touch, but the song should have leaned more into that element. Either way, the whirlwind of riffs and percussion make headbanging irresistible.

Seven Horns Of War is an epic nine minute adventure that opens up with so much depth like its light cymbals and beautifully sung wordless choir, this is truly the first time the group showcases the high production value spent on the record. Sanders takes a step back with slow, demonic vocal work and lets his guitar work along with George Kollias’ drumming, Brad Parris’ bass action, and Brian Kingsland’s accompanying guitar take the wheel. After a beating, it transitions through an epic bridge with a booming monologue, delightful piano playing, and the return of the choir. This is full of surprises and various levels for mind-boggling complexity on all fronts.

An eerie opening with a highly melodic riff with Kollias’ chiming in and out starts off That Which Is Forbidden. Low screams are at a distance before getting uncomfortably intimate. With some contrast, the fifth entry on the album mixes various styles without outdoing the heaviness.

Snake Pit Mating Frenzy says it all as this is a frenzy. The shortest song here and it makes that attack worth every second. Pure speed and complex technical skills is the name Nile have made for themselves, and this goes into that reputation heavily. Unlike Seven Horns Of War, while superb, the guitar sound feels too overpowering, so the sixth tracks fixes that by balancing the drums and guitars.

Carnage ensues with this melodic yet skull shattering heavy track. Revel In Their Suffering sits perfectly on the line of melody, violent, and thematically fitting with various effects to add extra layers.

Thus Sayeth The Parasites Of The Mind, takes a break from blowing my brains out with a transition featuring the band’s Middle Eastern interests. While it is a comfortable break, it does not lead itself well into the next track.

Where Is The Wrathful Sky starts with galloping drums at a distance and before I knew it, a percussive attack along with riffs that slice through flesh. The Southern Carolina natives meld their Egyptian inspirations with their American death metal style in flawless fashion.

Leading me into a false sense of security, the somber opening of The Imperishable Stars Are Sickened leaps into rapid riffs and explosive percussive power. The spaces in-between make for a harder punch that comes straight to the face. Being one of the longer songs, it does die down to travel back in time to Ancient Egypt, but that trip is cut short as I got ripped back into the modern world full of headbanging goodness along with newly added cleans that boom across the brutal screams.

The only way to end is with a sense of doom in this apocalyptic conclusion. We Are Cursed surrounds itself with death around every corner. Unlike other grander songs like Seven Horns Of War or The Imperishable Stars Are Sickened, this finale focuses on more straight death metal with its overall sound while keeping itself grounded in its themes with the lyrics.

Vile Nilotic Rites has a big presence, but at times felt not confident enough in some of its earlier songs. A better focus on contrast and thematic environments would have benefited the overall album. Even with flaws that caught my attention quickly, this is still golden work that satisfies my need for heavy music, experimental sounds, and brilliantly written lyrics.

The added bonus does come from the beautiful album artwork. Which should always be expected from the most extreme depths of metal.

Score: 8/10

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Image via Nuclear Blast Records

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