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Album Reviews : Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed

By on September 14, 2015

nile-what-should-not-be-unearthedWhat do ancient Egypt and metal have in common? Intense, gut-wrenching violence, great fashion sense and Nile (well, in spirit anyway), the mythological-influenced technical death metal band from South Carolina. For over 20 years, Karl Sanders has spearheaded a path of ancient destruction across the death metal scene, releasing his unique Eastern-flavoured viciousness in waves. The latest monolith credited to their name, What Should Not Be Unearthed, was released recently, and I was dying to sink my teeth into it.

Sanders had described the writing aim for the album was to create a brutal experience more akin to Annihilation Of The Wicked, arguably their most beloved album, but personally I get more of the Ithyphallic feel with the production values of their more recent efforts. That equates to a ton of Egyptian-inspired, heavy grooves, chromatic riffing interwoven with technical passages, maniacal vocals and ridiculously savage drum work. This album has also cast off the sense of grandeur that accompanied the previous albums, delving back into darker territory. What’s good about the approach that was taken is that there are no incredibly long songs on this album; these songs are all short bursts of brutality which never feel padded out. Sadly, the deep guttural vocals by Wade and Jon Vesano I loved so much from both Annihilation and Ithyphallic do not make a return despite Sanders’ statement. However, this isn’t as much of a grumble as just a nostalgic side-comment, as there has been enough music released with Dallas Toller-Wade’s mid-pitched screams.

“Call to Destruction” perfectly sets the tone for what’s to come, with a barrage of blast beats, unsettling Egyptian vibes, and powerful riffing. “Negating the Abominable Coils of Apep” is an instant headbanger, with strong, slow grooves separated by moments of technical fury. “Liber Stellae – Rubaeae” is one of the songs on the album that is perfect for those who crave melodic fills and tails, unleashing them in droves. “In the Name of Amun” begins with a haunting respite from the chaos, before plunging head-first back into it. “What Should Not Be Unearthed” sits comfortably as one of the more memorable songs from the album, due to its slower pace and deliberate riffing. “Evil to Cast Out Evil” is catchy as hell, and left me humming the riffs to myself long after I finished listening (as difficult as that may seem). “Age of Famine” is a devastatingly dissonant track akin to “Eat of the Dead” from Ithyphallic. “Ushabti Reanimator” provides one last true breather, as a world music interlude, before giving way to “Rape of the Black Earth.” “To Walk Forth From the Flames Unscathed” is a great closing song, toning down the technicality to create an atmosphere of despair.

As with most bands, their latest efforts never seem to eclipse their previous heights, but What Should Not Be Unearthed is still a sheer destructive force with the ferocity of a sandstorm, the malice of a slave driver, and the weight of the pyramids.

About

Benjen is a qualified teacher residing in the south-east suburbs of Perth. Benjen was introduced to hard rock at the age of 12 with Papa Roach's "Love-Hate Tragedy," and has developed a love for hard rock and metal since. He also has a keen interest in gaming and almost every fandom imaginable, from Doctor Who to Deadpool. He can be followed on Twitter @thetoadmode