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“Black Seeds of Vengeance” is often recognized as Nile’s best album ever. Is it really? Yes, I have to say that it is one of their best records for sure.
Originally released in the year 2000, “Black Seeds of Vengeance” brought an obvious progression in the style of the band. Of course as a follower to “Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka” it keeps many integral elements of Nile's music intact – such as dense, brutal and technical riffage, a unique combination of different kinds of beastly growls and the inclusion of epic parts with some orchestral elements, Tibetan chants and use of some traditional Mid East instruments. And of course with “Black Seeds of Vengeance” Nile went even further into the concept and the world of Ancient Egypt – and what I love about this record is that from now on Karl Sanders started to use descriptions for every track, explaining us not only its meaning and lyrical content, but also the sources where he was taking some ideas, old transcriptions and general knowledge. This is something fascinating and reading these liner notes (which Nile continued doing on all their future albums) is highly interesting. You know, lyrics are one thing, but knowing their meaning in such difficult subject like Ancient Egypt and old cultures, where higher knowledge is required, is essential, especially if we deal with bands like Nile.
The basis of Nile's music was still the same. What did change was the song structuring and songs / album length. Nile extended the length and “Black Seeds of Vengeance” is something like ten minutes longer than its predecessor and (most of the) songs are not so short anymore. When you listen to this record you will surely notice that the riffage is even tighter and more brutal. It all really sounds like a furious demonstration of brutality and is almost close to crossing the line of ridiculousness sometimes, giving you an image of an unreadable, chaotic wall of brutal noise. It is obvious then that you need to listen to this album with special attention. Only this way you’ll be able to catch all these technical details and ideas. Complexity will not be a problem if youhear the riffs, instead of hearing a wall of noise.
Luckily “Black Seeds of Vengeance” also contains many hooks, interludes or epic, slower parts, so it’s not one dimensional and boring brutal death metal. Already in the first song, which is the title track, you’ll get surprised when after three minutes of relentless cannonade of vicious riffage a killer slow part breaks the intensity and I am sure that everyone then starts to growl “Black Seeds of Vengeance!!!!!!!!”. Similar patterns have been used also for “Defiling the Gates of Ishtar” and “Masturbation the War God” – and they do sound amazing. And this is why we all love Nile, because it has these special motifs that differ them from other brutal death metal bands. On this album all slower parts / songs sound extremely good and I can especially mention “To Dream of Ur”. It does sound dark and eerie, epic and monumental. I have to say that the ending part of “Black Seeds of Vengeance” is my favourite, because it strays from the blasting, thick brutal death metal and the music became more spiritual, mystical and ritualistic. It just sounds super amazing.
Well, the whole album is fantastic. It may not be my favourite Nile record, but I easily put in my top four. Essential stuff for death metal maniacs, even those who usually don’t like technical and brutal stuff.
Standout tracks: “To Dream of Ur”, “Black Seeds of Vengeance”, “The Black Flame”
Final rate: 80/100
To be honest, I’m not sure how to go about reviewing this album. It was one of my first death metal albums, and to this day remains one of my favourite, not only amongst Nile’s discography, but among all death metal I was to hear from thereon. In some ways this makes it easy and at the same time difficult to review Black Seeds of Vengeance. It is easy in that I could go on for quite some time about all the reasons that make this album so grand and magnificent, but at the same time there lies the challenge of truly doing it justice and communicating it’s breathtaking beauty without relying on the sentimentality I associate with this brilliant release. Where do I begin to describe the raw brutality present in every area of the music put forth, the mind-blowing technical prowess so endowed in the artists who create it, and the soul-strangling atmosphere that never relents its fiery grip? Perhaps I should first tell you that Black Seeds of Vengeance is absolutely and unequivocally one of the most brutal, technical, and plainly monumental death metal albums in the last 15 years. Forgive me if I appear to overplay the death metal opus this album is, but I cannot overstate the greatness of this momentous collection of unfathomably masterful and malicious music. It simply decimates.
The first thing you notice upon listening to the album, assuming of course you start with the instrumental intro, is the enticing Egyptian themed prelude, whose use of extremely unorthodox instruments and sounds sets a formidable atmosphere, similar to that of one in the great and powerful presence of Ra that gives you a taste for the awe so associated with the music to follow. The track following is arguably the album’s most brutal and crushing, “Black Seeds of Vengeance”. The title track starts us off with a ferocious blast beat, provided by drummer Derek Roddy (session drummer replacing Pete Hammoura, who preceded the great George Kollias as main Nile drummer). The guitars, handled by the masters, Karl Sanders and (for the first time in Nile) Dallas Toler-Wade, are utterly savage with the opening riff, though they sound dark and obscure. The vocals are first presented in all of their inhuman glory with a blaring guttural growl. The whole sound is inexplicably bestial and brutal, and none of it stops for a second, the brutality keeps pounding without relent. The riffs keep coming with nightmarish barbarity, and the vocals, guttural and hate filled, are spewed with unimaginable fervor. A simultaneously razor sharp and bluntly chaotic solo precedes a transition towards a powerful and epic end, composed of the ever flowing tremolo guitars and double bass, chanting vocals, and accompanied synthesized sounds that increase the epic factor exponentially. Track two done and your skull is a battered mush that Karl Sanders spreads on his sandwich. The album only continues to amaze and brutalize.
The entire album continues in this trend. The guitarists shred through genius death metal riffs, executed perfectly and with a ferocious passion that drives the music further and further. From slow and lumbering passages, such as in “The Black Flame” and “To Dream of Ur”, to the finger ripping technical ones, such as in “Masturbating the War God” and “Chapter for Turning into a Snake”, Karl and Dallas prove they are gods of death metal guitar. The guitars’ lower registers are deep and bone crushing, but the higher registers are whining and cutting. The wailing of these highs can be seen in the downright stunning solos, and when used together with the drones and bludgeoning of the lows, the product is simply orgasmic. Though brutal as the guitars are, they never surrender a sense of melody both beautiful and haunting. The harmonic minor and double harmonic keys are crushing and melodic, not to mention perfectly fitting the themes and atmospheres that Nile so skillfully create. These awesome atmospheres are only supplemented by their instrumental interludes, making excellent use of acoustics and unorthodox Egyptian/Eastern instruments to emphasize a dark, cryptic, and entrancing ambiance that transitions between songs impeccably.
Along the lines of recurring themes throughout the album includes the repeated utilization of chant like patterns and rhythms, specifically in those of the vocals. The vocals throughout the album are spectacular. Karl Sander’s guttural drones are surreal and mix perfectly with the brilliant music it accompanies. Dallas Toler-Wade also provides his own vocals to the album, roaring and demonic, but also far more guttural than those heard on later albums. As well, Dallas and Karl’s vocals are very balanced, again unlike in more recent releases. The miscellaneous guest vocal appearances are superb and prevent the slightest monotony in the vocals during any of their songs. The vocal variety is refreshing and the vocals themselves are just otherworldly and magnificent. As a display of the vocal qualities of the vocalists appearing on the album, Black Seeds of Vengeance ends with the outro track, “Khetti Satha Shemsu”, consisting of the repeated death growling of an Egyptian chant, consummating the chant like motif present throughout the album. The unison of the vocal talents of Karl and Dallas in addition to that of guests such as Ross Dolan of Immolation (!) is utterly monstrous, all led by a simple yet mesmerizing drum beat.
All of the songs, even some of the instrumentals, are necessary and do not come across as filler because they are all completely obliterating and well written. They vary in length and focus, be it on melody, atmosphere, or brutality. No matter what the song, there is an undeniable sense of passion in the performance of all members. The drummers’ emphatic blasting throughout the album is spectacular and truly represents the vibrancy and vicious vivacity of all other member’s performance.
All in all, the album is superb in its atmosphere, in the musicianship, in the absolute beauty of the songwriting and the overall ease that it is to listen to the whole album through multiple times. The production, while not as clean and quality as later releases, does not take away from the sound or any of the songs’ quality. While the guitarists demonstrate considerable proficiency, the technical aspects of the album are well balanced and never go “over the top”, as other technical death metal bands may, a la Necrophagist, Brain Drill, and such. This was only Nile’s second release but already I believe they perfected their sound, utilizing Egyptian and Eastern themes (lyrical and musical) to create superior death metal both brutal and technical, and at the same time not alienating a sense of melody occasionally. This was Nile’s masterpiece, their magnum opus. While many of their releases are fantastic, such as Annihilation of the Wicked and Those Whom the Gods Detest, this one certainly trumps some (see In Their Darkened Shrines) and gives the rest a run for their money. This is perfection, this is death metal beauty, and this is what Nile is, in every way.
Nile have a pretty good thing going for them now: they've solidified and expanded on their original Egyptian/Pharoah-central concept, they've adjusted the underground to suit their individual style through numerous tours, and they have (with this release) fallen even deeper into the mythos that they espouse. I can not think of that many other bands that are as powerfully influenced by any one central mythology or culture the way Nile is sponsored by the Egyptian dead, and I don't think they will leave any room for bands that come after them to explore similar subjects. No, it's all going to look derivative after this album.
I haven't really heard any pre-release press about this new album, so I don't know where the rest of the underground stands in relation to it. Personally, I'm very impressed. Nile have just about upped the ante of intensity and style on all levels with 'Black Seeds of Vengeance': in terms of sound and impact, they are harder, heavier, and faster than ever - so fast in certain parts, in fact, that the whirlwind/sandstorm of their guitars and drums becomes almost a blur, a blinding, heaving holocaust spinning out of control, shriveling and shredding flesh right and left. On this album they seem to get most of the speed out of their system fairly quickly: the first few songs, including the title track, fly by like an afterthought. All that really registers is the mayhemic catchiness of the song 'Black Seeds of Vengeance' and the new ferociousness that they have brought to this art. Never has death metal sounded so inhuman, so cold and lethal. Towards the middle of the album things slow way down, and Nile injects a fair amount of doom into the proceedings - returning to their roots, you could say, their earlier sound, when they weren't so intent on grinding their audience to a pulp. This also allows the chance for some of their now-famed 'atmospherics' to take center stage, and this album is as filled with sound effects, strange instruments, and chilling otherworldly passages as the last opus. Nile succeed completely once again in being able to take you to another world and another time through their music. At the end of the proceedings we have the catchiest of all the songs on this album, 'Nas Akhu Khan she en Absiu', which brings together all the elements of their style perfectly: the lacerating speed, the morbid slow riffs, the 'ethnic' sounds, etc. Also of note is the short (much too short, in my opinion, I would have liked it to last longer) classical guitar instrumental 'Libation unto the Shades Who Lurk in the Shadows of the Temple of Anhur', which was recorded in a 'stone echo chamber' beneath the main studio where the rest of this album was set on tape, and the slow, sleepy and doom-drowned 'To Dream of Ur', which is a step in the right direction for this band, in my opinion. These songs have some of the eeriest/most effective melodies on this entire album.
Of special note are the few pages of explanatory text that the band included in the lyric booklet which detail the background, influences, literary history, melodic inspiration, and thematic detail behind each song. This makes for fairly fascinating reading, as it is obvious the band is now deeply involved in their study of Egyptian magic and history, and they are bringing ever-new subjects to light... I hope they continue this feature on their future albums.
So, to sum up, there really aren't any negative things to say about this album. Nile have expanded their lyrical and musical range, widened and deepened their own style, and opened up a whole new series of interesting questions for me about Egyptian history. This is as good an album as you are going to find these days in the death metal scene, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I must first admit that Nile’s Black Seeds of Vengeance is the first death metal album I ever heard. Back in the halcyon days of the autumn of 2000, I’d been listening to lots of Slipknot and Coal Chamber when an internet message board suggestion led me to buy a copy of this record without hearing a note of it beforehand. The title track exposed me to the first blast beat I’d ever heard, the most intense growls I’d ever heard, the most technical and by far the most brutal music I’d ever been exposed to in my young life.
I’ve heard lots more death metal of all varieties in the twelve years that have passed since then, but Black Seeds impresses me to this day. It still sounds fast, brutal, and technical, and Nile has a nicely developed sense of catchiness that took me several years to appreciate. Karl Sanders’ and Dallas Toler-Wade’s riffs are memorable and sometimes even hummable, even when they’re quite complex. The guitar and bass tracks on standout songs like “Masturbating the War God” and “Multitude of Foes” demonstrate a dedication to the craft of writing metal riffs that's hard to find in the world of knockoffs and also-rans. Writing riffs that are both technical and catchy is a difficult tightrope to walk, and Nile does it well.
Pete Hammoura's drum performance is similarly successful. I imagine it would impress even the most devoted subscriber to Sick Drummer Magazine, and I can assure you firsthand, it also impressed a 17-year-old kid who'd never heard the genre before. There's plenty of blasting, naturally, but Hammoura decorates his beats with creative cymbal work and tom flourishes. I love the intro to "Nas Akhu Khan She en Asbiu," where he tosses off a 10-measure fill at some ungodly BPM before beginning the blast section for the verse, and it sounds absolutely effortless.
And, of course, there’s the Egyptian shit. It's a cool approach that felt unique in 2000, and the unconventional instrumental interludes and chanting sections create an atmosphere that makes a Nile record instantly distinguishable from any other death metal band's. Yes, it's a gimmick, but it comes across as genuine and I enjoy the way the interludes break up the brutality. Back in the days of physical CDs, Karl Sanders wrote extensive liner notes and was clearly passionate about the stuff. The lyrics are aiming higher than the gore/death/Satan norms of the scene, and I appreciate the effort. Sanders', Spires', and Toler-Wade's vocal deliveries are guttural but with plenty of feeling, summoning the spirits of these poor ancient bastards who have to masturbate the war god or transform into snakes.
Black Seeds exposed me to the world of death metal, and I'm glad I had such a solid foundation when I became a fan. The album holds up nicely to this day and is one of the more focused and memorable Nile albums. Its impressive songs, passionate performances, neat lyrics, and great concept spoiled me from the start and set the bar pretty high.
As one of the heaviest bands in metal due to their sheer technicality, Nile are masters of the genre. Seven albums have proved that they are always full of new ideas and creativity. Many will tell you that 'Annihilation of the Wicked' is their best work, although I thought 'Those Whom the Gods Detest' was more brutal. This (their second release), however, may not have the ultra-heavy production quality of later albums, but it stands as Nile's most raw, dark, and sinister album of their career.
Now don't get me wrong, the album is still brutal enough to please hardcore metalheads, but it would seem that Karl and the gang prioritized atmosphere over heaviness (which is a good thing). The whole album, especially on tracks like 'Masturbating the War God', has a real bleak and evil overall sound, which isn't easy to try and copy. There are some nice and interesting ideas here, such as the chanting on 'Defiling the Gates of Ishtar' which combines sheer brutality with awesome atmospherics.
The guitar work on this record is everything you can expect from Nile, only it seems grittier and darker. The brutality of both the drums and guitar really stands out and manages to do so without overshadowing the technical side of the music. There are some awesome Egyptian melodies here, particularly on the title track and 'Multitude of Foes', for example. This release stands as one of their most diverse and experimental efforts, as they really went to town on other ideas as well as face-melting guitar work and thundering blast beats. The final song on the album features some growls and chants that really give me the feel of the ancient Egyptian world.
The instrumental sections are top notch and the intro track really gave me an idea of the unsettling sounds that were to come. The thing that makes this album stand out from most of their other releases is that although it is very basic and primitive, it still has more atmosphere than any of the other records, which is very difficult to pull off. The stand out track is without a doubt 'To Dream of Ur', which is one of the most menacing death metal songs I have ever heard. It chugs along slowly and ominously, creating a pitch black sound and feel like most of the album does.
The verdict on this death metal wonder? 'Black Seeds of Vengeance' is a one of a kind descent into the blackest depths of metal. Nile's second effort is quite simply awesome. There is no other metal album like it and it will be eons before a band can combine heaviness and cinematic feel like it is demonstrated here.
Don't miss out on this one, metalheads.
It's hard to pinpoint when exactly I truly got into Nile, though I do centralize it around my first hearing of the live version of 'Black Seeds of Vengeance'.
Everything after that is history....
What stuck out for me at the start was the(now somewhat traditional) mellow opening(s) and interludes on this album. I knew what would be coming the second that the first track ended; however, that STILL doesn't give me time to prepare for the face-rape that is to ensue with the title track, which is quite a good thing considering IT'S NILE! The technique and brutality is ever present for the weird brand of technical brutal death metal the band is attributed as being. The guitars, though muddled, are ridiculously fast-paced and the drumming has absolutely no trouble keeping up with the hectic pace of each song(save 'To Dream of Ur', considering its obvious atmosphere). The production is actually quite decent, despite the quasi-prototypical standards that were in place for a majority of technical death metal at the time. The vocals are successful at keeping my attention, due to the variety of Chief's mid-level growls, Karl's deep gutturals, and Dallas' particular style evening out the sound. Each song does well to keep my attention, even the relatively short ones('Multitude of Foes' and 'Chapter for Transforming into a Snake'). I can't really speak for the lyrical content, simply because I don't really associate with the mythos the band implements(not to say aren't impressive, because they ARE).
That being said, it's time for whatever negatives I may have..................well, the production on the bass guitar could use some remastering, since it's just so audible(though more audible than their more recent efforts). The guitars could use some cleaning up, considering the insane amount of notes they put out with each riff; the riffs sound pretty opaque in the long run, blending together a little too well. The drumming technique is usually blast fest followed by intense drum roll followed by blast fest-basically, their early stages of now trademark Nile drumming. Other than these minute peeves, that's just about it for the negatives.
Overall, the album has little that would put off individuals from engaging in repetitive listens. 'Black Seeds of Vengeance' truly epitomizes the point of the band; to be one of the most thought provoking and overtly brutal bands this generation. This is Nile, in prime and primal form.
Verdict; BUY THIS SHIT.
Modern death metal scene is mostly a disgrace and yet Nile has released one solid CD after another. BSOV is not only solid, it's IMHO their masterpiece. It's brutal yet atmospheric and dark. The orchestration of songs like "Masturbating the War God" or "Chapter for Transforming into a Snake" is astounding. It is probably one of their most underproduced albums, so no wonder many dismiss it easily, but BSOV eclipses their previous material and sets a very high standard for the records to come, not only technically speaking mind you, (although the leap in that department is obvious) but in the variation throughout the songs. I'll grant you that the following albums may be a little more complex, specially In their Darkened Shrines, and yet I have the impression that no other album of theirs features the hypnotic chantings, the epicness or the savagery BSOV does so well (elements that can be pinpointed in the blasphemous track "Defiling the Gates of Ishtar")
Here I find a raw force that is more immediate and reminds me more of the "Amongst the Catacombs..." era than the recent material, but at the same time I feel that the very complex riffage and the architectonic nature of the songs make this a more intelectual and refined album. Whereas songs from "Amongst..." had a shorter breath, BSOV shows a sustained energy that fully exploits the band's capacity.
Funnily there are several instances where I find that some of the latest albums actually include emulations of past glories: newer epic tracks on other albums will always try to imitate the richness of "To Dream of Ur", slower tracks still make an effort to fathom again the disturbing, whisper-filled depths of "The Black Flame", their opening tracks found a new standard in the crushing title song.
I am tired of reading that Nile's DM approach is musical wankery, either because they are too technical or because the Middle Eastern elements sound too cheesy. Nothing more distant from the truth. Wankery is gratuitous, much like the music that is produced by many Prog bands, but I think that these riffs are perfectly justified, and the 'Egyptian' elements are never overbearing. Nile's music has a cerebral core, their themes are displayed very constantly and very coherently, and that is seldom seen in the metal industry, which is probably why brats that enjoy the pointless droning of lesser DM bands like Behemoth are unable to distinguish the greatness in Nile's albums.
This was my first venture into the analogous world of NILE, a bold endeavor as death metal's not really my cup of tea. Loaned to me by a now former associate of once mutual musical tastes with a promise of it being top-notch and unforgettable. I figured that, for it what it was worth, I had everything to gain and nothing to lose, as praises upon praises were heaped up to mountainous proportions from various other sources that I just had to see what the fuss was all about.
Well, the guy was right...it is unforgettable. But in a good way? Not quite.
What good qualities this album presents are few and far between, but worth noting. NILE are potently able to create a violent atmosphere with their method of bludgeoning the listener over the head with blurry, blinding riffery, hailstorms of percussion abuse and three different shades of hellish death growls; the way the guitar leads, blast beats, and gurgling meld together into a constantly interchangable morass of insanity showcases chaos incarnate as music, leaving the listener both fascinated and uncomfortable. Plus the usage of the uberly-deathtastic lyrical themes of old-time Egypt, with all the wars, sexual perversions and torturous torture, are keen enough on the eyes and ears, broadening the death metal horizons beyond its original, less-than-humble roots. However, for all this positivity, the actual output is less than ideal in terms of both performance and production quality. The riffs flitter by with an anarchistic sense, completely buried under mounds of relentless drumwork and untranslatable growling, with such a lack of cohesion you'd swear they just made it up as they went along. There aren't any places within this album that really stick out beyond the endless violence each song presents, showing this listener the absolute limitations of brutal death metal in absolute clarity. While the madness for the sake of madness approach works for songs like the title track, "Masterbating the War God" and "The Black Flame", after a while it becomes exhausting to try and sit through an entire duration of musical messiness. I'm sure some good, tasty riffs are there, but there's too much smoke in the way.
So in the end this was a bit of a failed experiment, wrought with confusion and a few cringes. I can't whether or not the group has evolved with subsequent albums, but if this is any indication of an evolutionary step, the wind is totally at their backs.
This is the first half of Nile's retarded and lame mid-period that no one should listen to. This isn't the absolute nadir of their career but it sure does come close, and it's the sound on this album and the next that makes many people hate Nile regardless of past or future releases.
This is where Colonel Sanders decided that writing interesting and catchy songs was for queers and that the proper course of Nile was to become a neverending display of technicality crudely broken up with 'epic' Egyptian portions (re: choir effect on synth) and the occasional segment of droning ambiance. I can confirm that NONE of those elements are done well on this album. In fact, the only thing that prevents this from being the musical holocaust that was 'In Their Darkened Shrines' is the fact that this album has bearable production. It's hard to call that a saving grace, though, when the music is so unequivocally awful.
Here's a song on this album: fast array of technical riffing, generally with the typical low, quickly changing tremolo picking of Suffocation-derived artists, but with Sanders deciding to pop in for a lead guitar segment roughly every five seconds. Drums have two modes: blast and fill, and stretches of the former are CONSTANTLY broken up by the latter at the end of every measure in a totally unnecessary display of technicality. All kinds of stuff goes on but none of it has any direction and the ultimate result of all the chaos is nothing. Sanders' vocals are akin to sloppily ejaculating all over a bored hooker; they don't come in any arranged pattern and it just makes everything more messy.
The most ridiculous and retarded part is how poorly the epic Egyptian sections are incorporated; the band literally just stops playing the tech death and starts again playing this tactless breed of epic death metal. And when I say 'just stops', I mean exactly that. There are no bridges, no connecting ideas, just an immediate halt. Apparently they think letting a held chord drift off is enough to connect two completely unrelated musical ideas. Beyond the retarded incorporation though, the epic sections are ridiculously cheesy and artless and shallow; they actually seem WORSE than what an average non-musician could craft, like they're going into negative songwriting territory.
Now granted this isn't as miserable as 'In Their Darkened Shrines', but there's still absolutely nothing to recommend for it and it's difficult for me to think of many albums that I'd place under this. It sucks horribly, HORRIBLY, and it's amazing to think that this is the same band who made the pretty competent 'Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka'. I suppose this has some value if you're a guitar student, but beyond that, there's absolutely no purpose to this album beyond spawning incredulity in its listeners that, yes, a major label put this out and numerous metalheads continue to gobble this up like candy.
One thing is for certain; Nile do not mess around. With this being just their second release (the first was Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka) Nile have returned to pulverize our senses once again with first class, no nonsense death metal. But that is only just half of the story.
The group continues to progress in their Egyptian sound and style. They have evolved a lot since Catacombs.. and the thought of that is kind of frightening. The addition of a new guitar player (Dallas Toler-Wade) has just added strength to their strength. If you thought mainman Karl Sanders had skill, you were probably right. The good news is that Karl has found a perfect partner to help him in his crime.
Another notable fact is that drummer Derek Roddy played all drum parts on the album, with the exception of 'To Dream of Ur' on which Pete Hammoura played on-their original drummer. The reason being that Pete suffered some kind of technical injury, and Derek had to take his place in the studio. Nile would have to search pretty damn hard to find someone better than Derek to fill in for the studio spot, as he delivers a jaw-dropping performance on this album.
The album kicks off with a short instrumental song that sets the mood perfectly for what's truly about to begin. The title track is next in line, and you can almost instantly notice a smoother, cleaner production than on Catacombs. The band is tighter, faster, and even more brutal than on their previous release.
'Defiling the Gates of Ishtar' features more melodic riffs and more adventerous drum playing. The end of the song is graced by some anchient chanting, which instanly takes you back in time. Track four, 'The Black Flame' starts with a very interesting vocal intro performed by Karl Sanders. His vocals are deep and reach battering sub-bass levels. The vocal technique present here is very like the technique used by the Tibet monks.
'Libation unto the Shades who lurk in the Shadows of the Temple of Anhur' is the title of the fifth track-another instrumental peice based upon an anchient harp melody played on a gut-string classical guitar. The monk-like vocals near the end makes the overall effect a lot more dramatic. Which sets us off to what I consider to be chapter two of the album, lead by 'Masturbating the War God', and followed up by 'Multitude of Foes' written by Dallas Toler-Wade. The riffs are devastatingly fast and the drums seem to be even faster. Some quick tempo changes (such as the intro) and a lot of rhythm changes all seem to fly by in less than two minutes.
If I were to be asked what my favorite song off this record was, it would be a hard choice. But I would most likely choose track eight, 'Chapter for Transforming into a Snake', which has pure genius written all over it. The riffs twist and turn, and are highly melodic and memorable. They tend to stick in your brain almost as soon as you hear them. The drumming in this song is simply unreal. Derek Roddy blasts his way through intensely fast rhythms, somewhere along the lines of 261 beats per minute.
'Nas Akhu Khan She En Asbiu' and 'To Dream of Ur' are both very interesting listens. I read somewhere that the band used close to 120 tracks in the recording of the latter song. You can hear what I mean once the song starts to work it's way into the two minute mark. There is so much to hear here-it's almost impossible to make it all out with just a few listens. It's kind of hard to listen to if you don't like the concept of Nile, as it can seem a bit too much. Overall, I consider this song to be a benchmark in Nile's history and sound.
The eleventh song off of the album 'The Nameless City of the Accursed' was inspired by a H.P. Lovecraft tale. It's also notable that every song on this album was inspired by a true story, with the exception of some. The lyric sheet goes over each song one by one as Karl Sanders explains the meanings in his songs-where they were inspired from, where the lyrics date back to, which exotic instruments were used-everything. All this makes you think that this is not just some record by a ordinary death metal band. It's intelligent metal which unfortunately not many people will be able to understand, as you have to be a musician or greatly involved with music. Only then can someone fully appreciate what the guitars, drums, bass and vocals are saying, what they're doing, and what they represent.
'Khetti Satha Shemsu' is the perfect closer for what seems to be a perfect album. There are only chanted lyrics and percussion. The overall effect makes you feel that you've just witnessed something very special, something that doesn't seem to happen very often. I'm not sure if the band knew the greatness of this record while they were making it, but I'm sure they know now. Most people listening to this genre of music know it as well. Highly reccomended.. more than just about anything if this is what you love to listen to.
I can see so many of you saying something like:
"...the Hell?! Who gives Nile an 80?"
I think we can all agree that Nile is a very talented, and very tight act, right? But there are just some things about this release that bug me... For one thing, the drums are mixed waaaayyy too high. It was kind of disapointing on first listen... I was really looking forward to something less like the majority of my blast beat grind/gore collection. Y'know, something I could get into just like that. Sure, it's nothing to really rant about, but it wasn't a great first impression. The second thing that kind of gets on my nerves is the lack of music. "What?! Blasphemy!!" you, the loyal Nile fan might say, but there ARE a lot of instrumental/chanting tracks. They may very well keep the egyptian spirit alive (along with the atmosphere) but, well... I studied Egyptian religion, government, tradition, and whatnot for 6 years, and even I would rather it not be there. They just seem like a waste of time, and I just about always skip them... Okey, now for the other 80%.
What Nile is basically is a very cool bit of incredibly technical death carrying an equally cool theme. Songs like Multitude of Foes will take you a while to really comprehend, but then, it's tech death. No one should be as dumb as me and dive into it unaware.
To round it off, I reccomend you get their other efforts first. The drums are turned down just enough in those to actually hear the guitars the first time around. For any fan of Nile who doesn't have this, get it right away. Above all, it's an above average tech death release.
I recently purchased all four major releases by Nile. They are on constant rotation in my CD player. I find that I can't listen to anything else right now, because nothing seems to come close to what Nile has created.
Black Seeds of Vengeance is phenomenal. It is brutal, technical and sounds great. The songs are not repetitive, the riffs are exclusive to each track. Although the vocals are unintelligble, the lyrics are intriguing and each song tells a story (Thank you Karl for the liner notes) about the people of Ancient Egypt. And while they are somewhat gory (moreso than any other Nile release), they are well written. Sanders doesn't just throw in gore for shock value, he is telling you how things got done back in the times of the pharoah. Mixing in the egyptian themes and instruments offers the listener something new and refreshing, something you won't hear from the Cannibal Corpses of the world. I already know how to disembowel a man, now I know how the Egyptians did it. If I had to find one flaw on this record, it would have to be the instrumentals. The opener does nothing for me, the track "Libation Unto the Shades..." is a beautiful classic accoustic guitar track, but I really don't think it succeeds in introducing the next song, which is mainly about raping the women of the enemies of Egypt. The instrumentals just don't blend into the songs as well as other albums, and the CD should have ended after 7 minutes into Dream of Ur. Ketti Satha Shemsu has a nice creepy feel to it, but I feel a little ripped off by having that piece end the CD. But enough with the negs, back to the songs, all of which are great. I can't fast forward through any of the songs.
Can anyone tell me why it took Toler-Wade a year to write Multitude of Foes? I don't know anything about musical theory but my knowledge of division tells me that six months per minute! What am I not hearing?
Anyway, I highly recommend this CD as well as the others. This is for all people out there who like their music with a little imagination and creativity.
I think they get progressively better with each release, and I look forward to hearing from them again in 05.
Best of the best: Black Seeds of Vengeance, Defiling the Gates of Ishtar and To Dream of Ur.
BUY THIS CD!
Nile are one of the few USDM bands I really dig due to their completely distinctive sound and brilliant lyrics. They actually write EVENTS, not songs, and every song is a major production in and of itself. And they have had some of the best drummers in death metal on their albums (Derek Roddy on this one due to original drummer Pete Hammoura's incapacitating shoulder injury he suffered on tour, Tony Laureano on this album's tour and up until now as a full time member), it bears mentioning. When I first bought this CD, it was my wife's first exposure to extreme death metal, and after a minute's worth of the title track, she turned to me with her jaw hanging in shock and said (I quote verbatim) : "Honey...this drummer is an athlete!!!" Yepper, Ironman level, Derek's drumming is on this CD, and one of the greatest death metal drum performances ever, for my money. All first takes, too, according to Karl, which makes him all the more a GOD.(And he got a good laugh out of me telling him that when I met him after seeing Hate Eternal the first time a couple years ago) Oh yeah, the album...
Every song on this album, as I said, is a major event unfolding before you with a dizzying array of brooooootal riffs, melodies derived from ancient Egyptian harmonies and modes, and whirlwind drumming that will make your head spin with evey listen! My personal faves, out of the whole album, are the title track (that chant of the title at the end gets me throwing the horns and roaring along every time!), "Defiling The Gates of Ishtar" with its killer sweep arpeggios heralding the solo section and its brilliant half time blast beat/full time blast beat segment right before that part (not to mention the evil chanting in ancient Sumerian/Babylonian/whatever at the end), "Masturbating the War God" with its epic feel, "To Dream of Ur" with its tympani and eerie vocals that sound like a demon and a crazed Islamic holy man trading speeches about ancient, evil civilizations, and the hair-raising demon snake chant, "Khetti Satha Shemsu", nothing but repetitive drumming and chanting phrases in ancient Egyptian to achieve a hypnotic mantra effect that will give you chills every time.
The best part is, that guitarist/vocalist/mainman/songwriter/genius Karl Sanders (one of the coolest and most down to earth guys in death metal) devotes a healthy chunk of the CD booklet to not only lyrics, but fully detailed, articulate explanations of the ideas and texts that inspired them. How many bands do you know of who do that for their fans? Not many other than Nile. The explanation of "Khetti Satha Shemsu", for example, tells you that the chant is actually a composite of two different chants about two similar yet different snake demons of the Du'at (Egyptian Underworld)--how cool is that? Very!!!
If you support only one USDM band, let it be Nile--these guys are some of the hardest-working guys in death metal and are eminently worthy of your support! And this is one of the most classic, original, and essential USDM albums ever recorded. Nuff sed.
NILE - Black Seeds Of Vengeance (Relapse ~2000)
"Holy Shit !!!! This album is INCREDIBLE !! This makes "Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephra Ka" look like a collection of love songs (and I LOVE that one !!!). The production is excellent as well as the music itself. The songs are assembled in such a way that when you least expect it they cascade down into a furious bout of low tuned, speedy riffing and fast vomity vocals. The brutality level is a ten out of ten. An interesting aspect of the opening track is that they utilize an instrument called an Argoul, an oboe made out of reeds. That adds a uniqueness along with many other "sounds" the band interlace between the brutal vocals and riffing. I wouldn't even know where to begin as far as the lyrics are concerned. They are astounding and quite unusual for death metal bands. They derive lyrical inspiration from old cuneiform tablets and Egyptian Literature. You've got to pick up this album if you like your Death Metal brutal and the Egyptian theme is a definite plus in my book since the subject matter interests me.