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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.