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A friend of mine often says that Death Metal these days doesn't have soul anymore, and I tend to agree with him more often that not. All it really takes is a close look at where Death Metal came from, and what it eventually came to, and one arrives at the same disillusioning (and depressing) conclusion. No one knows exactly when it happened - many still blame Suffocation, but no one can be absolutely sure, because it has been a fluid, gradual process - but some day apparently someone decided it was a good turn for Death Metal to define an ideal sound - that would later be appropriately named "brutal", a word derived from the latin adjective "brutus", meaning dumb or foolish (and amusingly used by the fandom as a positive attribute) - based on 1) the nerve-gratingly inane palm-muted stop-and-go riffing of new school Hardcore that in turn was derived from a mixture of Crossover, Groove Metal and Noisecore, enveloped in a greasy goo of "ey yo we so tuff, you ain't got tha street cred muthafucka!"-style examples of testosterone gone very wrong, 2) an equally demented, painfully overstressed emphasis on "da skillz", with precision to the nanosecond and a plethora of various forms of wankery truly torturous to the eardrums, apparently as a tool measurement of aforementioned "cred", and, in the quite curiously bizarre mental world of the modern Death fandom, for some reason an indication of "brutality", and finally 3) in almost all cases, a production so overpolished that it measurable only by Pop standards on the upmost MTV scale.
Along with a handful of not-quite-but-pretty-much as hyped bands, Nile is at the forefront of it all. I cannot tell exactly why, because they fit the cliché almost invariably, pushing predictability past the limits of the conceivable, but they are at the forefront of it all. Maybe I am just missing something because I am only familiar with their first two albums, but knowing those I do not feel particularly motivation to listen to any of their later efforts, and I'm fairly confident that I wouldn't find anything too divergent - or, the animal-headed old gods beware, even an improvement - of what they present on their debut or on this album, "Black Seeds Of Vengeance". Nile don't even seem to try to do much about improving their status as kings of the ultra-generic. Sure, there is this flaky little Egypt-thing they have going, which even though it has been done by other Death Metal bands before them (Apophis is the first bands that comes to my mind at the moment, but I know there are others), is far from being wide-spread and nowhere near as standardized for generic Death Metal as the gore or occult themes are, but that alone doesn't do a lot to lift them even a millimeter out of the grey swamp of artistic nothingness that comes with excessive mediocrity. And the only other irregular element about the sound Nile present on "Black Seeds Of Vengeance" is that they focus on wankery even more than most other bands, throwing a whiney, howling guitarsolo over pretty much 90% of every song, making every single second a test of patience on its own, because hey, guitar solos can be a pretty cool climax of a great Heavy Metal song, but not when they are played nonstop from beginning to end! Please, stick to the traditional way of starting a short guitar solo somewhere after the second chorus when the song is at its climatic peak, give the crowd a few seconds to wield the air guitar, and then be done with it, minute over minute of "weee, weee, weedledeee, weee" is just unbearable.
But hey, for clarities sake, let me add that not all is awful about Nile. I quite enjoy the generally non-Metal interludes that come with their Egypt-based image. Nothing excessively exciting, but pretty good, and perhaps good enough to make me give the Karl Sanders solo album a listen one of these days. Additionally, in the far too rare moments when Nile don't lose themselves in pointless oh-so-technical wankery and actually manage to play something coherent, they sometimes, just sometimes, approach something marginally reminiscent of actual Death Metal, the way it was played before that whole "brutal" business dragged everything down into the artistically shallow pool of mediocrity, many many years ago. These moments - the interludes as well as the rare coherent, vaguely inspired Death Metal moments - unfortunately last barely more than a few seconds at a time, and they only surface a rare number of times in each song, if at all, so they cannot help much in improving this album to an extent that it would arrive anywhere near decent, or even tolerable. Not to mention that most of the time they are played, there is still everything that makes this album and unbearable listen mangling over it at the same time. But, at least the is a spark of talent involved in this band, and I couldn't bring myself to neglecting to mention this fact with a clear conscience.
In conclusion, this release is pretty much near damned worthless. It fulfills every cliché of a trend within a genre that managed to bring the genre as a whole all too near to total extinction, and what tiny selection of barely noticable redeeming factors it has to offer ends up being negligable. I do not have the slightest idea where this band gets the - entirely undeserved - hype it gets from, or the "genre" it represents for that matter, because all I can find behind the hype is shallow, superficial emptiness. I just hope that all this ends as soon as possible, and someone either puts modern Death Metal out of its misery, or remembers what once upon a time, long long ago the genre was actually about, and what made it so great big then. This certainly is barely more than a cruel audial pisstake on the legacy of a once great genre of music.