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Divine punishment for those heretics - 85%

Andreas_Hansen, April 13th, 2018

Nile is one of those bands that distinguish itself when it comes to knowledge about Ancient Egypt. Almost all of their albums broach different aspects of this distant culture, as they like as well to insert oriental sonorities in their music like Melechesh does. "Those Whom the Gods Detest" was released in 2009, an album that summarizes quite well this mix between brutality and middle-eastern sounds - two characteristics we wouldn't unite at first sight. This album is basically a monument in the discography of the masters of Ancient Egypt and double-barreled song names.

Though plenty of technical metal bands get notoriety thanks to guitarists' skills, Nile got mostly known for their incredible drummer, Georges Kollias, easily placed today among one of the best death metal drummers. With such a drummer we come to a unique point where he doesn't seem tired or exhausted at all by his play. Songs like "Those Whom the Gods Detest", "Permitting the Noble Dead to Descend to the Underworld", "Kem Khefa Kheshef", "The Eye of Ra" and "Iskander D'Hul Karnon" are there to help us remember how good this sir is at pummeling drums. And this is all the best for him because his raging way of playing matches well with the rest of the instrumental set, adding a very brutal touch to the final result.

Now let's talk about the guitars. Georges Kollias is at the drums what Karl Sanders and Dallas Toller-Wade are at guitars: very talented, technical and brutal. Karl Sanders, soloist specialized in Greek instruments such as saz or baglama, delivers us with his associate some riffs that are more into oriental melodies rather than brutality and some other that are simply aggressive with sometimes beautiful solos like in "Kafir!", "Those Whom the Gods Detest", "Permitting the Noble Dead to Descend to the Underworld", that sounds very oriental at the beginning, "Kem Khefa Kheshef" and "The Eye of Ra".

Karl Sanders, who doesn't seem to get enough with his brutal riffing, sometimes even takes the micro to sing along his mate, with a unique very deep and guttural voice that sets in contrast with Dallas' one, clearer and more understandable (in comparison with Karl).

The last point to talk about when it comes to Nile, even if I already talked about it a bit it deserves a whole paragraph, is the oriental sonorities, and cultural background that influence very much their music. When it comes to bands like Nile, that distinguish themselves from other technical brutal death metal bands, it's really important to deal with it because that's what creates their identity since a lot of other technical death metal bands don't deal with that theme. These oriental sonorities are represented under the shape of atmospheric intros and outros that create a very obscure, almost esoteric background to the song, like in "Those Whom the Gods Detest", "4th Arra of Dagon", "Yezd Desert Ghul Ritual in the Abandoned Tower of Silence"or "Iskander D'Hul Karnon". But sometimes it is also included inside the music itself, among the instrumental chaos, with singing, screams or traditional rites incantations like in "Kafir!" "Hittite Dung Incantation" (even the title says it!) and "4th Arra of Dagon". The insertion of these oriental characteristics into the music forces us to assimilate it with this traditional Egyptian context.

In conclusion, though the quality of composition was already there for a long time, Nile was only lacking a touch of originality to fully distinguish themselves from other technical death metal bands. That's something done with this album (and also with others that came before) since no band can be really put in the same bag as Nile. Though a strong rumor was floating around, saying that all of the members were of Egyptian lineage, all the members are fond of this mythology, especially Karl Sanders who even went to form a quite unique atmospheric side-project where he could experiment all the ideas and all the instruments he couldn't place into Nile's music.

Originally written in French for Tunes of Steel the 25th of December 2016.