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An improvement but still not really there. - 70%

HammadKhan, November 11th, 2009

I have been a huge Nile fan for many years now. Heard them in 2001, and have been following them ever since. They never disappointed me until I heard Ithyphalic. The songs dragged for no reason at all, the three vocal onslaught, that made the band sound so unique, was missing and there was no one track on the album I could pinpoint and say truly deserves to be in the Nile catalog and is something they haven't attempted in the past. It was just a very, very weak effort as opposed to the thunderous ITDS, BSOV and even AOTW.

However, with this new album, the band has attempted, with real devotion too if I might add, to return to their older sound without re-hashing a lot of what made them so great back in the day. The songs do not tend to drag a whole lot, the separation of vocals has improved a great deal, something which made Ithyphallic sound boring, as Dallas dominated 95 % of that record throughout. That's not to say he doesn't here, but Karl complements his delivery a lot more.

Also, the production is so much better. The clicky drum sound has been replaced with a crushing one, and really shows just how good Kollias is behind the kit, and all the doubts there might have been about the guy seem to now be at rest. A true monster of a drummer, and his playing is heard full-front

That's not to say the album doesn't have a fair share of problems. First of all, the fascination with repeating the song title has grown even more. It sounded fine in BSOV and in a song or two in AOTW, but they overdid it in Ithyphallic. Most of the songs have these 'chant-like' repetitions of the song titles, but they do not sound half as epic as they did in BSOV. What they do sound like is a band not knowing what to growl about, and so, resorting to yell the title as much as possible in about 70 % of the songs. It gets really annoying after a while. We get it, Karl. We know what song we are listening to. Please, move on. Write something intelligent like you did on the first few albums. Repeating a song's title again and again is incredibly boring, and does not help in making it sound epic.

Secondly, the longer songs have nothing on tracks like Unas Slayer of the Gods & To Dream of Ur. What made these songs so different was the instrumentation employed. What the two songs on TWTGD lack is that feel, that feel of an epic, the sound of impending doom that was so heavily present on Unas & To Dream. Not to mention, these so-called 'epic' tracks also resort to dragging once in a while, though it's nothing extreme like in 'Annihilation of the Wicked' & 'What Can Be Safely Written'. Those tracks could have easily been four minutes shorter in my opinion.

As a conclusion, it can be said that the album, while having some plus points as compared to the previous effort, still doesn't feel like it could stand with their best albums. The production is much better, the vocals have improved, the drum sound is insane, but the weaknesses mentioned hinder the album getting a higher score, which is a shame because it sounds like the band is starting to run out of ideas after AOTW. The next album really needs to bring the greatness of ITDS and BSOV back for me to really care for the band again. Doesn't seem like a 70+ % release at all.

Pros: Good, heavy production. Thunderous drum work, improvement in the vocal delivery department as compared to Ithyphallic, some punishing sections in 'Kafir!'

Cons: Vocals are weak as compared to ITDS & BSOV, the 'epics' could have been shorter, which is not a great thing for said songs, repetitions of song titles in several songs tends to sound highly annoying, Egyptian atmosphere not dominant as was in the first three albums.