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Nile - Those Whom the Gods Detest - 80%

ThrashManiacAYD, November 19th, 2009

Opening an album with the refrain "There is no God but God" suggests a band who mean business, and when it comes to Nile you can always be sure that this is the case, for this Egyptian-obsessed death metal elite are one the most invigorating and inspired bands that the genre of death metal has seen in years. Yes 2007's "Ithyphallic" may not have been the perfect follow-up to the sublime "Annihilation of the Wicked" but for sheer adrenaline rush the playing of Nile's music is hard to beat in a genre that is intended primarily to invoke intense reactions among lovers and haters alike.

I have met very few death/extreme metal fans who don't harbour an appreciation towards Nile, with the simple reason being that Karl Sanders and co. sit atop a creation of mind-melting brutality and technicality, headed in a style resoundingly unique in a field of imitators and imitators' imitators. It's simply impossible to dislike Nile if you call yourself a death metal fan - they really do have it all and with a discography to prove this strength you could say the need for another excellent album wasn't utmost. But then having another excellent slab of Nile is never going to do anyone any harm, right?

When Nile click all the right buttons they have a tendency to provide this listener at least everything he listens for in death metal these days, as exemplified by the title track of this record, opener "Kafir!" and my personal favourite, "Permitting the Noble Dead to Descend to the Underworld". A simple cursory listen to these three tracks should be enough evidence to answer the rarely heard question, "why are Nile so popular?" because somewhere in the machine-like drumming of George Kollias, the downtuned-to-the-bowels-of-hell riffs of Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade and their unholy mix of gut-wrenching vocal styles are a collection of songs that are far beyond the compositional and performance reaches of their many competitors.

To say there are any 'bad' songs on "Those Whom The Gods Detest" would be a severe overstatement but the album in it's latter stages does have moments in which the high standards attained earlier are momentarily relaxed to compensate for the need to vary dynamics across the album's 56 minutes. However I find it a fair assumption to make that if more bands were as unique and reliable as Nile continue to be today, the world of death metal would be a far more interesting one than it currently is where a small handful of bands are required to produce the genre's moments of real quality. Bands like Nile that would be then.

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