Nuclear Blast (2012)
One of the leaders in the American tech death metal scene, Greenville South Carolina’s Nile does not sacrifice one iota of riff, lead, or blast beat fury. 19 years in as a group, you would think guitarist/vocalist Karl Sanders and company may slow their attack down, as their style has an athletic element that probably punishes the arms, legs and assorted body parts more so now than in their youthful 1993 beginnings. With album seven “At The Gate Of Sethu”, the quartet continues their unrelenting exploration of dropped A tuning, mystical/exotic Egyptian lyrical focus and complex speed picking with furious drum accompaniment that leaves you dizzy and discombobulated.
How drummer George Kollias doesn’t need hand (or foot) surgery after his flood of activity on songs like “The Gods Who Light Up The Sky At The Gate Of Sethu” and “The Inevitable Degradation Of Flesh” remain a mystery to me. Karl’s and Dallas' [Toler-Wade] vocal challenges are to growl or scream at the same fever pitch as the outer world tempo pace he constructs musically for Nile - and it may be an area that some consider a slight weakness for it can be almost barking in a rabid dog manner, and not distinctive enough for track separation (although the slower moments in “When My Wrath Is Done” give a tip of the cap to classic Chuck/Death days).
Dazzling technique won’t mean a hill of beans if the band didn’t know how to make the final product viable to the consumer- and there’s just enough mid-tempo pause for cause to keep songs like “Tribunal Of The Dead” and the seven minute “The Chaining Of The Inquitous” ready for crowd surfing, hair flailing antics. “At The Gate Of Sethu” requires a multitude of passes in various environments to capture what Nile puts forth- but 47 minutes can be filtered through your five senses for quite a few years.
Rating: 4 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe