Thursday, July 5, 2007

NILE: (1998) Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka

Nile's second album, "Amongst the Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka," was the band's breakthrough disc. It didn't catapult Nile into the mainstream, so you'll have no luck finding their song on the radio, but it did make frontman Karl Sanders and his band a force to be reckoned with amongst the heavy metal underground.
Pick almost any song on this album, and you'll find mind-jumbling polyrhythms (which consist of airtight, often amazing drumming), steam-rolling riffs, maybe even a careening solo or two, and Sanders' ultra-deep, growly and unintelligible vocals (which sound more like a demon belching than an actual human). The album opens with a very speedy number, "Smashing The Antiu," which has a deft, pounding blast beat and searing guitars. There are a couple of interlude-type tracks ("Kudurru Maqlu" and "Die Rache Krieg Lied Der Assyriche") which break up the album's monotony, but they don't kill the record's intensity or relentlessness. "Barra Edinazzu" boasts thunderous guitars, insane drumming, and a spoken-word part which wouldn't sound out-of-place on a Cradle of Filth album. "Ramses Bringer Of War" features lightning fast drum work, frenetic riffs, retching vocals, and a couple of scorching, wild solos. Other standout tracks are the jackhammer rhythm on "The Howling Of the Jinn" (a song which sounds more like Dying Fetus covering Slayer than a traditional Nile tune), and the Deicide-esque scorcher, "Beneath Eternal Oceans Of Sand." This song begins with some pretty acoustic noodling before going full blast with crushing guitars and drums (and there's also a brief acoustic breakdown about halfway through).
So, yeah. This is good stuff. Any death metal fan (or metalhead in general) should find a lot to enjoy here. .. A. Stutheit

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