There's been few death metal acts over the last decade that have been more consistent than Nile. On their latest release Those Whom the Gods Detest, the formula that they've perfected over their previous five releases hasn't changed much, but the band has become even more precise (if that is even physically possible), the production even more massive (thanks to Neil Kernon), and the end results even more satisfying. While Ithyphallic was a pretty outstanding album in its own right, Those Whom the Gods Detest is a truly great technical death metal release. Whereas earlier fare such as Black Seeds of Vengeance, In Their Darkened Shrines, and Annihilation of the Wicked were dazzling displays of Egyptian themed death metal ferocity, the bands full-speed ahead, pummeling approach, as fantastic as it was, left little room for much variety. Here, blinding, technical passages are mixed with slower, punishing sections, and the vocals of Dallas Toler Wade & Karl Sanders take on different shades and tones. Fret not, this is still a brutal and epic affair, but you are left with a feeling that this latest Nile release is somewhat more approachable, despite the extreme nature of it all.
The wonderful growls of Toler Wade have gotten even better over the years, as you can clearly make out most of what he is singing despite the ferocious nature of his delivery, and he's complemented as always by the deathly zombie calls from Sanders. There's plenty of other clean vocals and narrations from a list of guest singers, and they add to the epic nature of this recording. Drummer George Kollias continues to be one of the finest players in the genre, as his blinding display of double bass kicks and blast beats litter tracks such as the crushing title track, the rabid "Hittite Dung Incantation", and the absolutely blistering "Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld". Sanders and Toler Wade trade plenty of punishing, technical riffery and wild solos throughout, but their attack is made so much more powerful with the inclusion of slowed down, grinding, almost doomy passages on tunes like "Kafir!" and " 4th Arra Of Dagon". For pure death metal brutality, you can't go wrong with "Kem Khefa Kheshef", and the killer closer "Iskander D'hul Karnon" is a runaway buzzsaw of technical riffs and blinding leads, yet somehow the whole experience is quite catchy, especially the Sabbath-ian middle section.
The only slight quibble here is the lack of any bass presence, but this album's so damn heavy and dynamic that you almost don't miss it. With all the complex leads flying about the mix and non-stop riff-o-rama, as well as the excellent growls and jackhammer drum work, whatever bass licks are there are almost treated as wallpaper-it's there somewhere, but who really cares. Karl Sanders has taken a lot of time and effort to once again give a packed booklet full of explanations behind each of the songs lyrical content, and there's a lot to read, but better bring your microscope to the party cause the print is pretty damn tiny. Overall this is a stupendous album, and easily one of 2009's best extreme metal releases.
1. Kafir! (6:50)
2. Hittite Dung Incantation (3:48)
3. Utterances Of The Crawling Dead (5:09)
4. Those Whom The Gods Detest (8:07)
5. 4th Arra Of Dagon (8:40)
6. Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld (3:32)
7. Yezd Desert Ghul Ritual In The Abandoned Towers Of Silence (2:33)
8. Kem Khefa Kheshef (6:18)
9. The Eye Of Ra (5:01)
10. Iskander D'hul Karnon (6:41)