Up until now, the world basically had the mighty US band Nile as the purveyors of brutal & technical Egyptian themed death metal. Not any more folks...welcome Scarab, a band who actually hail from Cairo, Egypt, and are unleashing their sophomore effort Serpents of the Nile on Vicisolum Productions. Looking at the gorgeous digipack, you actually feel like you are immersing yourself in Egyptian mythology and lore, as the booklet is jam packed with fascinating artwork and full lyrics so you can read along to the storylines that Scarab have created for you. The music? Well, this is brutal & technical death metal of the highest order, dripping with moody atmospherics, a touch of prog rock, perfectly executed vocal growls, massive riffs, melodic guitar solos, and intriguing lyrical content.
Most of the songs here run 7-9 minutes long, so you know you are in store for some epic arrangements, and the band don't disappoint one bit. After the majestic opener "Calling Forth the Ancient Spirits of Kemet", the band launch into the crushing "Visions of a Blood River", a lethal slice of pummeling progressive death metal. The production is stellar, so all the instruments stand out, especially the massive guitar riffs and blazing lead solos, but you can just hear all the little Egyptian nuances the band have thrown in as well. "The Spells of Coming Forth By Day" is supported by ethereal keyboards, which float underneath acrobatic drums blasts, evil growls, and sledgehammer riffing. The title track is a headbangers delight, the riffs potent and razor sharp, while the raging "Pyramid of Illusions" offers up a surprising amount of groove for a song this brutal, and the lyrics tell a story that is often associated with Egyptian history. Things slow down a bit on the chilling, menacing "Funeral Pharaoh", as the band go back and forth between spooky prog, pulverizing doom, and furious death metal. It's one of the more varied tracks here that offers a little something for everyone. I'm reminded of Nile on the brutal "The Afterlife Illusions", a tune that contains perhaps the albums most addicting riffs, and they also up the ante on the closer "Days Of A Burial Mask", a massive, massive example of just how technical & heavy can be combined to great effect. The riffs & drum work here are just outstanding...I dare anyone to try and stop their head from banging to this great tune.
Plain and simple folks, this is one hell of an album, and it gets better with each and every listen. The riffing is monumental, the vocals are expertly done, the arrangements are intricate but brutal, the drum work off the charts, the lead guitar solos explosive yet melodic, the Egyptian elements are wonderfully woven in, and the production top notch. Toss in some superb artwork in the booklet, and Scarab (Sammy Sayed - Vocals, Al Sharif Marzeban - Guitar, Tarek Amr - Guitar, Mohamed 'Bombest' El Sherbieny - Bass,
Hatem El Akkad - Drums, and Sherif Adel - Keyboards) have created here one of 2015s 'must hear' progressive death metal releases, and one that will surely catapult them to extreme metal star status.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
01. Calling Forth The Ancient Spirits Of Kemet
02. Visions Of A Blood River
03. The Spells Of Coming Forth By Day
04. Serpents Of The Nile
05. Pyramid Of Illusions
06. Funeral Pharaoh
07. The Afterlife Illusions
08. Days Of A Burial Mask