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Rivers of Nihil: Where Owls Know My Name

It's pretty safe to say that Pennsylvania's Rivers of Nihil have really come into their own here on their latest release for Metal Blade Records, Where Owls Know My Name, a record that fully takes them beyond their deathcore beginnings and into areas that fully open up plenty of avenues for them to explore going forward. Jazz guitar & saxophone in a death metal song? Sure, why not! Just listen to those silky musical passages housed within the djenty death metal framework of "The Silent Life" for a musical experience that I'm sure most won't expect...and it totally works. You'll detect some industrial elements as well as melodic prog on the pummeling "A Home", the growls mixing with clean melodic vocals and keyboards splattered about, while bludgeoning blast beats and furious guitar riffing permeate the militant might of "Old Nothing". To see just how much Rivers of Nihil have embraced prog on this album, look no further than the lengthy "Subtle Change", as intricate guitar, bass, and keyboard lines bounce and weave around each other, the vocals ever changing and the sections blasting into furious blackened death metal and back to prog yet again. Wild stuff. The gut wrenching riffs of "Hollow" battle torturous howls and soaring clean vocals, and the complex insanity of "Death is Real" (just listen to those nimble bass lines!) even has a somewhat symphonic nature to it. For the final two numbers, Rivers of Nihil dive into almost Anathema styled atmospheric rock/metal territory for the engaging title track, and lush yet brooding melancholy for the near 8-minute closer "Capricorn/Agoratopia". The latter contains a breathtaking guitar solo and plenty of atmosphere to go along with brutal riffing & drum passages.

Where Owls Know My Name is easily one of the most fascinating & enjoyable extreme metal albums I've heard here in the early part of 2018, and it signals the arrival of Rivers of Nihil to the upper echelon of the genre. Well done!

Track Listing

  1. Cancer / Moonspeak 1:45
  2. The Silent Life 6:35
  3. A Home 5:19
  4. Old Nothing 4:44
  5. Subtle Change (Including the Forest of Transition 8:34
  6. Terrestria III: Wither 3:49
  7. Hollow 5:14
  8. Death Is Real 6:10
  9. Where Owls Know My Name 6:43
  10. Capricorn / Agoratopia 7:50

Added: May 12th 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 776
Language: english

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