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Nile: Annihilation of the Wicked

Epic, extreme, intense, it's all here on the latest from the kings of Egyptian death metal Nile, titled Annihilation of the Wicked. At a little under 60 minutes, Nile have created here a relentless juggernaut of staggering proportions, littered with bombastic death metal riffery, monstrous vocals, Middle Eastern-tinged acoustic interludes, technical guitar solos, and thunderous rhythms. Yes, this record sounds HUGE with a capital H, and regardless of what you think of the whole death metal genre, this is an album that just cannot be ignored. You will be hard pressed to find guitar sounds this immense on any album released in recent memory-take a listen to "Cast Down the Heretic" for example, one part technical death metal and two parts crushing doom. It all equals… damn impressive!

Upon first listen, especially if you have never listened to Nile before, the vocals will certainly be a bit harsh, but after repeated spins, they become more intelligible and even somewhat catchy, as they help convey the intense saga of Egyptian mythology. In fact, although this music is certainly crushing death metal, there's an almost prog rock or power metal attitude going on here, as Nile seem to work best within intricate frameworks and epic storytelling that is prevalent in those genres. This is technical ferocity of the highest degree, a runaway train that shows no signs of slowing down, and crushing everything in its path. The insane drum work of newcomer George Kolias and intense riffs from Karl Sanders & Dallas Toler-Wade on "Spawn of Uamenti" are just plain sick, and will surely please those into technical metal. The production of Annihilation of the Wicked also needs to be mentioned, done by none other than Neil Kernon (Nevermore, Queensryche)-he has delivered some of the most amazing sounds out of the guitars here, as well as the vocals being crisp, and the bass and drums snarling. It's great when a world- class producer can take a talented band and really bring out the best in them, and that is surely the case here. Annihilation of the Wicked is going to be an important metal release for Relapse Records here in 2005, much like Mastodon's Leviathan was for them last year. Better yet, it's going to be an important release not just for the label, but also for the metal world at large. Be ready for an impending tsunami folks, and its name is Nile.

Track Listing
1) Dusk Falls Upon the Temple of the Serpent on the Mount of Sunrise
2) Cast Down the Heretic
3) Sacrifice Unto Sebek
4) User-Maat-Re
5) The Burning Pits of the Duat
6) Chapter of Obeisance Before Giving Breath to the Inert One in the Presence of the Cresent Shaped Horns
7) Lashed To the Slave Stick
8) Spawn of Uamenti
9) Annihilation of the Wicked
10)Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten

Added: July 24th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Nile Website
Hits: 3989
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Nile: Annihilation of the Wicked
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-07-23 14:54:58
My Score:

Nile's new album Annihilation of the Wicked (An-NILE-ation of the the Wicked) is a towering death metal monolith that does justice to this great band's name. The band continues to expand the scope of death metal with their trademark Egyptian melodies interwoven with mind-twisting technicality and impossible songwriting. Despite numerous lineup changes on every album, Karl Sanders manages to keep the music fresh and intact from start to finish. New drummer George Kollias from Sickening Horror does a fantastic job filling Derek Roddy and Tony Laureano's shoes - his timing is scary, his kick-drums are lightning fast and his rhythms are thunderous. He also took part in the songwriting along with long-time guitarist Dallas Toler-Wade and Karl Sanders of course. Sadly though, bassist Jon Vesano has quit the band shortly after he finished recording the album.

All that aside, let's get to business. Annihilation of the Wicked is one of the best death metal releases of 2005, perhaps even the best. But how does it compare to their amazing back catalog?

On this album, the Egyptian melodies and different kinds of world instruments heard on Nile's previous albums such as Black Seeds of Vengeance and In Their Darkened Shrines have been curtailed a bit. This must be because of Sanders' 2004 solo release Saurian Meditation on which I assume he must have got a lot of those Middle Eastern ideas and themes out of his system. As a result, Annihilation of the Wicked is relatively heavier guitar and drums-wise and features impeccable guitar riffs and solos delivered by the solid guitar tandem. Moreover, Sanders' vocals are slightly toned down, though not in a negative way. His growls are still as low and guttural as ever and can easily destroy anything that gets in his way. Kollias' drum sound is huge, thanks to Neil Kernon's stellar production job. This disc has by far their strongest sound where the production value allows every instrument to stand out and offers the listener a clean, clear and honest yet brutal representation of the band's material. It's this particular brutality encapsulated on Nile albums that separates them from pretty much every other death metal band in the world. Obviously Neil Kernon's touch has rendered a clearer and more precise sound than before.

Although not a concept album, the lyrics and music portray overall an apocalyptic vibe and feeling. To match the darkness of the theme, Nile have created huge amount of atmospherics on this disc starting with their brief intro laced by a nice Middle Eastern acoustic instrument. The songs from then on erupt into complete chaos combining the extreme speed and nihilism of death metal with original musical ideas. The songs are littered with ultra-heavy death metal riffs, rapid-fire drumming and twisted lead guitar work. The jarring tempo changes and laser-precise rhythm guitar riffage on "User-Maat-Re" are astonishing. The Egyptian melodies aren't abondoned completely though: "The Burning Pits of the Duat" contains a flashy guitar solo whilst its follower reeks of ancient Egyptian atmospheres from beginning to end. Another short instrumental interlude serves the purpose of setting the dark tone of the last two cuts, both of which clock in at nearly 10 minutes and build thick walls of sound that are laced by staggering bass, blistering kick-drum workout and even a sludgy, almost doomy passage during the midsection of the title track.

"Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten" which translates something like "From Unspeakable Cults" is Nile's killing moment. The guitar solo at the five-minute mark is right up there with the solo on "To Dream of Ur" from their Black Seeds of Vengeance disc. Given that I consider it the most emotional guitar solo ever recorded on a death metal release, I feel this one comes really close to it greatness dripping with sheer emotion of the highest order. Time will show how Annihilation of the Wicked will rank in Nile's successful recording career, but I can see many a people declaring it their best in more than one way.

» Reader Comments:

Nile: Annihilation of the Wicked
Posted by David on 2005-07-25 00:03:59
My Score:

After several listens the level of musicianship in this band leaves one simply astounded.
That is all, a truly visceral experience. There was Pierced From Within, now there is Annihalation.

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