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Perhaps a little over-hyped
on 19 February 2003
I bought this on the back of a few sparkling reviews in both the mainstream and underground metal press. I was expecting something earth shattering from an album that had been dubbed an all time classic (even before it was released, no less). Now call me old and boring ("if it's too loud, you're too old, etc), but I think I am probably missing something.
A lot of people obviously like blast beats and I'll own up immediately to not being one of those people. Well .... at least not those groups that employ blast beats with such a wall of noise as to make it almost indecipherable as to what anyone is playing. And this is what makes an album like this rather frustrating.
There are some great moments however. 'Unas' and the title track(s) are good pieces of creative, imaginative and best of all, crushing music. When Nile hit a ferocious groove and you can actually make out the riff, then surely they are among the best in the genre. But what is so inventive and difficult about just creating a wall of noise, a mush of instruments. Because that is what some of this is like.
I really really love the heaviest of fast, aggressive death metal but show me an Opeth, Death, Dark Angel, Entombed or At the Gates over this anytime. I can see Karl Sanders is a great musician and composer (at the end of the day, these aren't songs, they're mini symphonies) but I find it really frustrating that many of these bands cannot break free from the 'wall of noise' syndrome they so often resort to. For sure, yes, there are moments when they slow it down and we have cool orchestral parts, but it's soon replaced with a balls out thrashing, blast beating mess of sound. I would just like to hear (just once) one of these bands explore these more intricate ideas further. Opeth are a great example of what I'm talking about here. OK, they're moving to the softer side of things, but they don't run out of ideas and resort to blast beats at every turn.
Maybe I'm not Nile's 'target market' and while I may not love this, penty of you out there will adore it. I think my main point is that these guys are seen as the shining light of Death Metal, possibly the next band to break out into widescale recognition. Personally, I am at a bit of a loss as to what they have that has blown people away so much. The Egyptian theme is great and offers a new take on the genre but it's the tunes we all care about and if you can really sit there through three minutes of constant blast, then you're a better man/woman than me.
Give me a colossal riff (that I can hear) anytime.