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4.4 out of 5 stars12
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on 14 November 2003
Unbelievable. That’s what this album is. It just defies belief. There is a strong possibility that this could be the best Death Metal album ever recorded. Nile are, without a doubt, the finest Death Metal band in the world today (realistically, only Cryptopsy can run them close nowadays), and while their last album ‘Black Seeds Of Vengeance’ was brilliant, this is on another level again. You know the drill by now; ancient Egyptian themes, blastbeats a-go-go, three vocalists, sampled instruments, this record has everything that makes Nile great and turns them all up to 11. Also, there is a little more light and shade than on the previous two albums, with songs like ‘Sarcophagus’ showing that the band can do more than just all-out speedblasts. However, the centrepiece of the album is undoubtedly the 11-and-a-half minute epic ‘Unas Slayer Of The Gods’. In my considered opinion, this is the single best Death Metal song of all time (and trust me, I’ve heard a hell of a lot!). From slow to fast, growls to spoken word, this song has the lot. There is no poor songs on the album at all, but it is worth buying just to hear this masterpiece alone. Also, go and see them live as well, they can pull off all of their feats on stage as well. Simply phenomenal!
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on 24 November 2004
Nile are, without question the "best" death metal band on the planet. I just had to say that.
Now let me say that I actually prefer Black Seeds of Vengeance. I dunno why, but it just grabs me by the throat and shakes me until I can't do anything but gibber in a corner. 'Shrines' has the same ultra fast, mega brutal tempos, changes, variation and heaviness, but it just isn't as instantly catchy as Black Seeds.
Now, saying that, I think 'Shrines' is a fantastic album. It utilizes so many styles of music it is a joy to behold. There are more Egyptian acoustic parts than on Black Seeds, and for an intelligent fan of death metal, this can only increase your listening pleasure. Its intensly emotional, and highly evokative of ancient Egypt, its tombs, rituals and people.
'Unas the Slayer of the Gods' should be mentioned, not only for its epic status, but also for its mix of ideas, all contained in nearly 12 minutes of ups and downs, growls, spoken word, blast beats, echoed death tolls and blisteringly fast guitar. Makes it into my top ten songs of all time list (but pipped at post by the leviathan that is 'masturbating the War God'... a monster of a track!).
If you liked, or even better loved, 'Black Seeds...' and don't own this, buy it. You won't be dissapointed. A bench mark in Death Metal writing and playing.
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VINE VOICEon 30 January 2006
If you’ve heard any Nile before then you won’t be in for any surprises with this 3rd album, though that’s not exactly a criticism, as their Egyptian-tinged technical and brutal death metal is pretty much unique. This album sees the introduction of a new drummer, but amazingly the quality of old is kept as immense drum rolls and hyperspeed blastbeats continue to drive the band. The only slight surprise here is that the two best songs here – Execration Text and Wind of Horus - are both written by comparatively inexperienced composer 2nd guitarist Dallas Toler-Wade, rather than by usual author Karl Sanders. A slight criticism is that occasionally Nile can fall into the trap of over-indulgence, with the epic Unas Slayer Of The Gods and the 4-song In Their Darkened Shrines closing suite sacrificing the directness of the bands material for occasionally rambling passages that ultimately don’t provide much in the way of great riffs, though it’s difficult to fault the bands ambition. It's also difficult to justify the inclusion of Sarcophagus, which turns out to be a repeat of a track from their debut album with different lyrics - this album doesn't need padding. As with 2nd album Black Seeds of Vengeance I’d still rank this as slightly below the quality of their debut Amongst The Catacombs of Nephren-Ka, but this is still great stuff, and recommended for all fans of brutal and technical death metal.
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on 20 May 2004
This is the first nile album i bought, despite having heard raves about them for many years. I was not dissapointed. It goes from epic symphonic classical egyptian inspired 'mellow' bits to huge walls of sound, that manage with awesome production to still bring the guitar riffs (awesome) into the forefront of the production. This album is one of the few that had me headbanging all the way through to (along with decapitated, the negation) and definatly makes it into my top 5 death metal albums. a must buy for any death metal fan.
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on 25 September 2006
At a time when a lot of American Bands are jumping onto the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal band wagon, its refreshing that there are still a few bands carrying the Death Metal torch. This was my first Nile CD, and if you're not quite sure what to expect the power of opening track, The Blessed Dead is quite phenomenal. Indeed, I only have one problem with this CD and merits the loss of a whole star. So many reviewers mention the stand out track as being Unas Slayer of The Gods. I agree that its an excellent track, its just a pity that the riff is a complete and total rip off, to the point where a major label with clout would have had them up in Court. Listen to Well of Souls off the Candlemass CD, Nightfall (a must in your collection) - Even the chorus riff from that song appears here too. If you've never heard any Candlemass then feel free to add on an extra star! Me? - it just bothers me every time I play it.
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on 3 June 2009
Once again we delve into the egyptian mysticism, history, religion and severley brutal art that is Nile. Its Beautifully written, top notch production and has awesome sleeve notes. In terms of structure, its damn close to perfect. The frenzy of "Execration text" meets the suprisingly tranquil "Sarcophagus" whilst straight forward blaster "Churning the maelstrom" slides perfectly into the eerie "I whisper in the ear of the dead". My only problem with this record is the series of songs that make up the title track at the end of the album. They just seem kind of jammed in there for the hell of it (hence the 4 stars), but hey thats just my opinion. However general drivel aside, this album is seriously good, and if you are thinking of looking them up, this is a healthy place to start.

Stand out tracks: "Churning the Maelstrom", "The blessed dead"
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on 23 July 2004
This is one of the finest Death Metal bands at their best. The darkened melodies of ancient Egypt are melded with great subtlety to the most extreme music genre of the world today, blending great knowledge of ancient Egyptian history and myth with bonecrushing heaviness and franctic speed.
Atmosphere pieces like 'I Whisper in the Ear of the Dead' make the album a dark altar of worship to the black sounds of the ancient past, while 'The Blessed Dead' recreates the maelstrom of anguish with its dark choirs of the Unblessed Dead howling vitriol at their unavoidable damnation.
Few albums will deliver in terms of chilling your bones to the marrow and making you furiously headbang at the same time.
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on 26 August 2002
I managed to get myself an early copy of this masterpeice and its just as good as i could have ever wished for. The riffs are as crushing as ever but some songs are slower than earlier work however this is definitely not a criticism. "Sarcophagus" for example is a slow powerful epic and shows yet another side to nile's many faces. In all the music and songwriting has once again raised a bar even further and nile once again prove to be a force to be reckoned with even against the likes of, dare i say it morbid angel. This is definitely more of the thinking mans death metal but again it works on both levels as it is extremely brutal and its intricacy takes away none of the raw power. This album is superb and it shows the amazing talent and creativity of a band in a genre with what would seem to have very strict boundaries. Bands like Nile and Decapitated are definitely the way forward fore death metal.
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on 27 January 2003
This album is truly amazing and captures the magic of ancient Egypt with astounding imagination. As a true muslim, I have listened to original egyptian music and I can clearly see the similarities between egyptian music and the music in this album albeit a lot heavier! All in all, this album contains, dare I say it, the most beautiful music I have ever heard. This album is a must in any true music lovers collection
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on 10 October 2015
Great Album, AAA+++
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