Having got into Nile at the time of the release of Annihilation of the Wicked and then moved backward to In Their Darkened Shrines I was awaiting the release of Ithyphallic with not inconsiderable excitement. Nile, like Opeth exist as the cream of the crop of modern extreme metal. They are the genres renaissance men, pushing the boundaries of musicianship and blurring the frontiers of genres.
Nile's development, if not as musicians, as songwriters and arrangers has been an impressive one. While undoubtedly awe-inspiring I found In Their Darkened Shrines to be almost too complex in places. In other places it became a little too textural and meandering. With Annihilation of the Wicked they hit it just perfectly. There were the North African sounding sections, technical mastery and speed in spades. But added to those factors there was a distinct songwriting sensibility that was absent on the previous release. Lashed to the Slave Stick and Cast Down the Heretic being the finest examples of this. With Ithyphallic, Nile have attempted to sidestep the very same problem that Carcass faced more than a decade ago: When your lyrics and music have become as technical and challenging as possible, where do you go next?
Nile's first solution appears to be to rely less on the blistering 250+BPM speed workouts that peppered the previous two albums. There are more traditional chord progressions and more mid-tempo grind. Secondly Sanders appears to have taken a less wordy and complex line with the lyrics. Indeed this is no bad thing. The use of repeated refrains in As He Creates, So He Destroys work brilliantly, realising a potential that was hinted at but never reached in songs like The Blessed Dead.
While things sound a little less frenzied and technical in places, don't be put off. This is still the Nile we know and love. Its still fast, its still full of ridiculous dynamic changes and athletic drumming. The instrumental sections are still present and correct, in my opinion conveying a more Arabic feel that the straight-forward cod-Egyptian stylings of the past.
Ithyphallic is beautifully produced and absolutely crammed full of lush guitar textures, keyboard, horns and bells and will take time to fully explore. Although much of the album has undoubtedly yet to fully imprint itself on my consciousness my current feeling is that the songwriting is slightly weaker than on Annihilation of the Wicked. Perhaps it is missing a Lashed to the Slavestick? Only time and many more listens will tell. One thing is certain though Nile's intelligent touch and technical mastery makes them excellent spokesmen for death metal and indeed metal in general. With luck Ithyphallic will bring their music to even greater audiences.
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Ah, another year, another Nile album. You may be expecting more Egyptian themed technical brutality, ridiculous drumming and enough guitar riffs to fill a sarcophagus... and you'd be right
Like the other reviewers have mentioned, Nile aren't really looking to reinvent themselves on Ithyphallic, and it features all the trademark elements that have earned them one of the top spots in the Death Metal universe. and if it ain't broke, why fix it? but saying that Ithyphallic is exactly the same as every other Nile release would not be doing the band justice.
For starters, the most obvious change is that the band have opted, for the first time in history, to go with a slightly more polished and cleaner sounding production. I'm not sure if i like this or not, but it certainly makes it sound a little different, and as such the album is less of an endurance test then precious outings, but also looses some of its punch. Secondly, the band have gone for a slightly more simple vocal arrangment with only really one vocalist (Dallas) doing most of the work, and i kinda liked it. Along with that, although the album is still very technical, there seems to be less of a concentraion on jamming as many riffs and notes into ever song trice over, and a bit more focus on texture and grooves. As such, while the album didn't exactly wow me like Annihilation did, i found the songs slightly more memorable and having stronger melodies, giving the album a bit of a longer life span to me. Yeah, i guess i thought that the songs had more character and strangly, although this is not my favourite Nile cd, this is the one i listen to most and the one i find easiest to sit through from start to finish.
So, Ithyphallic is not that different from other Nile records, but i found the slighly toned down and 'less is more' approach to be very refershing and damn entertaining. But don't worry, Nile havn't lost any of their brutality or technical prowess and are still as evil as Skeletor. Don't get me wrong, this is not as good as In their Darkened Shrines or the mighty Annihilation of the Wicked, and those who don't like their death metal polished and a bit easy to digest should probably try before they buy.
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One of my favorite Nile albums! Much better production than "Black seeds of vengeance" and "In their darkened shrines" which I find a little too "muddy." Can't stop singing the refrain on "Even the gods must die." A must own if you like Nile! :)
This cd was followed by ( in my opinion ) by far the greatest death metal cd of all time.. 'Those Whom The Gods Detest' .. yet this is still worth in excess of 5 stars if i could do so. First of all - this album is what i want and expect from a death metal album.. it is Heavy- not just fast or extreme ( all of which are also important qualities to me ) but actually feels oppressively heavy. Here, Nile truly create a tomb-like heavy atmosphere that truly feels centuries old - a skill in which they are peerless. And , match this to some exceptional songwriting, extremely memorable riffs , and incredible performances from the entire band on their instruments, here you have a modern/ancient masterpiece. Definitely in my top three favourite releases of all time to date.Ithyphallic
nile are like the mozarts of metal,they have their instruments working for them as opposed to the other way around.They bring new meaning to technical metal,it isnt that they are mathcore and have odd time signatures or anything like that,its that their riffs dazzle and put so many others to shame,they prove that death metal can be more than just noise,they bring death metal a new face,and with album number five,this album could well be death metal release of the year,not that i buy much death metal but nile are a band that are interesting. Combining death metal with egyptian stylings isnt an easy thing,nile also incorporate horns,trumpets and keyboard,subtle in parts,majestic and deliberate in others but lets not forget that they walk the path of death metal but it is never one sided or paced,they can go like the hammers of hell or they can slow it down to teethgrinding levels,they arent predictable. Dallas does most of the vocals this time and that seems to please many,he has a death metal voice but his vocals are more clear and you can almost sing along,some of the chorus' are as memorable as can be and thats a weird thing to mention in a death metal review. The album is epic as usual but only two tracks can be called epic in length,the band know not to bombard the listener with overlong songs,as usual the drumming is glorious and fast,so fast in places that if you try to replicate this your arms may leap off and fall out the window. Nile are respected and that wont change and whether they will hit the big time probably depends on various changes in how people think but this a rewarding album and i got it on friday and listened to it five times already and this is a winner in my eyes.
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Do you like Rivers? Do you like Technical Death Metal? Do you eat at KFC? Do you like Ancient Egypt? Do you love your mummy? Do you have an Itchy Phallus?
If so, then this is for you! What to make of this, I mean what to make of this? It's Fast, it's furious, it's funny as hell. Honestly, this is one of the funniest things I have ever heard, it gets an extra star for that. I mean, it has the best song title ever on it for a start and the ridiculous fast guitaring and 12,000V Duracell Bunny drumming are laughable beyond words! If it makes you laugh it has to be good.
Now where can I find a papyrus scroll containing the spell which protects the bearer from enraged Nile fans?
Anyone looking for Nile to break new ground here will be sorely dissapointed, as the bands 5th album stays true to their formula of highly technical brutal death metal and Lovecraftian and Ancient Eygtian lyrical themes. To that extent one can argue that if you've heard one Nile album you've heard them all, but with such a blistering display of brutal riffing as displayed on 'Ithyphallic' all but the most jaded Nile fans should be in death metal heaven. Yes - it's the same old stuff, but when it sounds this good - who cares?
'Ithyphallic' is possibly slightly more direct than some previous offerings from the band, with less time faffing around with atmospheric Egyptian intros (probably a result of Karl Sanders scratching this creative itch with his own solo album) and more getting straight down to the headsnapping riffage. My personal favourite here is 'The Essential Salts' - a tune that starts at warp-speeds and still manages to build to an even more ferocious creshendo, but there really isn't a weak track to be found - and as a whole I'd rank this along with 'Nephren-Ka' and 'Annihilation of the Wicked' as one of the bands best records.
NB - There are a couple of limited versions of this album - the digipack version contains intrumental versions of two tracks, while there is an even more limited version housed in a pointless but gorgous pyramid display box.
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