It’s been a long 4 years between this, Nile’s 9th album and its predecessor, 2015’s ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’. With such an extensive and rich discography you could forgive the South Carolina Egyptian-obsessed death metallers for becoming predictable and stale. However, they’ve knocked it out of the park yet again with ‘Vile Nilotic Rites’, 11 brutal and bludgeoning tracks that comprise a sure-fire contender for album of the year.
Having lost long-time member Dallas Toler-Wade 2 years ago there were fears that one of Nile’s core jigsaw pieces may result in a downturn in quality – but from the blistering opener ‘Long Shadows Of Dread’ it’s immediately apparent that mainman Karl Sanders & Co. aren’t about to let such distractions detract them from churning out their finest work since 2002’s death metal pinnacle ‘In Their Darkest Shrines’. The riffs are as insanely fast as ever, laid out over George Kollias’ precision blastbeats but they’ve concentrated this time round into creating actual songs instead of a maelstrom of noise.
Of course those maelstroms of noise are present and correct in songs like the excellently titled ‘The Oxford Handbook Of Savage Genocidal Warfare’ and the sub-3 minute (rare for Nile) thrash-a-round of ‘Snake Pit Mating Frenzy’. But Nile’s defining trademark that sets them apart from their peers will always be the atmospherics present intertwined amidst those manic riffs, utilising traditional Egyptian instruments and rhythmic patterns to create stunning soundscapes that breathes even more life into epics such as ‘Seven Horns Of War’ and ‘Where Is The Wrathful Sky’. All this effort would be lost though with a poor production – luckily Mark Lewis provides a sterling mixing job that provides a devastating crunch with concise clarity.
Clocking in at 6 minutes shy of an hour, ‘Vile Nilotic Rites’ offers up enough variety, aggression and class that rewards multiple listenings. There is a lot to digest and it’s a huge pleasure to dissect and absorb these beauties as individual masterpieces that form not only one of the most satisfying death metal records you’ll hear this year, but one of the genre’s finest ever. Yep, it really is that good. 26 years into their career and it’s still so pharaoh, so good. (Ouch! Sorry)
Nile – Vile Nilotic Rites is out now via Nuclear Blast
The author Neil ‘Not’ Coggins presents Full Metal Racket (Sundays 5pm) and The C60 Mixtape Show (Tuesdays, 12pm) every week on Hard Rock Hell Radio