Nile — Vile Nilotic Rites
Death metal veterans Nile issue their 9th full-length album, Vile Nilotic Rites in what has been a very strong year for the genre. For whatever reason, I stopped paying much attention to the band after 2005's Annihilation Of The Wicked, but this new record has corrected that mistake. The band has always been a punishing, technical force on the scene, but this new album feels like the group has reached a new level altogether.
Immediately Vile Nilotic Rites waylays the listener with a sonic beating; "Long Shadows Of Dread" opens with a ripping, shredding intro and transitions seamlessly into a crushing death metal groove. Between the sound profile of the production and some of the cadences, there are hints of Lamb Of God in the mix, although this is still a distinctly Nile record. The material on this album feels familiar but also mature and varied; this is definitely Nile record but they've learned a thing or two along the way.
While there are still the flourishes of Eastern style music, including portions of "Seven Horns Of War" and "Thus Sayeth The Parasites Of The Mind" that remind me of the Act II music from the PC game Diablo II, these segues are used sparingly and don't feel merely tacked-on. Vile Nilotic Rites is still very much a complex, technical death metal record, but it includes hints of variety — chunky breakdowns, calm interludes, and some choral vocals in "That Which Is Forbidden" — that keep each track fresh. There are also clean vocals that lend a strong Candlemass feel to slower, doomier portions of "The Imperishable Stars Are Sickened" and "We Are Cursed."
I have always respected Nile but they've never been a huge favourite of mine. I thoroughly enjoyed the Saurian Meditation project from mastermind Karl Sanders, but Nile never found themselves in my listening rotation much. This new album, however, is a game changer; I can already foresee myself listening to Vile Nilotic Rites for a while. This is a savage, satisfying death metal record packed with almost an hour's worth of material. I may have lapsed in my fandom, but Nile have shown the error of my ways and given me 11 reasons to not let this happen again.
Somehow, Nile managed to up the technicality of their material and produce some of the most listenable material to date. Vile Nilotic Rites is a brutal, satisfying death metal record from bonafide veterans. Even though they are 20 years into their career, Nile continues to innovate and improve on their sturdy framework of blazing, frenetic riffing and sinister, Eastern-tinged flourishes. Easily one of the year's best death metal releases, and a warning shot to those who may have doubted that these veterans still have what it takes to be relevant in 2019.
Release date: November 1st, 2019
Record label: Nuclear Blast Records
Karl Sanders — guitar, vocals, keyboards
Brian Kingland — guitar, vocals
Brad Parris — bass, vocals
George Kollias — drums
- Long Shadows Of Dread
- The Oxford Handbook Of Savage Genocidal Warfare
- Vile Nilotic Rites
- Seven Horns Of War
- That Which Is Forbidden
- Snake Pit Mating Frenzy
- Revel In Their Suffering
- Thus Sayeth The Parasites Of The Mind
- Where Is The Wrathful Sky
- The Imperishable Stars Are Sickened
- We Are Cursed
Published: December 27th, 2019.