Nile - _Those Whom Gods Detest_
(Nuclear Blast, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (
Had the success of _Powerslave_ prompted Iron Maiden to shift their creative attentions permanently on composing odes to the Pharaohs, they'd be flying coach like a troupe of everyday assholes today. And as much as a legion of denim-clad die-hards may demand my head skewered on a blunt kitchen utensil for suggesting so, I'd happily throw good money behind that statement. Likewise, it's my belief that whether Nile's brand of technical death metal is your musical tipple of choice or not, you've got to at least give them credit for maintaining an arguably growing interest in their work, amidst the comparatively limited creative framework they've imposed on themselves. Unlike their contemporaries in Deicide or Cannibal Corpse, theirs hasn't simply been a decision to stick to a singular lyrical theme; Nile's jones for Egyptology is woven into every fabric of their work, and has been since the day they started.Still, despite more to hang their hats on than ten of their peers combined, they have by their own admission lacked in truly memorable songs. Their albums may be epic, and have always proven consistently and almost overpoweringly brutal, but you'd be hard-pressed to pinpoint an anthem in their discography that stands out of the definitive Nile calling card; their "Raining Blood" or "Master of Puppets", so to speak. The two strongest contenders thus far, in my opinion, have been "Barra Edinazu" and "Lashed to the Slave Stick", but neither is in danger of being labelled as iconic anytime soon.It's interesting therefore that solving this quandary would subsequently appear to be the primary departure point on Nile's sixth full-length. There's a palpable sense across of the disc's ten cuts that meticulous attention was paid to crafting songs that are distinct, not by virtue of their ability to shatter glass when played at a volume passed sixty decibels, but by weaving together vast hordes of memorable riffs. In stark contrast to previous offerings, both the title track and "Permitting the Noble Dead to Descend to the Underworld" even sport what the mainstream might term a recognizable chorus.Of course, this is still a Nile album. Karl Sanders and his long-time cohort, Dallas Toller-Wade, may have created what can be deemed as their first true "songwriter's record", but it still sounds as though it's about to usher in the apocalypse several years early. Splitting production and mixing duties between themselves, Eric Rutan and Neil Kernon while recording within the infinitely more malleable confines of a home studio has resulted in perhaps one of the finest feats of audio engineering in the death metal genre's history. Every instrument here sounds seriously massive, while conversely each is allowed ample room to demonstrate why Nile have collectively been a mainstay on virtuosos "best of" lists for the past several years.Simply put, _Those Whom Gods Detest_ is a monster; an album that will be discussed, debated and dissected for years to come. It will require several listens to fully appreciate, but trust me when I say that the juice is worth the squeeze. And when you think about it: how many other releases in any genre could rightfully boast the same this year?
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