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Nile - "Those Whom The Gods Detest" (CD)

Nile - "Those Whom The Gods Detest" CD cover image

"Those Whom The Gods Detest" track listing:

1. Kafir! (6:50)
2. Hittite Dung Incantation (3:48)
3. Utterances Of The Crawling Dead (5:09)
4. Those Whom The Gods Detest (8:07)
5. 4th Arra Of Dagon (8:40)
6. Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld (3:32)
7. Yezd Desert Ghul Ritual In The Abandoned Towers Of Silence (2:33)
8. Kem Khefa Kheshef (6:18)
9. The Eye Of Ra (5:01)
10. Iskander D'hul Karnon (6:41)

Reviewed by on November 4, 2009

"No matter the innovation or brief instances of forward progression, this is a Nile album; brutality and grinding sonic dismemberment are still par for the course."

If there was one band that is synonymous with brutal technical death metal, it would be Nile. Throughout their long and rich career, they have taken their fascination with Egyptian culture and combined it with intense and blistering death metal that has repeatedly raised the bar. Little tweaks here and there have kept Nile’s sound from becoming stagnate and their sixth album, “Those Whom The Gods Detest,” continues in this tradition.

The album is not a major leap forward from 2007’s “Ithyphallic,” but Nile does slow down the tempos more often. Don’t worry; there is plenty of razor-sharp bludgeoning in the form of “Hittite Dung Incantation” and the brilliantly-titled “Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld.” Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade fuse together buzz-saw riffs and wailing solos with a sharp chemistry that can only materialize from a decade of playing together. Drummer George Kollias is a well oiled machine, with the quickest feet in the business and a tight precision to the unpredictable fills and blast beats.

The riffs on “Those Whom The Gods Detest” pack a wallop, especially in the thrash/death metal hybrid of “Iskander D'hul Karnon.” While a straightforward song compared to previous album closers, “Iskander D’hul Karnon” has a killer melody that makes the heart race a little faster. Moments like these are a reassurance that Nile still has ideas left in the musical department, something that becomes apparent in the longer tracks.

While “Ithyphallic” began and ended with gargantuan epics, “Those Whom The Gods Detest” tacks them onto the middle portion of the album. The band’s experimental side comes out on the title track and “4th Arra Of Dagon.” The former opens with a tasteful acoustic passage before an unsuspecting tornado of noise conveniently flies out of nowhere. A duet of clean vocals and Toler-Wade’s screams in the chorus is an effective dynamic that is largely underplayed. The middle-eastern influences run strong on both of these tracks, with the latter track incorporating heavy percussion and bursts of horns into the introduction.

What has always been impressive about Nile is their ability to make even the most aggressive sections have an infectious edge to them. Nile is quite possibly one of the few death metal bands out there today that can repeat the title of a song over and over again and not make the act repetitious. Try not to growl the title track when it’s repeated for the sixth time or “Arra, Arra, Arra/Dagon, Dagon, Dagon” after two full minutes of it ad nausea.

Nile dropped the interludes that were the staples of “Black Seeds Of Vengeance” and “In Their Darkened Shrines,” replacing them with a obligatory instrumental. “Yezd Desert Ghul Ritual In The Abandoned Towers Of Silence,” like past instrumentals, is fueled by Egyptian music. Sanders gets a chance to show off his acoustic prowess and the calm atmosphere is a soothing break to the chaos that precedes and follows it.

At this stage in the game, Nile is in a comfortable position that the band has been sitting in for about three albums now. For all the metal maniacs out there, that may either come as a sigh of relief or a groan of frustration. No matter the innovation or brief instances of forward progression, this is a Nile album; brutality and grinding sonic dismemberment are still par for the course. “Those Whom The Gods Detest” won’t win over the distracters, but offers enough highlights to persuade long-time fans to take another journey to the mysterious deserts of ancient Egypt.

Highs: Brtual and intense, strong Egyptian influences, surprisingly catchy choruses, vocals much more audible and easier to understand.

Lows: Not too different from past albums, bass is missing in action.

Bottom line: This is a Nile album through and through, with enough surprises to appeal to long-time fans of both the band and brutal death metal.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)