Friday, June 29, 2012

Nile - At the Gates of Sethu

Once again I just don't understand people and all of the hate and/or "mixed feelings" about this album. First off, if you only listen to this album once before running in front of your computer to "film" yourself inciting a review whilst standing amidst all of your perfectly placed metal memorabilia in your tiny bedroom over at your Mom's house ( it seems in order to become a bonafide, card carrying member of the Youtube Review Squad, you have to have in your possession a variety of questionable aesthetics on display. Either that, or just plain look like some hulking bearded and balding kid in his early twenties camped out in his parents basement, gettin' all philosophical on your ass)) then I can understand the seeming perplexities that one faces in dealing with this album, hell, ANY Nile album for that matter. On the other hand, if you've truly sat there and absorbed this album after a few and thorough listens, I would assume that it's quite clear that this is yet another monumental album from a band that has yet to drop the creative ball that they have been scoring shots with since the beginning. 

If Nile wasn't your thing then that will assuredly remain to be the case since this is basically Nile being Nile with an ever so slight shift in production. Perhaps the most notable change in style and technique comes in the form of the main vocals belched fourth from the bowels of guitarist Dallas Toler Wade. His vocal delivery on this album are just a wee bit clearer than they had been on previous outings and effortlessly fits into the mold. This proves to be quite the strategic and tactical move on the bands part being that Dallas' delivery is the most discernible of the bunch being dished out and carries with it a rather hateful aesthetic that comes across quite convincing. Just enough venom being spat fourth to keep you flinching at the utterance of each word.

Nile has employed a variety of different vocal styles since the very beginning of their career, ranging from low end growls to hateful sounding shouts and rasps to clean singing all the way to groovy little chants supplied by Tibetan monk types (probably some bearded local redneck, but hey!). Anyone who finds themselves confused by this thinking that this is all a new thing should go and Dimebag themselves as soon as possible as there are enough dumb motherfuckers out there swallowing up precious air and polluting the scenery with their hearse for a dead brain otherwise called a numb fucking skull. 

Also in pertinence to the vocals, Karl's soupy low end makes an unheralded return to prominence after being, for the most part, absent for much of the last two or three albums. I'm not the biggest fan of Karl's sound and approach to the mic but it does serve for a nice and cozy 'return to the roots' of sorts which is basically the theme of this album. Sure, the technicality aspect has been upped a couple of few hundred notches since the old days and the playing is all the more tighter but this album more than any since 2002's 'In Their Darkened Shrines' has that "good old fashioned" feeling of the band during their formative years. Sure, Nile's been around since '93 but the pharaohs didn't really start rolling around the tombs until their 1998 genre defining debut, 'Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka'.

As previously mentioned, the slight change in production (courtesy of death metal go to guy, Neil Kernon) is perhaps what truly gives this album that "throwback" vibe. I know that there are and will be more than a few fancy little bitches who get their pussies outstretched in an uproar over the sound of this album but let's face it, ANY little change and fluctuation in Nile's rather "consistent" assault should be greeted with open arms. Unfortunately for the band, they have been throwing so much out at you since their inception (ie doom, technicality, instrumentals, intros, chanting, etc, etc, etc, etc) that listening to any one Nile album is a colossal task in itself, never mind a whole careers worth of albums. This also gives rise to the opinion that Nile is boring and releases the same album every two or so years. Catchy tunes and simplistic song structures you will not find here though there is an occasional groove riff scattered and left to the winds throughout the duration.

If there's one thing that I wish they would have done with this album and hopefully do with the next, is make the songs a bit more catchier. I would love to see the end result of that approach. After seven albums of brutally consistent material, I think that it's safe to say that Nile isn't going to be dropping any bombs of a "morbid" or "frosty" magnitude on us but I would love to see the band further explore the more straightforwardness (a word to be regarded as loosely as a porn stars twat) that they began to toy with on 'Ithyphallic'. Perhaps. Perhaps not, but I can dream can't I?

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