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What Should Not Be Unearthed
Review by Yener on May 20, 2019.
I know for a fact that this album has been anticipated like crazy by Nile fans, and the death metal scene in general. After the bit underwhelming At the Gate of Sethu, many were curious what these SC legends would bring to the table next.
Don’t get me wrong, Sethu is still a fine album. The band decided to try something different and go with a very articulate, clean production, where everything could be heard clearly – and it did just that. And while I commend them for trying something different, the truth of the matter is that metal is supposed to GO SMASH.
What Should Not Be Unearthed sees a return of a more primal Nile, a Nile which is much more straightforward and violent. I mean, they don’t need to prove that they can play. Everyone and their dog know that Nile are beasts on their instruments. They literally have fuck all to prove to anyone, so it’s good to hear them back doing what they do best – GO SMASH.
You can instantly tell that it’s a more violent album when “Call to Destruction” comes roaring out of your speakers. Fast, tight, angry – Nile. Much of the album follows this formula of “I’ll kick you in the face until my leg gets tired”, in which “Liber Stellae Rubeae” is a prime example. Just absolute brutality with skull fucking riffs coming at you from all directions, it really is Nile doing what they do best – liquefying faces. The guitars roar with vengeful might and anger, the vocals are blistering slabs of death metal goodness, and behind the kit you have George Kollias, doing his best impersonation of a human being as he possibly can. George, knock it off, we all know you’re not of our species.
“In the Name of Amun” starts life with an elegant baglama saz intro and female vocals, and it’s really quite beautiful until Kollias decides “OK NOW WE BLAST” and off we go again. The riffs here are nothing short of just absolute filth, it’s just sheer aggression, and the guitars sound fucking HUGE. It’s quite amazing when you think how low these guys tune their guitars, throw on eight thousand metric tons of distortion, and STILL manage to sound clear as day. The lead guitar tones on this album are especially good.
I’m not going to go into the songs one by one as there really isn’t any point. This is a monster of an album which any self-respecting death metal fan should have in their collection. To me it sounds like a mixture of Those Whom the Gods Detest and Annihilation of the Wicked, and that’s a pretty good thing to sound like.
One piece of criticism that I would like to make would be for the overall production. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. There’s very little wrong with the way it sounds. The problem is that it sounds just too similar to the last five Nile albums. The drums need to be way louder in the mix. I want that double bass to rattle my chest and intestines. I want that snare to feel like it’s repeatedly punching me in the face. While I love Neil Kernon’s work, and the guy himself is an excellent producer and engineer (he's worked with Al Di Meola for fuck's sake, I have the utmost respect for him), I just think it’s time for a change. Five albums with the same producer is just enough. I want to hear what someone else can bring out of this band. The problem I think is that since they’ve been working with Neil for so long (exactly ten years now), everyone is just real comfortable in the studio… too comfortable. It’s time to spice things up a bit, see how they sound with someone else. It’s time to throw a wrench in the cycle and see what happens.
In conclusion, this is a superb album. The song writing is catchy, brutal, and effective. Performances by the band members are excellent, as to be expected with Nile. Do yourself a favor and give it a spin. IT GOES SMASH.
Highlights: Liber Stellae Rubeae, In the Name of Amun, Call to Destruction, Evil to Cast Out Evil, Rape of the Black Earth.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10