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Vile Nilotic Rites

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Vile Nilotic Rites
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: November 1st, 2019
Genre: Brutal, Death, Technical
2. Oxford Handbook Of Savage Genocidal Warfare
4. Seven Horns Of War
5. That Which Is Forbidden
6. Snake Pit Mating Frenzy
7. Revel In Their Suffering
8. Thus Sayeth The Parasites Of The Mind
9. Where Is The Wrathful Sky
10. The Imperishable Stars are Sickened
11. We Are Cursed


Review by Nathan on January 28, 2023.

The departure of Dallas Toler-Wade was jarring, as his mid-range, ranty yell had taken the position of the primary narrator. Far from a tool used to execute Karl’s visions, he made songwriting contributions to any release he played on. It seemed like the particular fit of talent and vision between the two Nile guitarists was something that could have never been fully replicated, and I started to question if Vile Nilotic Rites would be further regressing into the more derivative nature of their previous album. On top of that, how much more juice is Nile going to have on their ninth full-length? Karl was already 35 when the band’s first full-length came out. (As an aside, the man is definitely an inspiration for any late bloomers out there).

Fortunately, my doubts about Vile Nilotic Rites are amended quickly. Brian Kinglsand fills Toler-Wade’s shoes and then some, injecting a dose of coherence and groove into the mind-numbing speed and fretboard runs. He has songwriting credits on half of the album’s tracks, but his presence can be felt on every riff, especially because he has much more bite and punch in his mid-ranged rasp. Even though Nile is going through similar ideas that they did on What Should not Be Unearthed, they’re approaching them with the added fresh perspective of someone who’s been a fan of the band for years. When Nile obliterates you with a fast riff, you actually get the sense it’s going somewhere, and when the grooves come in, they actually crush you. One benefit of smoothing out some of the more explorative songwriting is that death metal comes first, which is when it’s the most effective. The Egyptian themes and influences tend to come out as a natural product of their note selection anyways.

The injection of youthful vitality that Kingsland brings goes a long way towards the potency of the more midpaced work. Nile, to me, has always been a band that excels with speed and stumbles during the boring slow parts, but the more sparse moments of songs like “Seven Horns of War” manage to sustain interest - and Karl is credited with the songwriting for that one, so the only real difference is the lineup change. This album also does a good job of distributing the newer ideas and influences throughout the album - you can hear where Kingsland had input on a riff because it’s usually more rooted in a Suffocation-styled type of snaking brutal death. Funny that I would make a Suffocation comparison, as I very much see Vile Nilotic Rites as the ...of the Dark Light of Suffocation’s discography - band alters the core of their lineup and the new guys rejuvenate the band, having them sounding the most potent and engaging they’ve been in a decade. The one-two punch of “Snake Pit Mating Frenzy” and “Revel in their Suffering” holds its own with the best moments in Nile’s discography.

Time has also given Nile the benefit of knowing how to better integrate their influences. I hear a lot of the blistering, At the Gate of Sethu-type technicality with the warm, resonant production of Those Whom the Gods Detest. I even hear flashes of their debut album in the fact that the riffs aren’t afraid to flash their more conventional death metal influences, and because the ambient isn’t afraid to be a little bit cheesy to get the vibe across. Vile Nilotic Rites breathes new life into the band, and after Unearthed was a bit of a whiff, it feels like their true renaissance.

That being said, this thing didn’t need to be 55 goddamn minutes! I swear, Nile could remove the last track off of all of their albums and no one would notice or care. They have music with a lot of stuff in it, and although the final tracks do offer some slower marching numbers to wind things down a little bit, their overlong nature gives the impression they’re unnecessary padding. In the grand scheme of things, though, it’s not a big deal - you can just skip those tracks if you really don’t like them, and it doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s incredibly rare to see a band’s ninth album be one of the most spirited and punishing releases in their career.

Rating: 8.1 out of 10

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Review by Alain on March 28, 2020.

From the very beginning of its existence the South Carolina based band Nile emerged as one of the most impressive death metal projects. During the last decades we have seen tons of bands which play a technically infused death metal, but only a few have managed to achieve a truly inspired balance between brutally and technicality. Nile has been one of those. Moreover, this band forged a very particular style, where atmosphere has always been a key element of its sound. The singer and guitar player Karl Sanders, inspired by the tales of ancient Egypt's dynasties decided to found Nile, mixing the most brutal death you can imagine with this interesting historical approach. Anyway, what makes Nile even more interesting where not only the lyrics, but the fact that the band has successfully combined in their compositions the expected death metal essence with very particular melodies and structures. Thanks to this, the band’s compositions irremediably evoke the enormous pyramids, the pharaohs and the deserts of Egypt. This is what has made Nile a very especial and interesting band. From the rawer and more straightforward, yet still epic, debut entitled Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka to the classic masterpieces Black Seeds of Vengeance and In their Darkened Shrines, my personal favourite, Nile successfully evolved refining its sound and reaching an outstanding balance between aggressiveness, technical complexity and atmospheric glory. With the successive releases the band still kept an impressive level, though I personally considered that albums like Annihilation of the Wicked and At the Gate of Sethu sounded a little bit unbalanced, as the first one was too focused on Nile’s brutal side and the latter one, too technical and with a too clean production, making the album lack some passion.

Nile, as other bands, has suffered several line-up changes, leaving Karl Sanders the only original member who remains in the band. The last big change happened in 2017, with the departure of the singer and guitar player Dallas Toler-Wade, who had been a key member in the band's development. His departure was a shame, but it seemed that Nile needed some fresh flood to renew the band's sound. As a replacement Brian Kingsland came to take the duties of the vocals and the second guitar. This was an important change and the whole scene was excited to see if Nile was capable of returning with a truly worthy album. Vile Nilotic Rites was the name of the new beast, being released in the fall of 2019. From the very first listen I can fortunately say that the band sounds reinvigorated with the new member and its compositions sound inspired and fresh. Vile Nilotic Rites is by no means a departure of Nile’s trademark sound. The easily recognizable deep growls, complex riffs and drum patterns and the ancient atmosphere are still there, but with a rejuvenated spirit. As it has happened in most of their albums this opus can be divided in shorter and more straightforward tracks and the longest compositions, where atmosphere and majesty have a stronger role. The album opener ‘Long Shadows of Dread’ is a fine example of the first one, while it still keeps those masterful transitions between the speediest and ultra-technical sections and the slower sections, with those remarkably heavy and rhythmic riffs. This is important to mention, because riff wise the album sounds like the Nile we know and love, though some structures and guitars may have a slightly different touch, these are perhaps influences brought by the new member Brian. Still, the marginally new riff schemes are adequately integrated in the more classic guitar structures, not sounding out of place. Vocally, Nile sounds are brutal as ever, Brian delivers when he takes the main vocal role with very solid grows, and fortunately Karl still performs his trademark ultra-low growls, which makes me happy as I couldn´t imagine Nile without his vocals. As mentioned, we can find a bunch of longer songs, where Nile sounds especially inspired as it has a greater room to introduce a wider range of structures, paces and a stronger atmosphere. ‘Seven Horns of War' is the first one of those longer songs and it indeed sounds impressive. The arrangements are truly epic and even cinematic. There is a certain arrangement which, funnily, has reminded me one of the most epic battles in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In my humble opinion Nile sounds truly unique when the band adds some atmospheric arrangements, which make the lyrical concept behind the songs, even more real. One of the strongest points of this album is that we can enjoy a bunch of those songs, particularly in the last part of the album, where songs like the awesome ‘The Imperishable Stars are Sickened’ and the excellent album closer ‘We are Cursed’ shine. Both songs have excellent riffs, dark and mysterious introductions and a captivating ambience. Fast Nile may be a destroying force, but the slowest Nile is equally smashing and incredibly hypnotic. Vile Nilotic Rites is definitively a rich album in terms of guitar riffs richness and probably the most generous album regarding the varied and always tastefully placed acoustic and ambient arrangements. This is a good step in the right direction as the last albums probably were too austere in this regard.

In conclusion, Vile Nilotic Rites can be defined as a glorious return for Nile. The band sounds fresh and ready to continue dominating the scene with its unmatched mixture of brutally, complexity and grandeur. This work is indeed a must for every fan of Nile and extreme metal.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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