Music Reviews

Nile

Black Seeds of Vengeance

Relapse

If Nile’s debut album, Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka, was the landmark death-metal album of 1998, the South Carolina quartet’s newest one, Black Seeds of Vengeance, stands as the Armageddon-fulfilling estuary into the new millennium, its none-more-fitting title serving as the most apt of metaphors, the most succinct of raison d’être_s – far more than labelmates Incantation and their flaccid _The Infernal Storm. Like Morbid Angel’s prodigious, ever-developing complexity barreling head on with the spiraling synapse-damage of Malevolent Creation’s Eternal, Black Seeds of Vengeance ups the ante for Nile’s already considerable explorations in tonal atonality, with vocalists/guitarists Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade saturating their sizable walls of sound with stressed-out, ultra-harmonic high-fretboard work and Egyptian-derived melodic motifs while seemingly inhuman drummer Pete Hammoura hammers out maze-like mantras of warp(ed)-speed angularity, each phrase of his raining down like gunfire, almost in a tribal manner, but never succumbing to too-linear predictability or abstruse wank. Compounding this jagged preponderance – or, more appropriately, making it that much sweeter – Nile’s compositions are ever coiling but never such that they’re out of control, each passage of theirs slyly segueing into the next, never losing sight of the given texture being explored at the moment yet still remaining a high-minded exercise in keeping structures technical and attention-retaining; basically, this record’s not a bunch of boring riffs crammed together, all inebriated-like, and otherwise called an “album.” Yeah, Sanders may share vocal duties with Toler-Wade and bassist Chief Spires, and all three men’s gutted growls may indistinguishably probe the dankest reaches of the bass tone, but with song titles as “Chapter for Transforming Into a Snake” and “Masturbating the War God,” you pretty much get an inkling of what they’re striving for, that of which being more than a bit skewed compared to their faceless contemporaries. Newcomers to Nile’s black seeds initially might be left gaping in awe, jaws fully dropped to the floor, or at least left in curious befuddlement, but once acclimated to such austere malevolence, they’re more than likely to find head music that never hurt so good.

Relapse, P.O. Box 2060, Upper Derby, PA 19082; http://www.relapse.com


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