Nile - _In the Beginning_
by: Paul Schwarz (
The debut albums of bands discovered and exalted upon the unleashing of their second opus are often not worth speaking of, but for USA's Egypt-obsessed and brutally warped death metallers Nile this is certainly not the case. This welcome re-issue of earlier this year re-introduces 1995's _Festivals of Atonement_ to the international catalogue of availability and also includes the later _Ramasees Bringer of War_ EP -- though this latter rarity merely serves to demo a few of the frenetic numbers which later appeared on Nile's second exalted opus, _Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka_ [CoC #32]. _FoA_ is interesting for its stylistic differences, for though it is for the most part unmistakably Nile, it is Nile at a much reduced tempo from _ATKoNK_. Heady, powerful chugging and crushing outpourings like the monstrous opener "Divine Intent" do display the trademarks you'll be accustomed to if you've checked out _AtKoNK_, but the songs on _FoA_ extend often beyond the six or seven minute mark, bestowing upon them, and the whole record, a vaguely epic quality. The mere five tracks presented (plus the "Immortality Through Art" acoustic instrumental) clock in at thirty-two minutes, and that's including the sign-for-the-future, under-three-minute crush of "The Black Hand of Set". Nile's debut finds a comfortable spot between a low but rough death/thrash rumble and the dirty, doomed-out grind of Crowbar and others of a sludgy and rumbling nature. It may not be perfect in terms of songwriting and even sound, which nonetheless is rich and hard-edged, but _FoA_ is well worth owning, replete as it is with some of the band's best solos and some great, evocative moments.
(article published 12/8/2000)
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