Nile - _Black Seeds of Vengeance_
by: Paul Schwarz (
Simply put, this should be a redundant review for all but aesthetic purposes: you should all own this album by now. That said, I'm sorry that it's taken me a while to get round to writing this review, it should by all rights have been in CoC #49. Apologies aside, the extra time has allowed me to better compose my thoughts, though I'm still fathoming and wondering at _BSoV_ utter devastating brilliance two months after first checking it out. As many of you long time CoCers will have gathered, I am not a religious man. I am also not a superstitious man. However, I still find myself disbelieving as to quite how Nile can have created a record that far surpasses _Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka_ [CoC #32] without some type of divine aid. Of course, that's what makes a record like _BSoV_ that much more wondrous: that it is merely a human creation, an example of what can be done when some of the most talented people in their field push themselves to the limits. And in the field of innovating and devastating within a realm which one can still accurately refer to as "death metal", Nile must now be the masters. "Solid" is probably -the- key word to use in describing _BSoV_: it's compositions, structure as an album, the performances put in by every member and the pure power it churns out in never-ending abundance are things to be marvelled at. Bursting from the scene-setting Egyptian Argoul performed intro, the title track's main objective is utter devastation. Its greatest part is simultaneously traditional and beyond the norm in its death metalness, while the classically beefed chant which closes it off is a sterling example of truly effective innovation. "Defiling the Gates of Ishtar" follows. Into 3 minutes and 38 seconds Nile cram the most incredible musical journey that I have ever witnessed in a song under five minutes long. I refuse to spoil the surprises, but sufficed it to say that this song alone demonstrates how ridiculous a number of light years Nile are ahead of nearly all death metal bands currently existent in the world today. Nile's mastery of speed is astounding, but their grasp of songwriting construction and dynamics is as an example of near-perfection. Nile evidence an expert knowledge of pace both in the relatively rapid compositions which make up the majority of _BSoV_'s tracks and also in the crushing, simplistic but equally masterful chugging final "song" "To Dream of Ur". Nine minutes in length, it provides the final clinching proof that Nile do not need speed or any other particular, basic musical element to construct excellent, brutal and invigorating songs. In a year when death metal seemed to be showing its age, Nile have shown how monumentous a creation you -can- make using the style as your core elements, and have simultaneously shown up how lacking in ingenuity, creativity, and even worthwhile brutality the majority of death metal bands today are.
(article published 11/20/2000)
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