Nile - _In Their Darkened Shrines_
(Relapse Records, 2002)
by: Jackie Smit (
Nile have become somewhat of an anomaly of late -– a band which by all rights is too devastatingly brutal to ever be in danger of mass-acceptance, yet somehow seems to be getting a harder push in the media than a lot of nu metal acts these days. Perhaps publications like Kerrang! are trying to mask their bias against death metal by including a comparatively safe act like Nile in their weekly regurgitation, but either way, it could well lead to a boom in the genre of nigh on late eighties proportions, particularly when the uninitiated realise the genius of _In Their Darkened Shrines_. Where _Black Seeds of Vengeance_ often eluded perfection by straying into less than coherent sub-progressive rambling, _In Their Darkened Shrines_ instantly captures the listener with a more mature and focused approach, while at the same time blending in several elements new to the Nile formulae. Of particular note is the swirling overture of "Unas Slayer of the Gods" -– a lengthy, diverse and powerful track, which ultimately stands out as the centre-point and highlight of the recording. Similarly "Sarcophagus", with its slow-thudding tempo and chugging riff, adds a new dynamic to the album, which previous Nile releases have lacked up to this point. Far from being polished and toned-down however, Nile's brutality appears to be in overdrive on album opener "The Blessed Dead". And while Nile thrash away mercilessly on their instruments, the Egyptian theme is ever-present in the form of sampled sounds and epic synths which complete the band's beautifully grotesque, alluring soundscape. While I would not go as far as to call _In Their Darkened Shrines_ the death metal highlight of 2002, it is undoubtedly a worthy purchase -– an album which reveals more of itself with every listen, and stands as testament to the tremendous amount of talent alive in extreme music today.
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