Review: Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed

Posted: August 18, 2015 in Reviews
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Nile - What Should Not Be Unearthed

Now, to be honest, I’m a massive mark for everything Nile have ever put out, so there may be a little bit of bias in this review, but hell, when have Nile ever not backed up all the superlatives thrown in their direction? They became a flagbearer for death metal when it was a dying genre, birthing several instant classics along the way and bringing the ancient power of Egypt to the masses. Their eighth full length, ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’, has some mighty big shoes to fill…

‘Call to Destruction’ is that first hurricane of technical death metal chaos, with that familiar machine gun double kick and dazzling fretwork. Dallas Toller Wade’s guttural death growls are still brutal in every way, and they’ve always enhanced the primal darkness of Nile’s work. ‘Negating the Abominable Coils of Apep’ thrashes and writhes with bruising death metal riffing, while that iconic Nile bend riff gets me every time. Their songs ooze with an ancient heaviness, like the looming weight of the pyramids. ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’ feels a lot faster and a lot more frantic than previous efforts to begin with, and you have to wait until the grinding title track for that crushing slow riff that Sanders wields so well.

The Middle Eastern instrumentation also appears to be scaled back a bit for this release, but their scarcity only makes them more effective when they do rear their heads. Eastern flourishes grace the latter periods of the title track, when the voices of the underworld growl from the depths of the Duat. ‘Ushabti Reanimator’ is the only instrumental that encapsulates the more ethnic parts of Nile’s music, and it feels uncomfortable, urgent almost to get back to the metal. ‘Evil to Cast Out Evil’ has a crisp, Hate Eternal feel to it, while the swaying brutality of ‘Age of Famine’ groans under its own mass.

‘Annihilation of the Wicked’ is ten years old this year, and was the first death metal album I really got into. It still stands up as Nile’s finest hour for me, and ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’ comes closest of all their albums since to equalling that majesty. Be it the coupling of eastern melody and brutality that enhances ‘In the Name of Amun’, the spiralling riff-ageddon of ‘Rape of the Black Earth’, or the crushing close of ‘To Walk Forth from the Flames Unscathed’, Karl Sanders and crew have done it again. ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’ is another scorcher from these death metal legends, and is easily the death metal record of my year so far.



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