Posts Tagged ‘Nile’

Death metal has been particularly healthy this year in the world of the Killchain. I’ve heard some storming releases, and to whittle it down to only ten seems unfair to the many great records I heard this year. I’m genuinely sorry to anyone I’ve reviewed that hasn’t made it in, because I’ve been totally into almost everything I’ve been sent! But it has to be done, and this is it!

10. Tormention – Chaotic Delusions: A solid, chunky death metal riff war machine of a record. Who needs to reinvent the wheel when the wheel has rarely sounded this good. Tormention crush and batter you into submission.

9. Kataklysm – Of Ghosts and Gods: Superb guitar harmonies mesh with a bombardment of double kicks, guttural but understandable roars and flesh searing riffs. Kataklysm may be getting a bit more melodic, but ‘Of Ghosts and Gods’ will still destroy a pit at ten feet.

8. Desecresy – Stoic Death: A slow, grinding album of Finnish death supreme, where speed has been traded in for a malevolent drudge through some of the darkest waters. Unholy, crawling chaos.

7. Putrevore – Tentacles of Horror: Probably my favourite of all Rogga Johansson’s releases this year, Putrevore smash you into the ground with pure, gurgling death metal. Viciously sludgy and with a simply awesome guitar tone, Putrevore slay.

6. Austerymn – Sepulcrum Viventium: A killer debut of pure Swedeath worship, the UK’s answer to Dismember pulled out all the stops to create a memorably brutal record with razor sharp song writing and crushing heaviness.

5. Obituary – Inked in Blood: Legends fade over time, but Obituary don’t. Still as strong today as they were when they dropped ‘Slowly We Rot’. Iconic vocal belches pepper an album built on heavy as fuck riffing and an atmosphere of reeking death.

4. Abyssus – Into the Abyss: Out Obituary-ing Obituary is no mean feat, but Greek death metal squad Abyssus manage to create one of the finest Floridian death metal albums never to come out of Morrisound. I love the raw, uncompromisingly 90s feel about it, taking me back to the heady days when death metal was a little bit more simple!

3. Shrapnel Storm – Mother War: Filling the Bolt Thrower shaped void in my life, Shrapnel Storm has spun more often than I ever thought it could this year. The band just execute a brand of deathly groove that is totally addictive. The rumble of tanks is alive and well

2. Necrocosm – Damnation Doctrine: Spiralling tech death metal with oodles of melody and stunning fretwork. ‘Damnation Doctrine’ is one of metal’s finest debuts, and is held off the top spot by one of death metal’s most influential and untouchable bands.

1.Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed: Flailing, raging technicality meets the ancient power of the pyramids once again as Nile emerge from their tombs, laying upon us another blueprint of apocalyptic, ancient death. Once again proving that they are the greatest death metal outfit going, ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’ is endlessly stunning.

I did a full genre by genre breakdown last year, and while I’ll try to put that together in the next few days, I thought I ‘d start with my overall favourites. I spent 2015 listening to a shitload of independent, underground stuff, and a lot of older stuff. My favourite non-2015 record of the year was ‘British Steel’, closely followed by Accept’s superlative ‘Balls to the Wall’. It was clearly a classic metal year.I’ve also not heard anywhere near as many of the records I wanted to. So there’s probably been a few good ones you’re wondering why are missing. Tell me, so I can find them!

I’m adding a late disclaimer to this; at point of writing I haven’t heard the new Baroness record. It’d probably be in here, but its not fair to these other great records to stick it in just because I’m guessing how good it is.

10. Zgard – Totem: A Ukrainian windswept masterpiece of folky black metal. ‘Totem’ proved that while fellow countryman Drudkh has perfected the style, there are still bands that can challenge the supremacy. Majestic.

9. Paradise Lost – The Plague Within: What can be said? Yorkshire doom lords return with one of this year’s finest pieces of gothic misery. Proof that you can always rely on the old guard to bring it.

8. Plague Rider – Paroxysm: Only EP to make this list, English tech death stars Plague Rider makes this kind of mind bending death metal look easy. I cannot wait to hear what is coming next.

7. Islay – The Angels Share: German melodeath underground heroes Islay have written one of 2015’s most impressive records. ‘The Angels Share’ is an odyssey, owing debts to At the Gates and Amon Amarth, but always remaining their own.

6. Heathen Beast – Trident: One of India’s brightest hopes, and one of their most talented acts, Heathen Beast bring to you scathing, black metal with enough unique ethnic touches to make them stand out and be instantly recognisable.

5. Chiral – Night Sky: In a year where Sivjr Yar pushed him close, Chiral brought out my favourite black metal of the year. Epic in scope, majestic in execution, and truly heart-wrenching at points, ‘Night Sky’ is how atmospheric black metal should be done.

4. Undersmile – Anhedonia: A scorching, dynamic slab of proper British doom. Melancholy and bleak, but always vital and alive. ‘Atacama Sunrise’ is one of my favourite songs of this year, and it is my top doom record of 2015.

3. Shrapnel Storm – Mother War: In a year of epic death metal, Shrapnel Storm’s album kept getting played. Maybe it’s satisfying my craving for more Bolt Thrower, I don’t know, but maybe its just because it is a crushing machine of riffs and death. Love it.

2. Necrocosm – Damnation Doctrine: In any year where there WASN’T a new Nile record, this would have been my top record. I love the complexity, the unhinged savagery but also the supreme melodic flair with which these guys kill. ‘Damnation Doctrine’ needs to be the death metal record you hear this year

NUMBER ONE: Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed: I love Nile. I love everything they do. I loved this album before I heard it. But then I did. I heard how Karl Sanders and co had brought their signature sound to yet more intricate, punishing and most importantly GREAT death metal. Writing songs for themselves should be what they do more often, we are all just lucky to hear it.

Did I miss anything essential? Please let me know and I hope you seek out and support all the artists here.


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.


Can a solo record by a drummer be truly absorbing? As vital as drumming is to the world of metal, I was sceptical of the merits of this kind of thing. The main draw for me is that George Kollias is the Greek sticksman for my favourite death metal band, Nile. He is undeniably talented, forging a brutally precise style that is crushingly heavy and yet technically astounding. His solo record, ‘Invictus’ is here, and boy does it turn out that Kollias is ludicrously talented at pretty much every instrument.

‘Invictus’ is a raging maelstorm of death metal, underpinned at its core by Kollias’ staggering drumming performance. Each track showcases his vast talent, blasting, filling his way through an epic score of Middle Eastern death metal. It has an undeniable link to Nile’s innovative mix of technical brutality and ethnic instrumentation, but it lacks that magic touch that Sanders et al brings to Nile’s material. Not that you should be disappointed that it isn’t as good as Nile; almost nothing is.

Kollias is a drum teacher in his life outside Egyptian themed death metal barrage, and I can imagine he must be one of the finest there is. He’s certainly one of the finest in all of metal, and ‘Invictus’ is proof. The relentless battering of ‘The Passage’ is some of Kollias’ hardest and heaviest drumming on record. He is free here, not restrained by some of Nile’s more esoteric moments. The dense thunder of ‘Aeons of Burning Galaxies’ assaults the senses, while ‘Shall Rise/Shall Be Dead’ comes across as a more streamlined Nile, without the dense technicalities.

‘Invictus’ is a triumph for solo records. It is a straightforward technical death metal record that nonetheless excels in all areas. The drumming is, understandably, exemplerary, but Kollias knows how to write a death metal song that loses none of its violence but still has those little moments of atmosphere that sets it apart. His riffs are razor sharp, catchy and the vocals are sick too. Excellent!

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This week and next on the Killchain Hour at Live Funeral Radio is a bit strange because they’ve been built in tandem. Normally I build the playlists in a single session, usually on the Monday night while listening to my iTunes, getting ideas. We’ve been discussing some theme nights between the hosts, such as the German thrash night I did, or the Swedish night that Steve did on Friday there. There’s talks about having a Lemmy tribute night sometime soon which would be excellent, and also some covers shows. I’m doing covers next week, and have already assembled the list in advance. It’s got some killer tunes, but I won’t spoil it yet.

This week’s (ie tomorrow night) is basically the usual rifftastic hour, full of great songs from all genres. I’ve included a new local favourite in Censored that I reviewed the other day. I stuck in probably my favourite Nile song, even though it takes up a full 6th of the hour. There’s also some excellent old school power and thrash, along with a bit of new brutality from something I’m reviewing for Sleeping Shaman. I’ll post the playlist on my Facebook tonight. Enjoy, 10pm GMT

This is a revelation of an ongoing project I have been working on for a while now. History is important to metal, in many shapes and forms. History is also very important to me. It is what I got my degree in at university, it was the subject I was best at at school, and it is a hobby of mine. I like to seek out the lesser told parts of history, the parts you don’t learn about at school, the parts that have no bearing on my homeland or my life. These are the things that interest me. It seems to be a theme in my life, as my music is another place where I search for the obscure, the less popular, the different. Thankfully, all those things are ably found with help of the big bad web.

Metalheads revere the HISTORY of their genre; the older bands that laid the way for the new bands that appear every day. Bands like Mercyful Fate, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Venom, Death and of course, Black Sabbath. The latter being the most important of them all. But what unites many bands is their appreciation of human history, of events long past. In many cases it is war, be it the World War II themed death metal of Hail of Bullets or the juggernaut of Bolt Thrower. War is a central theme through hundreds of metal bands.

Inspiration from people of great evil from human history is another common theme, be it the malicious Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the ‘Hangman of Prague’ Reinhard Heydrich or the galloping butcher Attila the Hun. Tales of their roles in history are tied to metal songs, and there are many more I haven’t mentioned. But it seems that HISTORY as a subject is important in many ways.

Our most famous examples of such bands include Iron Maiden, Sabaton, Hail of Bullets, Bolt Thrower, Eastern Front and so on. But numerous other songs with some rooting in a historical place, time or figure exist. I want to examine how important it is as a form of expression. How these times in the past are considered worthy of immortalising in a song. What bands find in the themes or symbolism of the past that is revelant to their particular message. As I have started this research, it amazes me how frequently historical references appear in metal songs. They are everywhere, from the blasting Marduk to the psychedelica of The Meads of Asphodel; from the fist pumping heavy metal of Saxon to the howling death of Nile.

Footnote: I am, wherever possible, trying to stay away from mythological referencing, as that would make this project massively unwieldy and potentially inaccurate. I have a great respect for mythology, and I do believe a lot of it will have roots in real events or people. But as a historian myself, I will seek the evidence rather than the conjecture. I’ll examine how the stories of the past work as metal songs or inspirations. This is going to be a passion project that will see the light of day in the future. One hopes


This riff of the moment is brought to you by Nile, the most brutal and well researched death metal band on the planet. There are so many Nile riffs I could chuck into one of these posts, but there is one that, for me, stands above all that Karl Sanders has ever put through his custom 7 stringer.

‘Eat of the Dead’ is on Ithyphallic, one of Nile’s lesser appreciated records. Admittedly it was sandwiched between the jaw-dropping Annihilation of the Wicked (2005) and the career-defining sweeping epic that is Those Whom the Gods Detest, a review of which will be forthcoming. But it was another flawless slab of ancient, technical brutality, injected with vast swathes of ethnic instrumentation and meticulously researched tales of Egypt. Plus, with ‘Papyrus Containing the Spell to Preserve its Possessor Against Attacks from He Who is in the Water’, it probably has the Nile song with the best name. ‘What Can be Safely Written’ and ‘Even the Gods Must Die’ are essential Nile tracks. But it is ‘Eat of the Dead’ that has the key riff. It starts at 4:32, after a bruising middle section that enhances the speed of the song by 400%.

THAT riff, that’s what Metallica’s Creeping Death would have sounded like in reality. That is the sound of some Lovecraftian beast, inching its way across desert sands, devouring all in its darkness. It encompasses all which latter Nile has become; titanic, atonal, Eastern, heavier than Hell itself. The drums and unholy incantation help to make it better, but that ungodly riff carries the moment…