You have to figure that any band which describes their style of extreme metal as “Ithyphallic” (a word which apparently refers to a certain part of the male anatomy) is probably going to be a challenging listen... and in the case of South Carolina-founded trio Nile, you'd be correct. Their signature mode of massively complex technical death metal is based almost entirely on the mythology of ancient Egypt, with a heavy emphasis on death, the underworld, and the occult. They illustrate these concepts with incredibly lengthy song titles (by my count, the wordiest so far is "Chapter of Obeisance Before Giving Breath to the Inert One in the Presence of the Crescent Shaped Horns"); extensive liner notes explaining the history and lore behind their lyrics; doomy atmospheric soundscapes; and of course the beefiest, most punishing drop-tuned riffs, technical wizardry and searing vocals ever unleashed upon the human ear. Their seventh studio album At the Gate of Sethu continues many of these grand traditions, and I've got the full breakdown for you below, along with one of the most interesting tracks from the record. Read on and listen in!
Founded in 1993 by frontman/songwriter Karl Sanders, Nile has undergone numerous lineup changes since then, but the duo of Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade on guitars (both of them trading off bass duties in the studio), along with George Kollias at the drumkit, has essentially been the heart of the band since their supreme 2005 release Annihilation of the Wicked (the first Nile album I heard, and still my favorite), and this team went on to record three more albums, including this latest project. This consistency in personnel has been matched with strong songwriting and fairly solid production, though reviews have been mixed from one record to the next; I've been waiting for the band to match the intensity and majesty of Annihilation, so I was eager to check out their latest offering and see how it measures up.