Nile - Those Whom The Gods Detest
Nuclear Blast
"Ithyphallic" Death Metal
10 songs (56:00)
Release year: 2009
Nile, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

It’s the brave Death Metal fan who didn’t feel at least a little more insecure back when the news that Nile had left Relapse for Nuclear Blast came out, and indeed the first album they produced under that label, the cocksure Ithyphallic, was a disappointment in many ways. All the usual Nile elements were in place, but it was a strangely unexciting step down after the epic brilliance of Annihilation Of The Wicked, not to mention the fact that it lacked the usual liner notes from Karl Sanders explaining the songs – a vital part of the Nile experience, given the intelligence that goes into the songwriting. So, the news that these liner notes would be reintroduced for album number six from the Carolina-based crew had my hopes up even before the intriguing album title, and after a fair few listens I’m pleased to report that Those Whom The Gods Detest is a fine return to form. The opening track Kafir! alone diverts from the usual Nile template with its Eastern wailing and choppy, constantly switching structure, not to mention the spine-chilling moment where everything halts and “ALLAH HU’AKBAR” is growled with utter malevolence.

A pity that, at the time of writing, I’m forced to rely on the promotional notes and what little I’ve been able to glean from the odd interview – a concept album specifically about Islam in Egypt would be fascinating and completely worthy of Sanders’ focus, but without having this confirmed I’ll have to ignore it and assume it’s the usual mixture of ancient history and Lovecraft (that the cover art depicts Akhenaten, the heretic who tried to bring monotheism to Egypt in his reign, is a big hint). The explanation given for the album title in the promotional guff says that Metalheads in general are hated by the gods, so this is a rejection of gods in general. Quite what distinctly kickass Christian Tech-Thrashers Believer would say about this remains to be seen, but if the possession of killer riffs does mean being hated by gods one and all, then the dwellers of realms beyond are going to be totally pissed off at Nile for this. Each and every song present is a killer piece of Death Metal, hitting all the right spots and incorporating the ethnic elements that made Nile’s name perfectly.

This more than makes up for the flaccid Ithyphallic and even threatens the albums before it in their steely-eyed domination of the Death Metal landscape; something that should be assumed automatically with musicians of this stature. Sanders and Toler-Wade crank out the riffs like their souls are possessed, but George Kollias stuns me every time I hear him. The man’s a fiend; his multidimensional blasting is at once organic and mechanical, percussive patterns arising and fading, traditional rhythms mixing with Death Metal double-bass to produce a backing battery that perfectly complements the riff-driven music. He’s very underrated by the Metal world in general; hopefully his performance here will go some way towards making his name as respected as it deserves to be. And the songs! The frantic screams of Hittite Dung Incantation are an atmospheric shock, Utterances Of The Crawling Dead deserves a paragraph of its own and is quite possibly the best Death Metal track of the year, whilst even longer, more drawn-out pieces like the title track succeed in their crushing ambition with some wonderfully-applied clean vocals backing Sanders’ snarl. Two eight-minute tracks next to each other is a risk for some, but Nile pull it off wonderfully by following that with the indescribably epic 4th Arra Of Dagon.

Critics of the band like my former colleague Aaron, peace be upon him (even though he wrote a very unfair review of Annihilation Of The Wicked for this site which I still haven’t forgiven him for) will whine at the band for their apparent lack of progress since producing their groundbreaking initial albums, but they’re missing the point entirely; Nile are in a class, hell, a genre of their own, and new releases from a band that so shook the Death Metal world up are worthy of examination for that alone. It helps that the songwriting here is the best since In Their Darkened Shrines, easily kicking Ithyphallic in the cock and even managing to be better in some ways than the awesome Annihilation... . Fine, the weaker amongst you may have to give it a few extra listens before it clicks like the serpent-god slithering amidst the bones of the mutilated on the plains of Amun-Ra, but rest assured: Nile have recovered their mojo, and Those Whom The Gods Detest is their tightest and most awesome release in years.

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Killing Songs :
Kafir!, Utterances Of The Crawling Dead, 4th Arra Of Dagon, Kem Khefa Kheshef, Iskander D’hul Karnon
Goat quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Nile that we have reviewed:
Nile - What Should Not Be Unearthed reviewed by Kynes and quoted 78 / 100
Nile - At the Gate of Sethu reviewed by Tony and quoted 86 / 100
Nile - Worship the Animal - 1994: The Lost Recordings reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Nile - Black Seeds Of Vengeance reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
Nile - Ithyphallic reviewed by Kayla and quoted 83 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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