Sound — 7
The sound of this album is very rough, and not sludgy, but a REAL kick in the cojones, so to speak. The production is a little '' muddy '' but you shouldn't have too much trouble picking out the riffs and such, the production is by no means a Burzum or Mayhem job, but it's very solid, and compliments the album is a very respectful way. I don't know too much about the creation of the album, but as far as I know, Karl Sanders was and is the primary songwriter for Nile, and he more or less wrote the entire album, lyrics AND music. Though these were not his first set of songs, as he played in a thrash metal band previously called Morriah, so he already had some compositional knowledge prior to setting pen to paper for this album. This CD is usually classed as '' A Death metal CD '', because of the extremely low growling and the instrumentation, tremolo picked riffs and fast chord transitions, shredded solos etc. Overall, the production on this album is something that I am very fond of and it really does compliment the album as a whole, very nice job.
Lyrics — 8
The overall impression I get from the lyrics that have been written for this album is a very strong sense of education, emanating from the one who penned them, Karl Sanders. You can tell that prior to writing this albums lyrics, he had done research on some ancient middle eastern topics, and to name a couple, we will start with the first song on the album. Smashing The Antiu The Antiu were a group of people that resided within the east of Egypt, and in a place called Sinai. The very early Pharaohs would constantly wage war with them, and the Egyptians would hold a festival, to celebrate this conflict that would be occur, I presume yearly, called '' The Smashing Of The Antiu '', where they would systematicly slaughter this group of people. Second example Kudduru Maqlu. This particular song is an atmospheric instrumental, but what actually is a Kudduru Maqlu? Well, I don't know what an Maqlu is, but an Kudduru in ancient Babylonia was a stone that the Kassites would use to document land given to Vassals. Here is a piece that I have copied and pasted from Wikipedia. The Kudurrus recorded the land granted by the king to his vassals as a record of his decision. The original kudurru would be stored in a temple while the person granted the land would be given a clay copy to use as a boundary stone to confirm legal ownership. The kudurrus would contain symbolic images of the gods who were protecting the contract, the contract itself and the divine curse that would be placed on a person who broke the contract. Some kudurrus also contained an image of the king who granted the land. As they contained a great deal of images as well as a contract, kudurrus were engraved on large slabs of stone. And all of this historical information, in my opinion of course, fits in perfectly with the theme of Nile, which is about Ancient Egypt and other ancient foreign cultures and civilizations, and it is certainly a welcome break from the rehashed themes of modern and past '' death metal ''. The vocal delivery from Chief Spires and Karl Sanders is astounding, for the whole album there are loud war cries, low snarling, teeth grinding snaps, and rumbling wet growls that make you shake in your seat as your ears are assaulted with a constant barrage of blast beats and tremolo picked riffs. There is much knowledge to be found in these lyrics, if one looks hard enough of course:)
Overall Impression — 8
I am a firm believer in the statement that Nile are in a league of their own, which no other group/band has even come CLOSE to entering, this truly is a unique piece in Niles catalogue and is very different from their other work, instrumentally and vocally speaking of course. My personal favourite songs off of this album are Serpent Headed Mask Smashing The Antiu Howling Of The Jinn Ramses, Bringer Of War Pestilence And Iniquity Although all songs are very worthwhile listens IMO I really love everything about it, but the only thing I truly dislike, is the lead playing. Horrible attempts at shredding, which totally bring down the songs IMO, it would have been a world greater if they replaced these garbage '' solos '' with some cool melodies for the next 15 seconds, not this shredding dross I constantly hear, but, they are not TERRIBLE, just not very musically adventurous, so to speak. If this was stolen or lost, I'd look for the sorry soul that stole it, verbally abuse him, and take my CD back! But if I couldn't find it, then I'd buy another copy for sure, it's too good of a CD not too. Overall statement? Good instrumentation Great lyrical approach Great cover art Great title Great vocals If you are a fan of '' death metal '' and you are looking for something different, then definitely pick this one up, this is in a league of its own and CD's like this don't come around every 5 years, that's for sure.