Sound — 10
Nile has been said to be one of the most epic death metal bands ever. They are to death metal as Iron Maiden is to power metal. George Kollias is one of the genre's finest, most talented drummers (even topping Flo Mouiner of Cryptopsy fame). As if they couldn't top 2002's In Their Darkened Shrines, AOTW slaughters contemporary death metal bands trying to equate in sound such as Necrophagist and Mastodon. What sets Nile apart from these bands is their promonent fascination with ancient Egypt and Middle eastern countries. This fuels the bands hard driven lyrics and epic instrumentals. AOTW's opening track, Dusk Falls Upon The Temple Of The Serpent On The Mount Of Sunrise is a short instrumental that sounds like ti is played on an coustic guitar. Cast Down The Heretic is the second track that starts off the reaminder of the album with lightning fast drumming and strange sounding percussion, collosal riffs and growling vocals, bringing Nile's other side into play. A death metal band that can play both calming instrumentals and heavy, epic, growling, enthralling metal is something you don't find often, and thats what makes Nile so amazing.
Lyrics — 10
The music is played fluently with pure musicianship and enthusiasm, and the lyrics are just as satisfying. Nile's obsession with middle eastern and ancient Egyptian themes is what makes the lyrics stand out. While other death metal bands sing about gore and killing, death and limb ripping, (and there's nothing wrong with that) Nile discusses ancient torture methods and the ruling of Egypian gods. A Passage from The Burning Pits of the Duat reads: "I lay in chains before the undying flames. I am helpless in the presence of he who is master of the pits of fire. I am humbled and broken in the presence of those who shall consume my shade in the pits of burning." The lyrics from Nile's AOTW prove to be intelectually written from the mind of one who is about to be tortured. Another lyric passage, this time from Lashed To The Slave Stick, reads: "Abui. The god who burns the dead. Shall leave you smoldering in exile from the nethwerworld. Abati. The god of Gorer. Causes you to howl like a jackal in anguish." These lyrics are compelling and complex, written like text from an ancient egyptian scroll. Nile also did their research, and in the lyrics boooklet, also include the history and meanings behind the lyrics and ideas for the songs, as well as how some are preformed. These long passages of lyrics and information really show just how infused these lyrics are with ancient themes. Some songs, such as User-maat-re and Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten almost reach the 10 minute mark with pride. Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade are both vocalists and guitarists and their growlings are intense and heavy, sounding as though from the pits of hell, no exagerration.
Overall Impression — 10
AOTW is certanly one of the finer death metal offerings of today, and quite possibley a classic album. Nile have produced an original collection of songs, oozing with craftsmanship and musicanship. All of the songs on AOTW are incredible, and my favorites are Lashed to the Slavestick, Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten, and (catchy title)Chapter Of Obeisance Before Giving Breath To The Inert One In The Presence Of The Cresent Shaped Horns. I love the instrumentation of the album, the way the sounds are made, it just puts a picture in my head of how these ever so descriptive scences appeared in ancient times. If it were stolen or lost, I ould definitley replace it, but that won't happen. This is one of death metal's finest works, and should be owned by every purist.