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Nile
In Their Darkened Shrines
Relapse Records
www.relapse.com


Round about the time Varg Vikernes took things a touch too serious and stabbed Mayhem member Euronymous to death, black metal lost its youthful whimsy. The promises of Odin unfulfilled, the Vikings abandoned the cause in favor of sweet, sweet garage rock. Shortly after, in South Carolina of all places, Nile formed a new outfit that converted the Nordic ferocity to a new (actually older) direction. Hence the onset of Egyptian Death Metal. Sure, the demons that oppose Ra sound just like the ones touted by Thor or Beelzebub. But if you think Nile is merely a variation on a theme, you're living in a tomb.

Gothically symphonic at points, In Their Darkened Shrines utilizes classic Metal techniques with the long-forgotten tradition of flavor. Unearthly vocals, inhuman drumming and impossibly blistering guitar lend praise to Osiris. Nile has a fine grasp of dynamics that keep everything from blurring out of control. And while the lyrics are as decipherable as the hieroglyphs, the extensively footnoted liner notes are like a fascinating thesis. The mythology behind the songs is a work unto itself. "The mummified remains of the sacrificial whores/of the cannibalistic serpent cults of thirty centuries/ with black incantation and foul necromantic art/ propitiated with the blood of the living." Be well assured this sampling is easily representative of the quality of the entire body of work. The musical tapestry is convincingly accurate. It wouldn't be surprising if these nihilists had researched eastern music as much as history. And once this flawless production is heard, it's no longer surprising that Napalm Death is opening for them!

It's nice to see a lofty undertaking like this actually live up to its goals. Nice also, that archaeologists and dirt-heads can finally agree on something. Those of us whose exposure to Egypt starts at Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and ends with The Scorpion King have a lot to learn from these purveyors of epic eastern metal. Nile has done their homework, and are plenty prepared to educate you non-believers.

On a scale of Omar Sharif roles: one being Che Guevera, and ten being Czar Nicholas, In Their Darkened Shrines gets an eight - Khalil Gibran.

-Ewan Wadharmi


Track Listing:

01. The Blessed Dead
02. Execration Text
03. Sarcophagus
04. Kheftiu Asar Butchiu
05. Unas Slayer of the Gods
06. Churning the Maelstrom
07. I Whisper in the Ear of the Dead
08. Wind of Horus
09. In Their Darkened Shrines
I. Hall of Saurian Entombment
II. Invocation to Seditious Heresy
III. Destruction of the Temple of the Enemies of Ra
IV. Ruins


 

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