Nile - Annihilation of the Wicked (2005)
The latest release from the brutal death metallers goes by the name of Annihilation of the Wicked
, and the use of the word 'Annihilation' is very apt to describe this album. After the preview song 'Lashed to the Slave Stick' was set loose, I was a little bit worried; it wasn't quite Nile in my opinion. However, after the brief introduction the album kicks in with 'Cast Down the Heretic' which is hard, fast and totally ***ing brutal. There's plenty of double bass, and the drumming on the whole is technically excellent - blastbeats and speedy fills aplenty throughout. The riffs are great too, fast and down-tuned, however they can also be surprisingly catchy aswell.
There is quite a range of music here, from the uptempo technical warfare that is 'The Burning PIts of the Duat' to the slow and exhausting epics like 'User-Maat-Re', Nile are a surprsingly diverse band. The latter track mentioned, 'User-Maat-Re', starts out with some typical Egyptian sounded clean guitar before exploding into the double bass drumming and heavy, palm-muted riffing you would expect from Nile. When the vocals come in, it seems alot slower as the guitars hold their chords (although Kollias still hammers away on the drums) and Sander's powerful growling drags the song along. This song is definately a long one, at over 9 minutes long it cycles throughout many different sides to Nile, there's the Egyptian intro; the slow, powerful intro; the quicker, more agressive sections; and of course the incredible, anguish filled solo.
And then, immediately following the epic track, is something totally different. 'The Burning Pits of the Duat' is short, fast, hard and technical. The whole song is executed very well though, and this short song (under 4 minutes) still manages to come across as one of the most powerful on the album. Whilst the usual death metal formula is held underneath, a nice touch is added at points my a haunting guitar arpeggiating above this which compliments Sander's vocals. The song has some typical soloing thrown in over the top that doesn't add to the song an awful lot in my opinion, but the music on the whole is excellent, particularly when the song comes to the climax at the end.
There are lot's of good songs on this album though, all displaying Nile's abilities differently. As I previously mentioned, 'Lashed to the Slave Tick' disappointed me a bit, but everything else on the album is pure gold. 'Chapter of Obesiance Before Giving Breath to the Inert One in the Presence of the Crescent Shaped Moon' has an awesome lead throughout it that will constantly be stuck in your head, 'Spawn of the Uameti' is the Egyptian sounding instrumental that we all know, love and expect from Nile by now that builds into the epic title track which is easily one of the best songs on the album. The last song, 'Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten' is another excellent song with is heavy, stop-start rffs and Egyptian interlude.
However, I feel I should point out that this album isn't as Egyptian as most Nile stuff. There are still Egyptian parts, and Egyptian sounding melodies, but it isn't as clearly obvious as these sections had been on previous Nile albums. In my opinion this isn't a bad thing, as they more than make up for this in sheer brutality, whilst still keeping enough of the Egyptian influences to set them apart from other death metal bands.
Overall, this is a great album, it's up there with In Their Darkened Shrines
and The Black Seeds of Vengeance
in my opinion, which is an achievement in itself. I recommend this album to fans of death metal everywhere, and I would say 'Cast Down the Heretic', 'User-Maat-Re' and 'Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten' if you feel you need a listen before buying the album.