Review Summary: A fantastically, highly technical consistent release that unfortunately drags on a little at times
Ancient Egypt may seem to some like somewhat of an unconventional topic for a death metal band to focus on, given how so many of the genre's bands have spoken of nothing but gore and hating on religion since the genres inception. However, one of the genre's forerunners has made a living by doing nothing but speak of Ancient Egypt and the myths surrounding it. The band I refer to is of course none other than titans Nile, a band legendary within extreme metal circles. They have released many albums to date, usually of a high standard although their latest album was received less than favorably when stacked up against their past releases such as In Their Darkened Shrines. The band's style is a highly technical assault on the ears comprising of some insanely fast blast beats and frequent changes in tempo, including various chugging "breakdowns" mixed in perfectly among the flurries of tremolo picking and insane chord progressions. The technical prowess the band's guitarists have shown over the years is something to be reckoned with, but perhaps their most technical outing to date came on Those Whom The Gods Detest.
This was another album of high quality from Nile, containing ten songs with an average running time of around six and a half minutes per song with the longest two being over eight minutes and the shortest being a rather underwhelming two and a half minutes, although it is more an interlude than a proper song. Throughout the duration of this album one will experience a number of emotions and nothing but non-stop brutal death metal. The band really took things up a notch in the guitar department, with some crazily technical riffing found on here. Nearly every riff on this album relies on cramming as large a variety of notes as can be found into an incredible short space of time, leading to sounds such as the one achieved at one minute into Hittite Dung Incantation. Occasionally they will refrain from playing this crazy multitude of notes at such a speed and let a few chords ring out, either to give the guitarists fingers a rest or to signal a change in tempo-you can be the judge of which. The soloing is just as frantic, as the opening song Kafir evidences superbly. From three minutes thirty seconds the song shifts into a slower, chugging section that lasts over a minute before some Egyptian-sounding voices come in to build an atmosphere. Then, without any warning whatsoever, at five minutes into the song the guitars go mad again, with a lightning fast solo that is guaranteed to steamroll anything in their way.
The drumming is nothing short of phenomenal either, featuring some hyper fast blast beats akin to a slightly less varied Cryptopsy. The blasts on here are fairly monotonous but they carry the songs forward at a fantastic pace and create a marvelous foundation for the insanity that is the guitar work to build off. Anchoring down the rest of the song is the bass guitar, which is mixed exceedingly low on this release but is still there thudding away and is very fast and technical. When the rest of the band is playing at the speeds found on here, it is all the bassist can do to try and keep up, and he does so in fantastic form. The vocals are not the best in the genre but certainly create a nice voice for one to listen to. The vocals are primarily a string of snarls with gutturals occasionally used that sound more in line with traditional death metal vocals. Kem Khefa Kheshef gives a fair indication as to how the vocals on this release sound, with the rapid fire delivery of the lyrics and the signature style of vocals this band has found over the years. They are not fantastic but are a decent change from the bog standard death metal vocalists that focus on achieving as low a sound with their voice as possible.
The song craft is the meat of every album and on here it is of a fairly high standard. Whilst this can not quite square off with In Their Darkened Shrines, it is a more than competent collection of death metal songs. None of them on here are particularly bad, but none ever sound quite good enough to match up to some of the best compositions death metal has to offer. All of the members of the band slot their instruments together well to make a nice sound, topped off with a crisp production job. However, many of the songs sound far too long for what they are and often follow the same structure of using a few hyper fast, ultra technical riffs before leading into a slower section with dissonant chords that precedes a solo. The shorter songs are the better ones on the album, as Permitting The Noble To Descend To The Underworld shows off with its fast vocals and insane double bass drumming and varied riff set. The guitarists on this song sound as though they have overdosed on caffeine, playing so fast that the notes sound a blur but it is still an amazing song. The aforementioned Hittite Dung Incantation is another example of how much better the shorter songs work as opposed to, say, the eight and a half minute marathon 4th Arra Of Dagon, which spends too much time messing around with clean introductions and slightly more progressive structures to focus on providing ass-kicking death metal.
Those Whom The Gods Detest is another great, consistent installment in Nile's discography. The band are a titan of death metal that are absolutely relentless in their approach to creating some of the fastest, most technical work out there. They are a band that actually know how to structure their frenzy of guitar wankery, as opposed to bands such as Brain Drill who are all speed and no brains. No song on here is particularly bad, and therefore they are all recommended to those who enjoy extreme metal, and the shorter songs are really solid any a joy to behold. This is a fantastic release that is incredibly consistent and never lets up in its aggression from start to finish but has a few creases to iron out in that some of the songs are overly long, which has long been Nile's bane.