Review Summary: Egyptian insanity.
Technical death metal is a tricky style of metal to pull off in this day and age. With production becoming more and more compressed and more and more bands seeming to favour technical wankery over interesting songwriting, the genre is overall quite a stale affair when looking at the 'bigger picture'. However, one anomaly to this generalisation has always been American death metal outfit, Nile. With their unique Eqyptian-tinged death metal aesthetic and dense, tight songwriting, Nile have always been considered one of the genres forerunners. This is not by mere chance either, consistency is another vital weapon in the bands arsenal, that has enabled them to gain a committed and dedicated fanbase over the years. From album to album, Nile have always upped their game; both in terms of songwriting and in the technical death metal genre as a whole. 2005's 'Annihiliation of the Wicked' is certainly a very powerful continuation of this said consistency.
As soon as the opener on this album begins ravaging your eardrums, you know you are in for some top draw musicianship. With regards to the drumming, it is some of the best you are likely to encounter in metal as a whole. Drummer George Kolias showcases incredible stamina and skill throughout the record; whether it be the inhuman blast beats or the stellar footwork, Kolias certainly serves the listener more variation than the average metal drummer would. Coupled with this ear-splitting drumming are some of the most ferocious riffs Nile have ever constructed. Fortunately, the riffs found throughout 'Annihilation' never feel recycled or rehashed, nor do they feel overly complicated or wank-fuelled. Instead, the riffs found here feel cohesive and are complemented extremely well due to the thick production the record boasts. The solos found on this LP are also some of the most intricate and complex to be found within the genre (the title track and 'Sacrifice Unto Sebek', in particular). These noodly solos intertwined with the ferocious, low end riffs certainly make for an entertaining and varied spectacle. Vocally, performances on this record distributed by Derek and Karl are not much to write home about, but they get the job done rather solidly.
If there is one fault to be found on this album, it's most definitely the length of some of these tracks. Shorter tracks such as 'Sacrifice Unto Sebek' and 'Lashed to the Slave Stick' pack in as much forceful brutality as they can, and to great effect. However, a couple of tracks found here do overstay their welcome ever so slightly. Songs such as 'User-Maat-Re' and 'Von...' feel ridiculously overblown towards the end of their respective run-times. This is simply due to the amount of jarring musical shifts each of these tracks take, they could easily have had a couple of minutes shaved off each. Having said this, the title track found here really does justify its 8+ minute length. Powerful atmosphere, crushing riffs, ludicrous drumming and bellowing vocals; the track really is a testament to Nile's more ambitious style of songwriting.
Minor flaws aside, 'Annihilation of the Wicked' is most definitely one of Nile's best releases. Even with regards to the album's production, 'Annihilation' is leaps and bounds above many of its rivals and sets a rather robust standard for others to follow. If you are a fan of technical/brutal death metal, you have probably heard this album at some point or another. On the contrary, if you are looking for a record to stretch out those neck muscles, then 'Annihilation' passes that test with flying colours.
Album Rating: 4.2/5