Rivers Of Nihil
The Conscious Seed of Light



by Oranges. CONTRIBUTOR (56 Reviews)
May 31st, 2014 | 14 replies

Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Can you teach a new dog old tricks?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, death metal was a very different genre. It was complex, brutal, and as extreme as music could get with any type of structure intact. But there was another strange aspect of the genre; bands such as Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, and Deicide managed to retain the traditional brutality needed for crafting such an abomination, but also made their music… memorable. Plenty of death metal fans will be able to recall the main riff from a song such as “Chapel of Ghouls” or “Infecting the Crypts”, and even non-metal fans might be able to remember the infamous Ace Ventura scene where Jim Carrey stagedives during a Cannibal Corpse set. Since the early-to-mid 2000’s, death metal has certainly become more advanced, technical, and progressive, but at a price. Few bands can inject the lively, energetic feel of old school death metal, and thus resort to making their music as complex as possible. As a result, few, if any new death metal bands are able to create a lasting impact with their music, and end up committing the worst crime in any form of music: Boring the listener. In a world where almost anything can be passed off as a good riff, there seems to be no hope for the next generation of death metal.

But even rarer is the event where a newer death metal band has both good songwriting skills, and is capable of showcasing their worth on a debut. And every once in a while, there is a band that comes around and manages to accomplish such a feat. Enter Pennsylvania newcomers Rivers of Nihil. Amongst an ocean of mundane, unoriginal technical death metal, Rivers of Nihil deliver an album that serves as both a tribute to classic death metal bands and a collection of the best elements from the modern scene.

The first thing that really stands out is the production. Instead of going for the raw, primitive sound of early death metal records or the crystal clear production of new tech-death albums, they opted with a mix of both, being both clear and well-mixed, but at the same time retaining the old school grittiness of traditional death metal, a theme that reoccurs throughout most of the album. Instrumentally is where the band shines most, with a combo of Morbid Angel-ish death metal riffs, technical leads, and impressive soloing. The drums and bass provide a stable back-up for the guitars, never venturing into dangerous or obnoxious territory and maintaining a strong presence throughout the record.

As for the vocals, for better or worse, you’ve probably heard it all before. The growls bear some resemblance to a young David Vincent or a poor man’s Nergal, which is definitely a pro. Surprisingly, the lyrics are interesting and thoughtful instead of pure gore or Satanism, which helps bring a little bit of depth to the music. Some standout tracks include “Birth of the Omnisavior”, “Mechanical Trees”, “Human Adaptation, and the fantastic “Rain Eater”.

While it may disappoint some that this album is essentially just a massive melting pot for death metal, both old and new, it comes off to others, including myself, as a new hope for the future of extreme metal. If Rivers of Nihil is able to create such a fantastic debut, who knows where the band will be able to go with future releases? With such a young lineup and copious amount of musical talent, there’s no telling what these guys can do.

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user ratings (69)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Contributing Reviewer
May 30th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Another day, another review. I tried to focus more on the overall feel of the music outside of the technical aspects by themselves. As always, feedback and constructive criticism welcome.

Digging: Kamelot - Haven

May 30th 2014


The guitar tone is absolutely horrendous.

May 30th 2014


"Can you teach a new dog old tricks?"

great summary dude!

"....remember the infamous Ace Ventura scene where Jim Carrey stagedives during a Cannibal Corpse set"

Oh damn! Jim Carrey reference!

Well-written review too! Hard pos!

Digging: Crooked Sun - Sick Songs

May 30th 2014


Sounds like a interesting band. Think the first two paragraphs could be somehow fused together as they both seem to cover the same ground and serve as an introduction to the album review. Either way, well written

Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2014


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I was surprised as to how this didn't have a review earlier.

June 1st 2014


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

it's a good album indeed. definite Morbid Angel-love on some songs, like the great groovy riffs in 'Soil and Seed', and the vocals are certainly Vincent-esque. having said that, the vocals have some strange almost distorted effect on which i don't like much. solid album overall which seemed to go under the radar. good review, dude, pos'd

Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2014


Very nice review, it seems I've missed the last few. You're improving with each review, and you keep reviewing shit I want to hear lol.

June 4th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

really sick album, PA representin hard

Digging: Dendritic Arbor - Romantic Love

September 11th 2014


I love how the intro is better than most of the rest of the music in complete contradiction to the rule of death metal intro tracks

September 11th 2014


This is a pretty cool album.

September 12th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

I fucking love these dudes. Jake is the nicest guy. They used to open for my old band at local shows in like 2008, fucking nuts how they blew up now.

September 13th 2014


What did they sound like back then?

I can't find any of their old stuff.

September 23rd 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

I like this lots

November 10th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

This kicks ass

Digging: Valley of the Sun - The Sayings of the Seers

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