Rivers of Nihil
Monarchy


3.0
good

Review

by Brett Tharp STAFF
October 11th, 2015 | 28 replies


Release Date: 08/21/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A waning sun with just enough bite left to stay above the horizon.

As an album, Rivers of Nihil’s sophomore record Monarchy executes as a bit of a slow build. It’s not exactly one in a stylistic sense, with the sounds and themes progressively building up to a huge climax, but of quality. Monarchy feels like the band layered each track one after another from worst to best across its runtime, oddly enough. After an atmospheric intro that admirably sets up a strong tone, the early run of tracks are suspiciously by the numbers. Hell, even the very first riff is lacking in edge. It’s not that any are particularly bad, they just offer up ideas already touched on by many other modern tech/prog death metal bands (Job For A Cowboy’s Sun Eater is clearly an influence in a few ways). The marginally stale and deathcore-ish vocal performance doesn’t really add much flavor either. Each song is instrumentally competent and doesn’t usually lack for energy. However, it lacks places to really latch onto until the back half of Monarchy rolls around. Granted, the bass noodling in “Sand Baptism” is memorable, as is the acoustic opening to “Dehydrate”, but it does shine a light on certain consistency issues when you realize that the best tracks are at the very end, forcing the listener to wade through the standard tracks to get to the above average ones.

The title track is the best place to point to as the moment Rivers of Nihil kick into overdrive. It’s where the band takes a step back to let their progressive ambitions take hold and let some more measured songwriting into the mix. In particular, the final three tracks are pure metallic powerhouses. “Terrestria II: Thrive” is a gorgeous instrumental continuation of the opener from their debut, and the centerpiece of the trio, “Circles in the Sky”, is possibly their finest track to date by indulging every side of the band (whether melody, prog, or furious death metal). “Suntold” falls a bit short in its closing moments due a vaguely tacked on ambient outro, but the rest of the track is pure gold. In essence, too many early sluggish songs drag the album below the standard set by their powerful debut, before the backyard highlights knock the quality back up. It’s not wrong to say that the band lacked a certain identity on their debut, but its ability to creatively cherry pick from various aspects of death metal, and extreme metal in general, made it stand out to a certain degree. Monarchy draws too narrowly from tech and prog alone, and comes off as a bit stale. However, despite these drawbacks, there’s enough here to please fans of the aforementioned styles and a bit to impress people looking for something more.



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user ratings (150)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 11th 2015


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ty to explosiveoranges for helping clean this up a bit

Beardog
October 11th 2015


1436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Love this album, they should incorporate more progressive elements cause that's the part I love most. Love the bass parts though, they have an amazing bass player

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
October 11th 2015


4408 Comments


yeah, not gonna bother with this

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
October 11th 2015


12739 Comments


good review man posd



Digging: The Roots - Things Fall Apart

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 11th 2015


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ty

Forest159
October 11th 2015


52 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, pos'd. Definitely disagree though. Love the album. I think it's a step up from their debut. Also, while I agree that the album just continually builds and gets better with the last half better then the first, I think you're a little to harsh on it. I feel it kicks off strong and then just builds momentum with every track culminating in those last three epic songs. Agreed on the tacky outro though. Feels very out of place and like it was just dropped in randomly.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 11th 2015


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

idk, the first half just doesn't wow me like i thought it would. it actually took me a while to realize how good the back half is because i lose so much interest early on

KILL
October 11th 2015


80548 Comments


the jester race?

Forest159
October 11th 2015


52 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can agree with that. As much as I love the album, the first half definitely doesn't have a wow factor. But I still feel like it's great in its own right, and doesn't hinder the album at all. Just sets it up for when those more proggier moments come in to easily wow you, which I definitely think works. That back half is exceptional.

bloc
October 11th 2015


41589 Comments


Glad to see this getting a review but that rating pains me haha

Looooooove this album and it totally surprised me by how good it was. Agreed that it's a huge step up from their first album.

Digging: Yellow Magic Orchestra - Solid State Survivor

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 11th 2015


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hey a 3 isn't thaaaaat harsh

Panzerchrist
October 12th 2015


290 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think your summary is a little too abstract, but the rest of your review is well-worded. I don't agree with it, but you make a good case.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 12th 2015


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thought I might be stretching a bit with that summary yeah, thx tho

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 12th 2015


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh yea didnt notice that

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 12th 2015


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

that wouldve hurt my feelings enough that i would probably log out of this site and never return

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 12th 2015


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

futures said so, better do it now bye bye

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 12th 2015


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i may need a bread crumb trail...

Cygnatti
October 12th 2015


31486 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

garbage album

Launch
November 16th 2015


28 Comments


Suppose the only tracks I liked off the Conscious Seed of Light were Rain Eater and Mechanical Trees, would it be worth checking this out

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2015


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

check the last three tracks if anything



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