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Nile – Annihilation Of The Wicked

I first heard Nile on a compilation CD. Even just the one track was enough to put me on notice. Holy hell, these guys are insanely fast and heavy and crazy. So, a whole album? I wasn’t so sure… I got this album for $5 and, truth to tell you, I’m really glad I did.

I’ve said it before, in these pages, that I don’t usually go for the Cookie Monster vocals, the black metal growl that’s usually completely unintelligible to me. To each their own. But the music is always riveting. So, bracing myself, I went into the breach!

Dusk Falls Upon The Temple Of The Serpent Of The Mount is a really excellent, eastern-tinged introduction track. It only lasts for about a minute, but it’s enough to lull you into a false sense that perhaps this band has changed things up a bit here…

And then Cast Down the Heretic knocks you backwards with the force of a blast furnace door being flung open in your face, and the album never lets up from there. The riffage on this album will peel back your skin. The drums are the pummeling of thousands of booted feet on your skull simultaneously. The vocals howl and growl like pissed-off, ranting demons. The bass rumbles the pit of your stomach in ways that are probably medically dangerous. This is monstrous music. Razor-sharp and lethal.

The BPM of most of these songs is insanely fast. This is extreme music, of this there’s absolutely no question.

There were several things I liked about this audio assault.

1) In the liner notes, you get full lyrics for each song. This is helpful to me, as I haven’t got the ear to be able to decipher what he’s saying.

2) Those lyrics are really, really something. There’s a whole Ancient Egyptian theme going on, tales of great men and temples and brutality. In the liner notes for each song, after the lyrics, there’s a short essay for each song covering what it’s about, and why they chose to include this or that tale, and what it means to them. The depth of work and the knowledge imbued makes this project all the more impressive.

3) Their song titles rule. With the likes of Lashed To The Slave Stick, Chapter Of The Obeisance Before Giving Breath To The Inert One, Spawn Of Uamenti, Sacrifice Unto Sebek, and the aforementioned intro track, even the song titles here are some seriously heavy, crazy stuff.

The Amazon description of this album is apt:

“’Annihilation of the Wicked’ teems with the blasting extremity and epic arrangements that have become Nile trademarks. Swarming guitars unleash razor sharp hooks, relentless drum blasts push human limits of endurance, and vicious vocals deliver strike after strike in a more concise, precise and balanced attack than ever before. Relapse. 2005.”

You wouldn’t think I’d enjoy this, but I truly did. I couldn’t listen to it all the time and maintain whatever shreds of my sanity that remain, but this was a unique listening experience and I’m glad I tried it. It’s certainly a long way from a lot of the other stuff I’ve heard, in the past couple of weeks, but even in that this album is its own victory. Brutally awesome.

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