Without any risk of wanting to rush in and look foolish and uneducated about my death metal, I would say that Nile are undoubtedly one of the best bands the genre has on offer today. Along with Deicide and Decapitated, they are a band that knows no compromise, only to move their full fronted brutality to new places with each release. 2009's Those Whom the Gods detest continued to prove alongside the likes of Black Seeds of Vengeance and Annihilation of the Wicked that death metal can actually be a musical substance of genuine class and wonder, while Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus preferred to just blast beat their way into oblivion. On their seventh release At the Gates of Sethu, they slam back with their intense levels of knowledge about the darker side of Ancient Egyptian mysticism, history, art and religion and their fiery brand of death metal also remains as intense.
Certainly At the Gates of Sethu has no shortage of full fronted brutality. From the opening of Enduring the Eternal Molestation of Flame the trembling riffage of Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade, a continuously solid guitar duo sound as tight as ever. There's much more emphasis put on the faster, more intense element of Nile's music, with the speed and technicality of The Inevitable Degradation of Flesh and The Gods Who Light Up the Sky at the Gates of Sethu fueled by pure rage with greater influences from thrash bands. There's a lot of moments reminiscent to Slayer and Deicide.
Of course, one of the primary elements of Nile's music is the drumming of George Kollias, who many have called the best drummer in the world. At the Gates of Sethu really showcases his drumming skills. The blast beats of The Fiends Who Come to Steal the Magick of the Deceased and Natural Liberation of Fear Through the Ritual Deception of Death and uncontrollable pace which also displays a high level of control across the album that effortlessly proves his high reputation as a drummer spectacular.
This performance is great throughout the album but as you make your way through sludgy death metal riffs rooted in total doom and Egyptian grimness. However, you will be hard pressed to find something truly unique to this album. Having compared it to the stellar works of Those Whom the Gods Detest this album definitely falls short of previous releases with little single standout moments and by the time you get to the likes of When My Wrath is Done, you start to find little that makes it exciting and well, having heard those riffs that try and replicate classical Egyptian music amongst far better pieces of music causes it to lose it's tenure.
So, while Nile prove themselves to be a continuously brutal band on At the Gates of Sethu, there's little overall substance on this effort compared to previous releases and with little other highlights and tremendous riffage, there's little to redeem this album of being another average death metal release, just like Cannibal Corpse's Torture and Dying Fetus' Reign Supreme. Mindless brutality that one can't really care for.
Nile's At the Gates of Sethu is out out now via Nuclear Blast.