Devil’s Review: Nile – At the Gate of Sethu

Since my awakening of death metal in it’s varied forms over the past few months I’ve voraciously started soaking up as many bands as I can that have a distinguished reputation in the genre as I can. Nile is one such band. I had heard the name and knew of the reputation but in more picky days I couldn’t really get into them due to my incessant closed mindedness about certain types of vocals. Guttural incomprehensible growl vocals kill it for me most of the time especially when lyrics are crafted so well by some bands. What drew me back to giving Nile another chance is that I’m a sucker for bands that incorporate themes to their music and in Nile’s case it is the Egyptian mythology along with the style of music that is blended with just brutal and heavy songs. With that said I had only really been able to enjoy and appreciate some of their efforts (2002’s In their Darkened Shrines, 2007’s Ithyphallic, and 2009’s Those Whom the Gods Detest) for various reasons but I’m not going to bore you on why. Let’s just say that my appreciation for Niles work came at the right time as the latest release, At the Gate of Sethu, is about to be unleashed in a couple of weeks so I was looking forward to another great release to keep the momentum going. Or so I thought.

Just when I finally got what the buzz was about with Nile , ATGOS turned it all upside down. Their reputation had been about being one of the front runners of tech death with punishing tracks, stellar production and just a solid bundle of face melting metal with educated historical themes that would transport you to another time. What you get with ATGOS is far from that description. While the themes and sound effects are still present, the most noticeable aspects that are sorely lacking are ironically what is supposed to be Niles strong suits. The first track ‘Enduring The Eternal Molestation Of Flame’ starts off promising with typical Nile blastbeats and almost cinematic power chords and familiar growls only to start up with theatrical, melodramatic, and cheesy delivery of lyrics that I would have expected from lesser bands. While earlier I did say that guttural incomprehensible lyrics were a turn off most of the time, I’m also not a fan of croaked shouting vocals either and on Sethu there is an abundance of this. So much so that the familiar Karl Sanders growling vocal style is virtually pushed back into the background in favor of this “I’m going mad and have screamed myself hoarse’ style that just leaves me rolling my eyes. That’s just from the first track. It gets worse as the album goes along.

The second track is ‘The Fiends Who Come To Steal The Magick Of The Deceased’ and if you haven’t already heard the release of this you may or may not be in for a shock. This song continues the shouting but another problem surfaces with this album as a whole. The production is subpar. The only thing you can truly hear among everything going on in this track is the drums. Doublebass and blastbeats and high hats oh my. What is lacking is any type of real cohesive or technical riffs. Where is the tech? Such a pedestrian song compared to everything I had already heard by Nile in the past.

‘The Inevitable Degradation of the Flesh’ is a cacophonic disaster of sound for the first two minutes and then tries to make up for it by having some halfway decent soloing at the 2 minute mark then goes back to the all over the place mess that the song truly is. ‘When My Wrath is Done’ has some epic and promising spots in it most likely due to the fact I can actually hear some bass in the song but the song is too short and just screams that more could have have been done with it. ‘Slaves of Xul’ is an interlude track at 1 minute 24 seconds long and is highlighted by what I’m assuming is supposed to be creepy slave drivers speaking in a foreign tongue but actually comes off as a section of a haunted house you’d find At Universal Studios.’The Gods Who Light Up The Sky At The Gate Of Sethu’ is I’m assuming the title track because I’m observant that way but is highlighted by George Kollias drumming and more of the same schizophrenic rambling and raving vocals that is the hallmark of this album.

Really my favorite part of At the Gate of Sethu is the less then 2 minute instrumental ‘Ethno-Musicological Cannibalisms’ which employs sitars and is probably the best produced and best played song on this whole album. Look, I’m being harsh on this album and I believe I have every right to be. There is a certain level of expectation that needs to be met by certain bands and this one falls well short of that. Weak guitar tones, overpowering drums, haphazard riffs, non existent bass, and schizophrenic shouting vocals and noises is something I’d expect to hear from an unknown avant garde metal band trying to be heard. Not from what is supposed to be a world class death metal outfit like Nile. I truly believe that At the Gate of Sethu is going to be a polarizing album that people are either going to hate, be disappointed in, or come to actually love. I fall under the disappointed moniker. When you have newer bands like Allegaeon and 7 Horns 7 Eyes blowing me away with how good they are and a band like Nile sounding amateurish in comparison there is a problem. Fix it Karl, whether by remixing the instruments and redoing the vocals on this or by making the followup the kick ass album everyone expects, but fix it please. Expect release of At the Gate of Sethu on June 29th via Nuclear Blast.

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12 responses to “Devil’s Review: Nile – At the Gate of Sethu

  1. Wat are you talikning about?This albums vocals and production is not very good? If anything the 2 aspects thats make this album better than the rest are the production and the vocals. You obviously dont have a clue about what your talking about when it comes to death metal. Iv’e listened to ATGOS several times already and its absolutely outstanding! from the riffing- george’s drums-solos-vocals-production- its great! Check yourself first before spewing anything out- Obviously you’re still closed-minded and no offense man but seriously, if anything Nile is still producing amazing Death metal 20 years into it. If your critism actually made sense I wouldn’t even have bothered posting anything here because I don’t mind critism that is based on facts instead of close-minded opinions. For instance Ithyphallic, the production wasn’t very good because the bass didn’t cut in well with the guitars therfore making it sound a bit watered down. That is a fact not an opinion. To say sumthing is not very good when in reality is very good just doesn’t make sense to me

    • So in other words you love everything Nile does and don’t like to see anyone speak ill of them. That’s cool. I didn’t want to give a negative review. This isn’t exclusively a review site so when we do one it’s typically on something we’re interested in and if we’re disappointed we’re going to talk about why we are disappointed. What I do take issue with in your comments is that aggravating notion that reviews are supposed to be based on facts. No they’re not. They’re one persons opinions based on what they like and expect out of something. You like the production and the vocals and I didn’t. You didn’t like Ithyphallic’s production yet I think it’s superior to this album. You’re not right and neither am I because our tastes are subjective. Does that make more sense to you?

      And for the record, I don’t need to check myself to you or anyone else. Veiled threatening insults get you nowhere and just make you look like a butthurt jackass.

  2. I do not mind people speaking bad about the band at all- you can say whatever the hell it is you want to say, and for the record nothing is perfect so to say that Ive loved everything NILE has done thus far is incorrect. I must apologize for coming in agressively. Honestly, what really bothers me though is when someone posts ignorant non-sense like you just have. Yea we all are entitled to our own opinions but to cross the line like you just have. “Amateurish”_Saying Ithyphallics production is better than ATGOS’s is insane The band and the people have even come out and said that Ithyphallics production was shitty-watered down. And to say ‘The inevitable’ is a mess, is just an insane thing to say about a great song! The production IS their best thus far and vocals are killer! You do need to check yourself because you are absolutely wrong about ATGOS_ If you don’t like it it’s OK to post critism about it and have your opinion about it. But when your opinions happen to be closed-minded and “amateurish” It just proves how people shouldn’t even bother with people who spew out non-sense.

  3. I’d just like to come in here and say that this is the best review I’ve read of this album so far, and with easily the most actual musical description. Pretty much agree with you and I’m glad someone took this rather damp album on honestly instead of just vaguely praising it like all the other reviews up so far.

  4. I’m not a huge Nile fan. I rarely listen to them, and I much prefer other well established Death metal, Grindcore, DeathGrind etc bands. However, you’re opinion(and it is in fact, just that) is profoundly wrong….imo lol. Ive listened to the two bands you used a reference points in your review, they’re nothing like Nile, stylistically very different. Bad comparison. If these are what you’re using to compare, then you are clearly not very well versed in death metal, and shouldnt be reviewing this album. Especially given the fact that you not only criticize, but go on to tell him(them) to “fix it”. Fix what? I’ll tell you what, your amateurish metal palate, thats what. Now dont get butt-hurt, you just need to listen to a few more bands before you take on a band with such musical and lyrical wizardry as Nile, they’re beyond your ability to appreciate.

    Note: A better comparison would have been New records from Dying Fetus, Cattle Decapitation, Six feet Under and of course, Cannibal Corpse. Of these new releases, I highly recommend Cattle Decap’s “Monolith Of Inhumanity”, not only their best by far, one of the best Death metal albums Ive heard in a long time.

    • The fact you say you rarely listen to Nile in your first sentence invalidates everything else in your comment. You know nothing about my taste in death metal or metal in general and the fact that you think comparing CC and Six Feet Under to Niles body of work is laughable. I used my examples due to the structure and complexity of the music which is what Nile WAS known for. None of the those technical aspects were present in this album and in fact focused more on theatrics which is something bands like Dying Fetus (though I acknowledge the similarities) have never done.
      I swear death metal snobs are almost as bad as prog nerds.
      Next.

      • 1: My lack of fanboyism over Nile doesnt invalidate my opinion, I respect Nile, theyre incredible musicians, Ive listened to every one one their albums, just not a ton, theyre not my favorite band.

        2: I know why you compared them, that was obvious, they’re still bad comparisons.

        3: I am no where near a Death metal snob lol. I dont claim to know everything, but I have been listening to it for over 10 years now….along with thash, prog, grind, power, deathcore, metalcore, bluegrass, rock, alternative, pop, etc etc etc. My music taste is very eclectic, very open minded. My opinion, you know very little about death metal, and your review is a prime example of that.

      • Fine. I think your “knowledge” of death metal is suspect as well as I already stated in my earlier reply. And honestly knowledge of death metal is irrelevant when it comes to listening to something and liking it or not liking it. But Here is my question for you. Have you listened to the new album yet? If you have, how did you get it when it doesn’t release for at least another two weeks now? If you haven’t, come back when you do. I’ll care about your perspective more then. Take care.

  5. @Rob_Liz666:disqus

    Leaked a couple days ago.

    Ive listened to it, it’s very good. Like I said I would rather listen
    the new Cattle Decap, Dying Fetus etc, but it is a good album. Your
    knowledge IS RELEVANT when youre literally telling them to fix
    it, liking it or not, fine, that’s fair….but…..again, fix what? lol. I’m not the one sounding like a snob, now
    am I.

      • The quality of the songs far out weigh the somewhat lacking, but not as abysmal as you or the other reviewer think the production of the album. Is And Justice For All not a great album despite it’s lack of low’s? No, because the songs are awesome. Same applies here, though this album couldn’t touch justice.

        Anyways man, in the words of the great “the dude” its just our opinions man!!!!

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