Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed (2015)

Nile - What Should Not Be Unearthed (2015)

Nile’s latest begins topical, with a blastfest themed after the recent years of strife in the Middle East. This is going to date the album some years from now, but from a commercial stance it’s still an excellent idea, certain to create buzz and boost the band’s reputation. They take a pot shot at a common enemy, and continue their legacy of Egyptian mythological themes in standard, professionally produced “brutal” death metal. All in a day’s work for the deathpop industry.

Surprisingly, I am not rehashing my thoughts on Infernus from a few days back like I expected I would when I first began researching this recording. On What Should Not Be Unearthed, Nile contributes to the corpus of accessible mainstream death metal in a broadly similar fashion to their Rutanian brethren, but in a fashion I find far less obnoxiously flat. It seems that Nile’s members have a better grasp of pop songwriting (and importantly, how to incorporate the instrumentation and technique of death metal into such formulas) that could potentially earn them enormous amounts of money if they were to sell their service as songwriters.

Nile’s Egyptologist trappings are one of their big gimmicks and therefore makes necessary discussion whenever they are brought up. The ideas certainly permeate the lyrics, but rarely go beyond that, with the notable exception of the occasional short filmic “Egyptian”/Middle Eastern interludes. There is nothing I can say for or against their authenticity, but few if any of the musical ideas they present in these asides make their way into the metal side of the songwriting. The constant usage of various musical scales and modes, though, might appear to be missing link for listeners not used to the general chromaticism and/or tonal experimentation of your average death metal band. The idea occasionally turns into a Billboard-style pop hook (see the intro to “Evil To Cast Out Evil” for an obvious example), though, and that’s probably good enough for Nuclear Blast.

Dwelling too much on Nile’s gimmick, though, is like only eating the plastic topper off an extremely sugary wedding cake. What Should Not Be Unearthed hasn’t got much in the way of coherent song structures or direction, and that’s why you’ll probably forget about it after a few spins. Judging from the content here, the band members understand on a basic level that they need to vary their parameters throughout a song in order to not come across as a vague buzzing sound. When they try to go beyond basic pop formulas, though, they collapse into stereotypical alternating blasting sections and breakdowns and occasionally make me giggle by, for instance, pitch bending a guitar harmonic chord at the beginning of the title track. It’s nominally better than no variation, but it’s going to take a lot more thought and organizational work than what’s on display here to write intelligent tracks.

Ambition is nothing without preparation, though, and Nile remains strongest (and commercially strongest) as musicians and songwriters when they stick to their basic deathpop. In that regard, What Should Not Be Unearthed is a partial success, and the rest probably… should not be unearthed.

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Gorrenje / Infamous – Italian-German Black Metal Brotherhood (2017)

By now established as one of few post-nineties black metal acts worth saving for posterity, Infamous returns with yet another joint effort production on the Hammerbund label. Joining the bill is the somewhat amusingly christened Gorrenje, a band previously unknown around these quarters but apparently of a slightly older vintage than their Sardinian counterpart. As has earlier been the case, Infamous proves to be vastly superior to their collaborators and is therefore the one most worthy of our attention.
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Whispers of the Kábeiroi

Extending further into the past, and lying in deeper recesses of mystery, are the cults and legends of the ancient Pelasgians. Their symbols, gods and myths included precede, and in a way bring forth the Hellenic [1], while remaining in a relative obscurity even when the cults were known to be active [2]. Among these obscure cults was that of the Kábeiroi (a.k.a. Cabiri), a group of unknown but powerful beings tracing lineage to Rhea —The feminine Titan of Saturn [3]— and to the vast Sea [4].
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Sadistic Metal Reviews: Flavor of the Week Metal Pt 2: Death Metal

Last month we ran the first  of a two part series on flavor of the week metal subgenres, focusing soley on black metal. The plan was to release a second edition a week later, but the Tulio Baars DDOS attacks prevented that from happening. That is, until now…
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Wolvhammer – The Monuments of Ash & Bone 2018

As with anything labeled “USBM,” it is an inevitable that an experienced metal fan will approach this release with caution regarding just how flannelly, how post rock, how try-hard and yet how vulnerable it is.  With a cliched moniker that clashes together a couple of clumsy tropes to echo the oil and water mixture that Americans and black metal suspend as, Wolvhammer presents itself and its material as confidently confrontational so the saccharine despair of modern takes on the vulturized genre are initially somewhat absent, but the juvenile approach does not in its stead give credence to the overbearing impudence on display.

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SAD! MetalSucks Flagrantly Plagiarizes Death Metal Underground

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but such is not true when it’s done by a fat, zit-faced loser with fedora tattoos who calls himself “Emperor Rhombus.”  Because right now, plastered on the MetalSucks front page at the time of this writing, is a ridiculously obvious rip off of an editorial I did just a month ago.  Seriously, the damn thing is worse than when Nile blatantly stole the melody from the Candlemass song “Well of Souls” in their “Unas Slayer of the Gods” mess of a track.  Hell, it’s even worse than that top hat wearing Dimmu Borgir keyboardist replicating the piano from Magnum’s “Sacred Hour” and using it as the intro for Stormblast. But I guess that when your life is regulated to creeping out young girls at Selena Gomez concerts with your virgin-tier Electric Wizard shirt, you’re bound to spend much of your days fantasizing about being a true alpha badass like Brock Dorsey.

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Slugdge – Esoteric Malacology (2018)

When you have nothing of substance to fuel the creative urge necessary for musical catharsis, the artistically bankrupt are forced into invention. Here, the muse for this act is a fictional slug overlord that has somehow provided a modern metal band with enough tongue-in-cheek material to spew out four records so far, so at the very least you can’t accuse Slugdge of not sticking to their guns. Bad ideas however tend to foster quicker and more permanent results, and I’m failing to see the inspiration of this act yielding anything further than superficial amusement, so perhaps this is the perfect modern metal product seen from start to finish.

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