Nile - What should not be Unearthed review
As soon as I've heard that the new Nile album is going to be released on August the 28th I said to myself - " Well, Christmass is coming a bit earlier this year!" However, a new release of death metal veterans such as Nile always tends to make me a bit nervous because of the creativity crisis that a lot of bands are dealing with after years and years of releasing the same thing over and over again. Alas, seems like Nile never went through a creativity/identity crisis. - what they did was genuine from the start (and they are also a part of the class of '98, standing shoulder to shoulder with bands like Gorguts, Meshuggah or Cryptopsy) They are the ones who "rediscovered" the magic of once proud and highly advanced civilization of Ancient Egypt. This nearly obsessed interest with Eastern culture is what makes them step out from the rest of the metal bands easily. To some, this may seem as a limitation but leaving the "sword and sandals" framework would definitely mean the end of Nile for good and no one on this goddamn earth would like to see that.
What Should not be Unearthed is one of those albums that can be percieved from billion angles but my focus will be tied up to the musical, lyrical and historical content of this work of art. The opening riff of Call to Destructionoutgrew into a 50 minutes long sandstorm that buried like 80% of the metal world into piles of dust. A song with such a flow definitely must be placed as an opener! Arrangements on this one are just perfect! Killer riffs accompanied by godlike drumming... who needs more that that? In terms of lyrics, Call to Destruction is one of Nile's finest. The band exceeded the ancient framework in only 2 ocasions - in this one, and in a song called Kafir! (taken from Those Whom the Gods Detest album) which deals with islamization of some 19th century pagan tribe. But with Call to Destruction Nile raised the bar of controversity much higher! Basicaly, it's Karl Sanders' 2 dimes about ISIS attacks on everything that is not with the course of Quran. Destruction of Palmyra or ancient museum in Mosul is something really wicked, and I hope that Nile guys won't be needing these atrocities as an inspiration for lyrics in the future.
The preservation of human heritage
And the enduring achievements of Mankind
Are secondary to the will of Allah
We must eradicate all that is not in accordance
With the writings of the Messenger
We shall unwrite all human histories of Heathen origin
We must become as like as unto the prophet himself
Who beheaded hundreds of apostate Qurayza
We must cut off the head of the Sphinx
Timeless guardian of the ancient Pharaohs
Whose mere existence is a blasphemy unto Allah
On the other side, not many bands have the balls to write such explicit content. The first one that comes to my mind is Exodus' Children of a Worthless God. I mean,black metal bands look like pussies when compared with these 2 songs!!!
Negating the Abominable Coils of Apep is kinda Enduring the Eeternal Molestation of Flame part II. I even dare it to call it the weakest spot on the album along with Evil to Cast out Evil (It is pretty hard to say so, but overall awesomeness of this record demanded the black sheep to be pointed out) Liber Stellae Rubiae seems to be the perfect example of a groovy and eastern-scales based riffage. The coolest thing about this one is a unexpected minipause and non-traditional arangements. But with no doubt In the Name of Amun is one of the best songs on the record, closely followed by What Should not be Unearthed. The former is flawless - awesome intro, both fast picking and melodic riffs. I would definitely list this one in top 10 death metal songs of all time!!! Things are getting even better when the Nile guys slow it down - Dallas Toller Wade's masterful chant really conveys the brutality of ancient warfare. The lyrics deal with one of the Egypt's greatest rulers - Tuthmosse III who crushed the rebellion of his vasals in present day Isreal and Syria. Funny thing is that Egyptians would chop off the palms or genitals of their enemies (depending of their ethnic origins) and then give it to their ruler, demanding gifts in return for their loyalty.
I Thutmose III have brought doom upon the Rebels
Dicious and pitiless destruction hae I inflicted upon the vanquished
I have slaughtered the captives
Slain the wounded, enslaved their women, massacred their populace
Killed their people by the tens of thousands
I have hacked up their lands, desolated their towns
Cast fire into their dwellings Caid settlements to waste
I have made mounds of their cities
Cut down their fields of grains, felled their trees
Every resource of life have I denied them
Their resettlement can never take place
I have destroyed them utterly at the Word of Amon Ra
What Should not be Unearthed is the real deal. This one goes with a lot of twists and turns - when you hear these time signatures, you'll know what I'm talking about! With no doubt, Karl Sanders' vocals are bringing brutality to a next level!!! His guttural voice reminds me of some sort of a fiend that can tear your soul and shadow apart! Accent on the second half of the song is put on ambiental noise and spooky background chants. Creepy stuff!! Now, The Age of Famine is clearly the slowest song on the record and it's absolutely a killer!!! for Those riffs are just mindblowing!! The next one, Evil to Cast out Evil can be described as a typical death metal song, especially in terms of structure with melodic solo atypical of the Nile guys. The lyrics are basicaly about the misfortunes of mankind brought by an ancient demon called Pazuzu. Watching the lyrics video of this song on youtube, I realised that Pazuzu is equvalent of Ancient Greek Apollo . I mean come on, they were copy-paste civilization!!!
Rape of Black Earth is a death metal brutality par excellance with awesome melodic parts as the song is approaching its end. This one is about greed and anarchy that caused Egypt to collapse. Some of the lyrics are relevant for both the ancient and modern epoch - With this line "Thieves ransack antiquities, cutting monuments and statues into small parts to sell upon the black market" Karl Sanders said it all! And that's a warning for years to come! Finally, the album is closed by To Walk Forth From Flames Unscathered. I just can't get enough of it! That groovy part followed by Karl Sanders on vocals + melodic right after is eargasmic!!! Not to mention the lyrical awesomeness of this piece which deals with Egyptian afterlife struggles which was essential to the ancients. Goddamn, I finally realised that To Walk Forth from Flames Unscatered, In the Name of Amun and What Should not be Unearthed are the holy trinity of this record.
The production of this record is like 10 times better than At the Gates of Sethuwhich was too steril for my taste. We should thank Neil Kernon, the producer for that! You may also notice that Dallas Toller Wade's vocals have the leading role on this record. Karl's monstrous gutteral approach is almost with no exception put in slower, groundshaking parts of songs and these tiny details show how sophisticated these guys are in terms of song-making and arrangements. Speaking of songwriting, it's cool to point out that Karl wrote almost every song (except for Liber Stellae Rubiae, Evil to Cast out Evil and The Rape of Black Earth). George Collias' artillery sounding 300 mph double bass attack is something that makes him easily recognised (I don't know his exact bpm level on this record but who cares anyways?) He is the one who within a blink of an eye, transforms a song in a creepy sonic titan!!!!!
Herodotus once said that Egypt is a gift of Nile. Well, it's quite the opposite these days. I may be prone to overexaggerating but What should not be Unearthed is with no doubt one of the greatest metal albums of all time worthy of the pantheon of the Egyptian Gods!!!! I guess they are listening to the new Nile record in The Burning Pits of Duat!!!!