Nile’s newest album “What Should Not be Unearthed” opens up like a blast of fire melting the face off a demon. They’re back heavier and faster than ever. This is quite a feat considering that Technical Death Metal has been on the way out recently. And many Death Metal bands have gone towards a more progressive or groove driven direction; which is understandable, because it’s often hard to be even heavier than what already exists, especially after Death Metal has been a genre for 20+ years.
But Nile delivers a fist full of death metal that punches you in the face with its heavy riffs, dynamic tempos, and liquid hot solos. Some of the riffs are familiar, but there are definitely some clever new licks thrown in. And of course, this album brings together what Nile fans love – fast, death metal riffs mixed with middle eastern instrumentals and scales.
KARL SANDERS DISCUSSES HIS INTENTIONS AND OPINION OF NEWEST ALBUM
In an interview with Metal Wani, Karl Sanders (Nile’s Vocalist and Guitarist) said he wanted to take a different direction than their last album, “At The Gates of Sethu.” Sethu was a very clean and technical album, written for studio perfection. But as Karl says, this newest album was all about the fans, and giving them what they want. It was also more about feeling than technicality. “Is it heavy, does it emotionally move me?”
Many interviews and reviews have already dealt with the technicalities of the music. In short, I will say in this album there are more mid-range growls than the low growls of the past (I can actually understand the lyrics!). The guitars and bass are also turned up a bit higher in volume than previous albums. As George Kollias (the drummer) is quoted as saying, “I can’t hear my fucking drums!” (Metal Wani). In terms of skill level, the song “What Should Not Be Unearthed” was apparently one of the hardest songs George Kollias has played in his life.
But what I’d like to delve into is the meaning behind the music – the vibe – the soul of the album so to speak. Topically, this is about things that shouldn’t be unearthed (yeah I know, the title says that, duh!)
The following was said about the artwork: The story behind the title goes deeply beneath everything we have already known, and we may not be ready to face. With the art I excavated the theories of an elder ancient civilization which could give the origin to ancient Egypt. That’s why you can find a new ingredient in the band imagery, pointing at some higher obscure intelligence, eroding and covered with time. (Nuclear Blast)
So there is definitely this theme of an eerie, and an ancient spirit being accidentally unleashed like some horror movie mummy.
But what no interview has discussed is the modern middle eastern implications as well.
CALL TO DESTRUCTION – OPENING ALBUM TRACK
The video for “Call to Destruction” very deliberately shows video footage of terrorist groups (like The Islamic State) destroying ancient relics. The lyrics very obviously point to this.
Call to destruction of the symbols of paganism
Grand monuments of idolatry
We must tear down these blasphemous edifices of heathenism
We must annihilate all that is pre Islamic
We must complete what the ‘Amr ibn al-‘As could not
We must tear down these relics of infidelity
Great and mighty works of blasphemy
Mountains of ancient heresy
Sacrilege encased in stone
From thousands of years before the Prophet…
So there is no mistaking that this is a theme (at least for that song).
Nile doesn’t just discuss the ancient Middle East, they also discuss the modern Middle East as well sometimes. For instance, in the “Those Whom The Gods” detest album, there was the song Kafir, which is the word for “heretic” or “unbeliever” in Islam.
So now it’s time for my conjecture (JUST MY OPINION, NOTHING OFFICIAL): I think the Islamic State’s destruction of ancient relics is relevant to many of the themes of other songs in the album. That may have been unintentional or intentional on their part (I don’t know). I just saw a theme: a theme in terms of unearthing or destroying relics of ancient history that should remain untouched. And the actions of IS/ISIS fit into that theme. “Rape of the Black Earth” discusses destroying entire blocs of history, objects that have not been disturbed for millennia, and temples of the Gods defiled. “Age of Famine” also references unheard of atrocities, noble women becoming slave and whores, and children being dashed against walls, and people turning against each other…hmm that sounds familiar to what’s in the news.
Now am I saying this is what this album is all about? No I am not. Karl himself said this wasn’t a concept album.
Or maybe the whole album was really just Karl describing his hatred of unearthing the precious Earth metals that create cell phones (see interview).(Or maybe that’s a joke…)
The last song is “To Walk Forth from the Flames Unscathed.” So perhaps this is somewhat of a hopeful ending to an album with several songs about the destruction and violation of ancient history.
Evil to Cast out Evil is a killer track. Check that out to get a further taste of the delicious mayhem that is Nile’s newest album.
EVIL TO CAST OUT EVIL
Genre: Death/Black Metal
Themes: Grimness, Darkness, Apocalypse,
Band Location: Bahrain
The name “Smoldering in Forgotten” was inspired by a Goatwhore song, “Upon This Deathbed of Cold Fire.” Smoldering in Forgotten is another great metal band to come out of the Middle East.
Their style was originally black metal, but now they’ve grown to encompass a large variety of styles: including death, thrash and even incorporating aspects of Arabic traditional music. Their dynamic, live performances have delighted audiences across the gulf.
The drummer Mohammed Ishaq says that it can be difficult to arrange a show in Bahrain and elsewhere in the region, because venues distrust metal bands and their often rambunctious fans. Yet metal in Bahrain has apparently come a long way since the band first formed in 2005.
Ishaq says, “Back then, the only way to see live metal was to watch the occasional covers band play at a hotel’s battle of the bands night, but since then, the number of metal bands in Bahrain has grown, as has the size of their creative ambition and their audiences.” (The National Arts and Lifestyle).I have no doubt that Smouldering in Forgotten’s dynamic live performances have helped the Bahrain metal scene grow over the years.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find much of their stuff on YouTube, but I believe the song I posted above is a good eerie and melodic introduction to their work.
“I believe in Satan
Who rend both heavens and earth
And in the Antichrist
His dearly misbegotten
The anguish ov our future
A Bastard spawned from lie
Born ov a harlot nun
Reign high in luxury
Aloft the kings ov man”
– Messe Noire Lyrics
Behemoth’s grim new video is a tribute to the Swiss surrealist H. R. Giger.
Giger is most famous for his role in the award winning visuals of the film Alien. He was named to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2013. Giger is well known for his depiction of human bodies and machines in a cold, interconnected (and often sexual) relationship. His works primarily feature nightmarish, demonic and alienesque landscapes.
The music video above is inspired by Giger’s surreal style, with its focus on large demonic doors, as well as Sharon’s attachment to an occult and demonic machine that drains her blood. The story depicted is the fall of an archangel and his triumphant rise as Lucifer.
I can definitely see much of Sharon Ehman’s own artistic bent in the video as well. Sharon Ehman of Toxic Vision is without a doubt a fucking genius and the top designer of metal and occult inspired style in today’s world.
The director of the video is Zev Deans of Panorama Programming.
Zev Deans said the following about this video: “The story of Lucifer’s fall, followed by his defiant rebirth, reminds me of Nergal’s own personal struggles of recent years. Like Lucifer, Behemoth has recovered from hardship, and they are stronger than ever. With Messe Noire, I was lucky enough to work with some of the most talented people in the genre. I owe the success of this project to the intense SACRIFICE that Sharon and the rest of team gave to this work.“
THE ART OF H.R. GIGER IN MOTION
(Sharon Ehman of Toxic Vision, as “Abysmal Queen”)
Genre: Death Metal
Location: Tampa, Florida
Themes: Satanism, Anti-Christian, Hatred
While I usually post some pagan/folk/black metal type stuff on this blog, sometimes it’s good to switch things up. And by that, I mean sometimes you just need an injection of simple, good ole brutal fucking death metal into your life, and what better than Tampa’s finest? As a death metal singer, Glen Benton can growl like a demon gargling with the pieces of glass he broke from a church window, and yet even with such intense growls, his words are still discernible – at least to my ear. The instrumentals are also powerful, but work tightly together like clockwork, and know just when to change things up to keep things interesting.
If you would like to watch a high contrast, black and white video of Deicide screaming sacrilegious lyrics while people dance with snakes and convulse on the floor, then this video is for you. If you need to find a video to show your local church minister, then this video is not for you – unless you go to the Church of Satan. Then that would probably be okay.
Major props to this guy. His throat sounds like it’s gonna need a bucket of Vaseline and lemon juice after such an ambitious vocal exercise. He even adds his own campy lyrics to represent each genre of metal. This video makes me realize there are too many “cores” in terms of types of metal. I’d also like to hear his take on Heavy, Power, and Doom Metal.
Hellfest is a massive show that was held on the weekend of the Summer Solstice in Clisson France, which featured a legion of the most dark and brutal bands to scourge the Earth. See the set list yourself. Every time I read about one of these major concerts in Europe, I have to punch myself in the face for not being born in Europe. In America we’re lucky to get a show that has even three of these bands in the same venue. But enough of my complaining, in the video above you can see the entire set of Behemoth. As someone who has seen Behemoth twice before, I can tell you that the energy of their albums is only magnified a hundred fold by their stage presence.
Much to my pleasure, the songs on the set list come from two of their best albums: the new album “The Satanist,” and the album that is known for the iconic Behemoth sound “Demigod.”
My Behemoth poster fell off the wall as I was listening to this – Behemoth is too heavy for my walls.
Anyone jumping out of their skin in excitement for when Behemoth’s The Satanist comes out on February 4th? Currently my skeleton is running around my apartment headbanging to this song. The Satanist is available for pre-order on Amazon, which means you can have the album shipped to your house the day it is released, listen to it first and gloat about it as all your friends stab themselves with envy.
With that aside, let me proceed to shamelessly gush about this song as if it were my teenage crush. In a previous post I discussed another song from this album: Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel. In that song, as well as the one above, I notice that Behemoth has adopted a more Black Metalish sound for this album. The guitar has somewhat of that chaotic all over the place Black Metal sound. I also love the tone they chose for the bass, it is haunting and melodic. It knows when to step into the spotlight when the rest of the music calms down, and hold things together with a bittersweet melody.
Really enjoying the two songs I’ve heard from The Satanist. Can’t wait to get my talons on the actual album.