This post got delayed a little, but better late than never...
Nile – At The Gate Of Sethu
Nuclear Blast, July 2012
On their seventh album, Nile has deviated somewhat from their usual style of death metal and stirred up some controversy in the process. Most of the complaints I’ve heard center around the heavy use of a shouted or barked vocal style in place of the typical death growl. Longtime fans will certainly find this to be a shock, and I can sympathize with any disappointment. However, it’s not something that ruins the album and actual helps some of the songs sound more brutal. Everything else you expect form Nile is otherwise here – blinding, technical riffs, massive drumming, and a touch of Middle Eastern sounds. After an acceptable start to the album, things kick into high gear on the third song, “The Inevitable Degradation of Flesh”, followed by “When My Wrath Is Done” which features some some, epic parts. A brief interlude is next, then “The Gods Who Light Up The Sky At The Gate Of Sethu” completely levels everything with a crushing rhythm layered underneath a simply guitar melody. This is clearly the best track of the album, and the remainder settles back in suitable but unremarkable fashion. At The Gate Of Sethu isn’t Nile’s best (a tall order considering their remarkable catalog), but it’s not the botched album that you may have been led to believe. If you’ve been put off by this release I’d urge you to give it another listen; fans of Nile will certainly want to have this.