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August 2007
Released: 2007, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Mortuai

South Carolina's Nile have once more emerged from the catacombs beneath their pyramidial burial chambers to let loose another assault upon the ears of those initiated into their cult of brutal technical death metal worshippers. Once again, listeners are treated to a barrage of explosive blast beat-driven riffs, triple deathgrunts belting out tales of death, war, and horror, insane guitar leads, and of course plenty of Egyptian horns for atmospheric effect. 2007's ITHYPHALLIC continues to walk the same blood-and-sand-stained path of 2005's ANNIHILIATION OF THE WICKED, effectively playing it safe with little in the way of experimentation - but playing it 'safe' for Nile is still treading where few, if any, others dare to tread.

Neil Kernon is in the production booth once again, and once again has done an fine job at condensing the band's sound onto disc, though he seems to have brought the drums and vocals more to the forefront and cut down on the heavy layering of guitars. Wonder of wonders, Nile has now actually had the same drummer for two albums in a row, and on ITHYPHALLIC, George Kollias further cements his right to maintain his position on the drumstool, delivering a punishing, confident performance from beginning to end. Sanders and Toler-Wade are terrifying on lead breaks and technical riffs as always, and the death vocals, while every bit as vicious as on prior releases, seem to be just a bit more comprehensible to the unaided ear. While for the most part Nile sticks to its full throttle assault on the senses, there are some moments of interesting experimentation like the string arrangements on "The Infinity Of Stone" or the great warchant at the end of the album's best track, "Eat Of The Dead." Other highlights are many, from the brutal Lovecraft-inspired tale told in "As He Creates So He Destroys" to the furious, all-out assault of "Papyrus Containing The Spell To Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who Is In The Water" (continuing Nile's tradition of presenting a song with a title which takes longer to say than the song does to play) to the ten-minute epic closer "Even The Gods Must Die." While the remaining tracks are not weak by any stretch of the imagination, there seems to be a general sense of deja vu about many of them, with a goodly number of the riffs and by-now-all-too-familiar Egyptian overtones sounding somewhat recycled from previous albums.

In the end, ITHYPHALLIC is an excellent release which suffers only from the 'more of the same' syndrome and perhaps a feeling they were holding back a bit for some reason - perhaps due to their label jump to Nuclear Blast? There is no monstrous standout cut like "Unas, Slayer Of The Gods," nor is there much in the way of real innovation or new territory ventured into. The bottom line is this is a Nile album, which means it's amazing...but unfortunately, it's also "just another Nile album," not the world-destroying monster some might have hoped for. Highly recommended for existing fans and death metal afficianados, but unlikely to win over any other new converts.
Track Listing

1. What Can Be Safely Written
2. As He Creates So He Destroys
3. Ithyphallic
4. Papyrus Containing The Spell To Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who Is in The Water
5. Eat of the Dead
6. Laying Fire Upon Apep
7. The Essential Salts
8. The Infinity of Stone
9. The Language of the Shadows
10. Even the Gods Must Die
11. As He Creates So He Destroys (Instrumental, Digipak bonus track)
12. Papyrus Containing The Spell To Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who Is In The Water (Instrumental, Digipak bonus track)


Karl Sanders - Guitars, Vocals
Dallas Toler-Wade – Guitar, Bass, Vocals
George Kollias - Drums
Chris Lollis – Additional Vocals

Next review: » Nile - Ithyphallic
Previous review: » Nile - In Their Darkened Shrines

September 2007
Released: 2007, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Kyle Schroer

I made a huge mistake. I never listened to Nile's last album, Annihilation of the Wicked. I didn't think they were still making good music after three albums. I loved the first two releases, but after In Their Darkened Shrines, I was getting a bit bored. The song lengths were becoming ridiculous and none of the riffs stayed in my brain. These critiques seem moot now, because ITHYPHALLIC is one hell of an album. All of the band's trademarks appear, but somehow with a reinvigorated sense of song-writing that holds my attention. The majority of the tracks stay below the five minute mark, probably one of the major reasons I enjoy this album so much. Karl, Dallas, and George change things up when necessary, perhaps understanding that dynamics are more important than self-indulgence.

Opening tack "As He Creates, So He Destroys" starts the album at full-speed and barely lets up during its four-minutes. At the 2:50 mark, the bands starts an awesome chorus that is slightly slower but memorable and heavy as hell. "What May Safely Be Written" is the second-longest track on the album, and the first to incorporate the Egyptian horns and instruments heard throughout the album. It incorporates a variety of speeds and riffs (check out that one around three minutes in!) that should please people that enjoy the various facets of the band. The band uses a great odd-time riff at the beginning of "Papyrus Containing the Spell to Preserver Its Possessor Against Attacks from He Who is in the Water". Yeah, that's the real title, showing that the band has not lost its (sometimes ridiculous) flair for mythology. The chorus for this track is another heavy hitter as well.

If you were like me and thought this band wasn't putting out anything worth listening to, make sure you check out ITHYPHALLIC, it's sure to be one of the best death metal releases this year and an excellent statement from a band that I thought peaked years ago.
Track Listing

1 - What Can Be Safely Written
2 - As He Creates So He Destroys
3 - Ithyphallic
4 - Papyrus Containing The Spell To Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who Is In The Water
5 - Eat Of The Dead
6 - Laying Fire Upon Apep
7 - The Essential Salts
8 - The Infinity Of Stone
9 - The Language Of The Shadows
10 - Even The Gods Must Die


George Kollias - Drums
Karl Sanders – Guitars/Vocals
Dallas Toler-Wade – Guitar/Vocals

Next review: » Nile - Those Whom The Gods Detest
Previous review: » Nile - In Their Darkened Shrines

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