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Rivers of Nihil
Monarchy
September 2015
Released: 2015, Metal Blade Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team

Rivers of Nihil is a thrash band that comes from the United States, bringing punishing riffs and fast melodies. They come at us with their second album Metal Blade Records, entitled Monarchy.



Right off the get go, the album builds up with a sombre, instrumental intro. After that though, nothing feels sombre about the rest of the album as it gets right into business with Evil By Design. Right away, there is technical playing to be had here, making it stand out from the pack. The vocals also help, where they border on the edge of Death and Thrash metal vocals.



The album does continue along with the same pummelling thrash sound, but when it breaks from that I feel is when the band truly shines. Songs such as Sand Baptism have a Middle Eastern flair and actually has an interesting theme going with it. Dehydrate is another example where they have the bass come up front for parts of the song, giving it a different feel to the music as a whole. Even Terresria II, Thrive comes in as an instrumental track, which gives us something different from the album once again.



The final two tracks on the album, (Circles in the Sky and Suntold) are technically a two part track. Although seeing a 14 minute track can deter some people off if it’s not a band known for longer material. It does lead to a fake outro then a soothing, almost out of place piece for the final minute or so of the album.



One thing I found lacking on this album were the solos. Granted, they were there, but I felt that they were only used to build up the next part of the song, rather than have the song build up the solo itself. A bit odd, but not a huge complaint.



The album is not hard to get through either, as it clocks in at just over 49 minutes. The album itself goes by quickly and doesn’t overstay its welcome, making it easily accessible to someone wanting to listen to the music of Rivers of Nihil.
Track Listing

1. Heirless

2. Perpetual Growth Machine

3. Reign of Dreams

4. Sand Baptism

5. Ancestral, I

6. Dehydrate

7. Monarchy

8. Terrestria II: Thrive

9. Circles in the Sky

10. Suntold

Lineup

Jake Dieffenbach - Vocals
Brody Uttley - Guitar
Jon Topore- Guitar
Adam Biggs - Bass / Vocals
Alan Balamut - Drums

Contact

N/A

Other reviews

» The Conscious Seed of Light
by Peter Atkinson

» The Conscious Seed Of Light
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

» Monarchy
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

» Monarchy
by Peter Atkinson


Next review: » Rivers of Nihil - Monarchy
Previous review: » Rivera Bomma - I Am God

Rivers of Nihil
Monarchy
September 2015
Released: 2015, Metal Blade Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

Spring gives way to summer on the second album from Pennsylvania tech-deathsters Rivers of Nihil, which advances a “seasonal” concept they began with their 2013 debut, The Conscious Seed of Light. Actually that's oversimplifying the matter, since the actual sci-fi/new age/philosophical storyline delves into the life cycle of the planet over countless eons and will eventually span four albums – one for each season – but we'd be here all day explaining the finer points, so let's leave it at that.



Needless to say, Rivers dabble in pretty heady fare, thematically and musically. Monarchy is a more mature, confident effort that benefits from a couple years of touring that solidified the core of guitarist Brody Uttley, bassist Adam Biggs and vocalist Jake Dieffenbach while acclimating new drummer Alan Balamut and guitarist Jon Topore. It tightens up some of Seed Of Light's tendency to wander and has a denser, heavier overall sound that makes it hit that much harder – delivering the djenty heft of Meshuggah and the fluidity and ferocity of Gojira or Decapitated.



While this is a tech-death concept album, it doesn't really seem as such, since the band largely eschew the usual thematic contrivances – segues, interludes, obvious cinematic or sonic connections. Tracks like “Dehydrate” and “Reign Of Dreams” are full-bore, surprisingly compact and very easily can stand on their own. Ditto the grander “Sand Baptism” and “Ancestral, I” that build more complexity and turbulence into the bombast topped by Jake Dieffenbach's mountainous vocals.



Things do start getting more fanciful with the title track just past the midway point. After the languid jazzy guitar at its outset, “Monarchy” roils under Biggs' tumultuous bass-lines when the hammer comes down. The instrumental “Terrestria II Thrive” is a showcase of the band's progressive chops, punctuated by ample soloing and Balamut's tail gunner-like drum fusillades. “Circles In The Sky” and “Suntold” wrap things up in suitably epic fashion, taking the thunder of the first half of the album and the intricacy of the latter part and mashing them together over more sprawling arrangements. It makes for a truly grand finale.



There is certainly no sophomore slump where Rivers of Nihil are concerned. The band have taken the promise of their debut and built themselves into a more formidable and accomplished band all around – even with a couple new members. Monarchy makes a real statement for these guys, and it will be interesting to see just what they have to say for themselves when the “autumn” album rolls around in a couple years.
Track Listing

1. Heirless
2. Perpetual Growth Machine
3. Reign Of Dreams
4. Sand Baptism
5. Ancestral, I
6. Dehydrate
7. Monarchy
8. Terrestria II: Thrive
9. Circles In The Sky
10. Suntold

Lineup

Jake Dieffenbach - vocals
Brody Uttley - guitar
Jon Topore - guitar
Adam Biggs - bass, vocals
Alan Balamut - drums

Other reviews

» The Conscious Seed of Light
by Peter Atkinson

» The Conscious Seed Of Light
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

» Monarchy
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

» Monarchy
by Peter Atkinson


Next review: » Rivers of Nihil - The Conscious Seed of Light
Previous review: » Rivera Bomma - I Am God





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