Released: 2005, Relapse Records
Aside from the new Immolation this is probably the death metal album I’ve looked forward to the most this year. Nile is one of my favourite “brutal” death metal bands and certainly one of the few bands that doesn’t create a sense of monotony when they use blast beats. With a new Nile album comes new faces and this time around the line-up changes see George Kollias moving in on drums as well as Jon Vesane making his final appearance with the band on bass/vocals, leaving shortly after recording.
In ANNIHILATION OF THE WICKED Nile seems to have created a more song oriented album. The album has more feel, maybe a few more distinctive parts and I’d argue that the album is a little less complex, at least compared to previous Nile albums. As far as feel though, I tend to get more of a BLACK SEEDS OF VENGEANCE feeling from much of the music here. While it’s not vastly different than IN THEIR DARKENED SHRINES I think that the feel of the drumming and some of the riffs just give me more of that feeling.
The album begins with a short, Egyptian, acoustic intro (which happens to have a name longer than it should for being so damn short…) before the album officially gets going with “Cast Down the Heretic”. Even when the song kicks into high gear it doesn’t necessarily “feel” like typical Nile, I mean, when you hear it, you’ll know its Nile immediately but the riffing doesn’t seem as dizzying this time around. It doesn’t feel as mind bending as the band was originally, this isn’t really a negative thing as I haven’t completely decided whether I’ve just become too accustomed to Nile’s riffing style at this point that things aren’t striking me as drastically as they used to. But I digress, “Cast Down the Heretic” is full of crippling speed with an amazing drum performance, probably the best I’ve heard in Nile (aside from Derek Roddy’s performance on the godly BLACK SEEDS OF VENGEANCE). The elongated solo section is just amazing in the way the band can switch over sections without missing a beat, things seem to flow so well between blasting and high speed double bass, the solos just keep coming until you just can’t take anymore and it just stops for the rhythmic chanting. A short build up intro starts off “Sacrifice Unto Sebek” before the high speed riffing charges back to the forefront yet again. The melody version of the main riff that shows up from 0:53 to 0:59 is just amazingly timed and sparingly used but it hints at the slow melodic section at 1:30 to 1:45 so nicely. The more straight riffing that directly follows the previous melodic section is a nice touch, flowing exceptionally well, back and forth.
In “User-Maat-Re” starts off inconspicuous enough with its soft acoustic playing that’s rather reminiscent of the albums intro before the band kicks in properly. Marching, almost lurching (especially for a band that plays at the speeds that Nile does) forward. The pinch harmonics almost grating on ones nerves but things stay just a bit more calm while grinding its way forward. The song doesn’t stop prodding you for over 9 minutes, mixing both the melodic and unmelodic together, creating very different parts and sections that are set next to each other in an attempt to jar the listener; make you snap up and take heed. “Lashed to the Slave Stick” is a pretty simple song, at least by Nile standards. It could be their #1 hit, well… not really, but for a band like Nile to come up with a song like this proves that maybe they aren’t completely about dense song textures and obtuse riffing. The song is easily the most “accessible” and dare I say catchy song Nile has ever done and I quite enjoy it.
While not the dizzying workout of BLACK SEEDS OF VENGEANCE or the all out assault of IN THEIR DARKENED SHRINES or the epic masterpiece of AMONGST THE CATACOMBS OF NEPHREN-KA, ANNIHILATION OF THE WICKED stands strong in Nile’s catalogue. It may be the easiest to grasp so far but it’s no less grandiose and no less “Nile” than anything the band has done before.