Published Nov 04, 2019Nile have consistently stood out among their tech death peers over the course of their storied career. The ancient Egyptian-themed band earned a strong following for their frenetic musicianship and a steady slew of successful albums. Vile Nilotic Rites is their first following the departure of guitarist and vocalist Dallas Toler-Wade, with Enthean guitarist Brian Kingsland taking up the mantle.
The band take a more tiring death metal approach with this album, particularly in the first half. Songs like "Vile Nilotic Rites" and "The Oxford Handbook of Savage Genocidal Warfare" revolve around flat-sounding generic chugging riffs that lack direction. The album picks up in the second half, with promising songs like "Revel in Their Suffering," but it never achieves the larger-than-life grooves or searing technical fretwork associated with the band.
The only song that sounds close to classic Nile from start to finish is the short but sweet "Snake Pit Mating Frenzy." More often, this album just sounds like late-career Cannibal Corpse, with all the chugging going on. It's also fraught with technical death metal tropes. Songs like "Where Is the Wrathful Sky" spaz out with stop-and-go riffs, and there are symphonic parts all over this record like a rash. The latter problem really culminates with a section that sounds distractingly like the "Uruk Hai Theme" from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack in the eight-minute snoozer "Seven Horns of War."
Clocking in at nearly an hour, Vile Nilotic Rites slinks by without a memorable moment to its name. It delivers on bludgeoning death metal, but listeners who want a nuanced Nile album, complete with headbanging and face melting, will be disappointed. (Nuclear Blast)