I figured I should weigh in on this album, since Nile is one of those heavyweight bands that profess to be doing something interesting (combining Middle Eastern melodies with brutal death metal).
First, I’m not sure what the production on this thing was supposed to sound like, but there’s a difference between a brutal/punishing sound and something too muddy to hear anything. There are loud segments that are not so much atonal as they are without a tone. The sections consist of chugging on some “chord” in a string of fast sixteenth notes, but it comes across as pure noise.
I’m pretty sure this was not intended. It makes the harmonic minor riffs so much cornier. Loud noise, loud noise, loud noise, sudden “Egyptian” riff which is crystal clear, loud noise. The effect is almost comical. It sounds like a Nile parody band.
To be fair, many of the songs are not quite that bad … but many are. Nile have been around a long time and clearly have excellent technical chops. Occasionally there are some very technical solos and riffs. Too often they fall back on chromatic filler or simply playing a harmonic minor scale.
I’m not sure why they messed with the death metal structure so much. If they took their best riffs and cut the filler, this would probably be a pretty good album. Some bands can get away with developing their riffs into longer, six minute songs because they have the content to do it. Most of the time it feels like Nile wanted longer songs, but couldn’t come up with the material to do it so they chugged on toneless chords.
The lack of development gives the songs a meandering and aimless feel. I think they were going more for chaotic with the sudden tempo and timbre changes. Instead, we’re left with a lack of cohesion.
Overall, there are some good moments but not enough to overcome the lack of interesting content. I won’t bother coming up with a number for this one. Here’s a sample: