Nile - Annihilation of the Wicked
Relapse Records
Egyptian-Inspired Death Metal
8 songs (53:00)
Release year: 2005
Nile, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Aaron
Major event
Nile. If you’re into death metal, then you know that band. They revitalized the scene in 1998 with the brutal and blackened masterpiece of Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka, an absolutely essential album. If you do not happen to own it, go buy it, now, and come back to read this review later.

Dum de de dum.

Back? Good, now I can continue. Y’see, it’s rather hard to properly follow up an album like Nephren-Ka. Some bands manage, some bands don’t. After stumbling slightly (only slightly) with the follow-up, Black Seeds of Vengeance, they reoriented themselves and focused their Egyptian-tainted death metal attack to bring us their second best album, In Their Darkened Shrines, home to the four-part story-driven epic piece, In Their Darkened Shrines, and the brilliant Unas Slayer of the Gods. Surely, this was their creative peak, as they combined even more complex Egyptian instrumentation and more obscure Egyptian mythology with über-brutal Suffocation-style death metal.

It seems that In Their Darkened Shrines was indeed their creative peak, because Annihilation of the Wicked, while by no means a terrible album, falls FAR short of the incredible standards set by Nile’s pedigree.

The production is flat and lifeless, a lot like the production on Black Seeds of Vengeance, but with more focus on the guitars than that album had, luckily. The drums are way back in the mix, but you can still hear them pretty well.

The songwriting has degenerated massively. You can really predict everything if you’ve listened to enough Nile. The intro is an… c’mon… you guessed it, Egyptian instrumental. Then they blast out of the gate with my favorite song on the album, Cast Down the Heretic. It’s got brutality, frantic energy, good performances from all three vocalists, and a stellar performance from the new drummer, who kicks ass, but so do about three thousand other death metal drummers.

Next song, Sacrifice unto Sebek. Hmm, slower intro, cut into more blasting, more complex riffing, more growls. Cool break around 2:20, I think that’s about it, supported by… yes indeedy, keyboards playing a small set of notes extended to make them sound dramatic. First ‘epic’ song of the album shows up now. Let’s see. The general construction of the first riffset is stolen completely off of Unas Slayer of the Gods, as are the drum fills. Yadda yadda, abuse of hi-hat and cymbals, slower double-bassing, riffs timed with growls from either Sanders or the bassist. Oh whee.

This reveals the big flaw of the album: You’ve heard all of this before. You’ve heard the ‘epic’songs in In Their Darkened Shrines, the riffing in countless other records, the no-longer-innovative combination of Egyptian instrumentals with death metal blasting… this wasn’t a problem before In Their Darkened Shrines, because they hadn’t any epic songs at that point, but now they’ve run out of things to do with death metal.

Admittedly, death metal itself is largely filled with crocks of boring, regressive shit, but the best death metal bands know that this doesn’t matter and write killer songs to make us forget about it. Nile has few killer songs on this record, and so it fails unlike any album they’ve ever done before.

Too bad, ain’t it? I bequeath unto this album a 73, because I liked too many of the songs to call it bad. Wait for the next Nile record, and maybe Karl and the rest of his crew will realize that.

Final Note: Some of these song titles are bordering on parody. Some person with much time to waste should program a Nile song title generator, if one doesn't already exist.

Killing Songs :
The Burning Pits of the Duat, Cast Down the Heretic, Chapter of Obeisance before Giving Breath to the Inert One in the Presence of the Cresent Shaped Horns
Aaron quoted 73 /100
Jay quoted 87 / 100
Daniel quoted 84 / 100
Misha quoted 70 / 100
Goat quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Nile that we have reviewed:
Nile - Vile Nilotic Rites reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Nile - What Should Not Be Unearthed reviewed by Kynes and quoted 78 / 100
Nile - At the Gate of Sethu reviewed by Tony and quoted 86 / 100
Nile - Worship the Animal - 1994: The Lost Recordings reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Nile - Those Whom The Gods Detest reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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