NILE - ANNIHILATION OF THE WICKED (2005)
Since the late 1990's, South Carolina's Nile have been the first name in brutal, technical, Ancient Egyptian-themed death metal. Their fourth album, Annihilation of the Wicked, finds a band who is very comfortable with their particular niche in the death metal scene. Imagine New York style death metal from the nineties, cranked up a notch, and painted with Egyptian or Heptatonic scale melodies, and you have Nile's basic approach.
Nile have a very distinct sound, which is part of the reason why they got so popular so quickly, they were something new. Their approach is somewhat limiting however as it more or less commits them to one musical scale. By this fourth album, it's starting to sound a little redundant. The other part of their appeal is the sheer athleticism behind the kit. George Kollias runs a marathon on the double-bassdrum; the dude has some serious endurance. The vocals are fairly standard, there are 3 guys listed for vocals, and whoever does the ultra-lows is clearly the coolest. The guitars are insane. The leads are turbo-charged and acrobatic. These guys do not take it easy on themselves, it's as if they were being paid per-note.
The end result is that Nile is stimulation overload. They are all out, almost all of the time. Their earlier albums had quite a few ambient instrumental sections which mixed it up a bit, but Annihilation of Wicked feels like an endurance test. This music is easier to respect than enjoy. Again, the marathon metaphor applies: I can respect someone for being able to run one, but I don't necessarily want to watch them do it. Nile's Annihilation of the Wicked gets a 2.5 out of 5.