Death metal can, at times, be the most stale and boring thing in the universe. Don’t get me wrong; the good parts of the genre are REALLY good, and there are certainly bands/albums/etc. that I adore, but there are many bands that I can’t get behind simply because they don’t take the time and care needed when it comes to song craft. To make truly compelling music, a band must do more than be the heaviest and most “br00tal” group of antisocial hellraisers on the block; the best music is made by bands who can be not only brutal, but that can also bring in hooks and subtlety to their assault. Nile have long been one of the foremost authorities on the balance between hooks and extremity, and with their eighth album, What Should Not Be Unearthed, they’ve gone from strength to strength and continued their tradition of compelling and consuming extreme music.
Wasting no time, the band delivers its first killing blow with the opening track “Call to Destruction”, a track that has no let up whatsoever. If you’re looking for a new song for your alarm clock, I definitely nominate this crazy, ugly thing at full blast. It’s a perfect example of everything that works so well about this band; Karl Sanders’ violent, bloodthirsty vocal style, coupled with his as amazing lyrics, soaring over George Kollias‘ relentless percussion attack; it’s a combination that is among the most legendary and dependable partnerships in all of metal.
Of course, as with most Nile albums, many of the most compelling moments come when the band steps back and allows the historical content that is their hallmark to come to fore. The chants and ancient instruments that fill the sonic space, like at the beginning of “In the Name of Amun”, serve to create a chilling atmosphere and makes for an engrossing experience. It is moments like these that truly elevate Nile and their music to the level or art.
Nile‘s biggest (and maybe only) failing, is the fact that this is all fairly standard in their catalog. There is really not much to be had on this album that wasn’t heard on similarly fantastic albums like Those Whom the Gods Detest or In Their Darkened Shrines. While no one is asking them to change, a truly perfect album would necessarily be one that expands their sound and explores new territory. As it is, What Should Not Be Unearthed is a breath-taking new chapter in the Nile story… that looks almost exactly like the previous chapters.
This latest output from Florida’s finest egyptologists is nothing less than spectacular. All those boring “heavier than thou” death metal amateurs out there will never be able to hold a candle to a band that can crank out music of this caliber. Lets say that What Should Not Be Unearthed is not a title that you should take literally when it comes to their music; on the contrary, you should really go and discover the splendor of the music of Nile.