Nile‘s Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka (Relapse, 1998) is the Hall of Fame album in this month’s Decibel (#56, Isis cover). I personally would have chosen Black Seeds of Vengeance or In Their Darkened Shrines. But Amongst is no slouch. It’s Nile’s breakthrough moment, leaving behind all traces of thrash. Nile would then climb the death metal ladder with speed and dexterity. They hadn’t yet reached the “holy shit” speeds of Annihilation of the Wicked. Here, they were merely blazing. In 1998, as death metal stagnated creatively, “Ramses Bringer of War” must have been refreshing: The Ten Commandments set to blastbeats. If it seemed hokey, it didn’t for long. Riffs were dramatic and exotic. One could imagine blastbeats as locusts; half-speed trudges evoked slaves in the shadows of pyramids. Talk about finding one’s niche – there was no market for Egyptian-themed death metal until Amongst filled it.
Nile - Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka
– Cosmo Lee
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