Records of the Week With Jon and Ted #4
Each Friday, Editors Ted Nubel and Jon Rosenthal will share their picks for Records of the Week — not necessarily what's out this week, just whatever's on our mind or on our record players.
A lot of my early music discovery was, weirdly, from Best Buy -- whatever looked cool at the store, I'd pick up. This led to some good stuff… and some bad stuff. Ithyphallic is definitely on the good side of things, though I know it's not everyone's favorite Nile record.
Perhaps best known as having the ridiculously-long titled song "Papyrus Containing the Spell to Preserve its Possessor Against Attacks from He Who is in the Water," Ithyphallic is kind of a midpoint in the band's sound -- it's not quite as ridiculously aggressive as the earlier albums, but it's also not quite as 'modern' feeling, aesthetically and musically, as the stuff that came after.
One thing I love about Nile's sound that gets a lot of playtime on this record is that, although there's a ton of flashy guitar work and intricate riffs, there's also some real knuckle-dragging dummy stuff at times too, almost hook-like in how catchy it is. The Track Whose Name is Too Long For Me to Type Again is a pretty good example of this, as is "Eat of the Dead."
The subject material on this one also feels like some of the most varied in their discography: aside from crocodile protection, there's a diverse selection of Lovecraft and Egyptology fare, clearly bait for nerds like me into that stuff. And, of course, there's the not-so-karaoke-friendly title track—make sure nobody's home before you sing along to that one.
Ikuinen Kaamos takes me back to a simpler time when all I really cared about was finding new music. No pretense, no philosophies, just… simple, and they were probably one of my favorite discoveries of 2006, the year in which their long-awaited debut The Forlorn was released.
Though initially a death/black metal band which leaned heavily on the black metal end of things, the very progressive The Forlorn shows the band venturing into what could be called "Opeth metal," sometimes even shamelessly, but what sets this album apart is the distinct black metal flair and attitude.
Yes, there are blast beats, and yes, there are extended nylon-string guitar interludes, but there are also big, harmonically extended chords, chunky grooves, and atmospheric Mellotron which help break this from just being a black metal album, just like the other half breaks them from their primary influence.
Listening to this 15 years later is honestly a treat, and Ikuinen Kaamos were definitely ahead of their time. If The Forlorn was released today, I'm certain it would achieve much more than the "cult" status it currently has.