At The Gate Of Sethu
01. Enduring The Eternal Molestation Of Flame
02. The Fiends Who Come To Steal The Magick Of The Deceased
03. The Inevitable Degradation Of Flesh
04. When My Wrath Is Done
05. Slaves Of Xul
06. The Gods Who Light Up The Sky At The Gate Of Sethu
07. Natural Liberation Of Fear Through The Ritual Deception Of Death
08. Ethno-Musicologial Cannibalisms
09. Tribunal Of The Dead
10. Supreme Humanism Of Megalomania
11. The Chaining Of The Iniquitous
[Nuclear Blast Records]
What can be said about Nile that hasn’t already been said before? The Ancient Egyptian historians, some of the fastest musicians in the game right now, and some of the most memorable songs to come out of the death metal scene since all the classic Cannibal Corpse records of the early ‘90s. They really don’t have one bad record; just records from the early stages before they began evolving and making progress. Their last record Those Whom The Gods Detest was one of the best death metal releases to come out of 2009, beating out Cannibal Corpse, Obscura, and even Suffocation in terms of overall brutality and technicality. After such a monumental success, can their new album live up to the hype? Sadly, it can not.
When you have such an amazing record, whether it be your first or your most recent, it is always challenging to climb the hill even further without making the same record twice in a row. Many bands struggle with this, and some of them will even go so far as to stop because they know they will never make a record as good. Isis disbanded because they wanted to go out on a high note. At The Gates disbanded then reformed because they knew they would never make another record as great as Slaughter of the Soul.. Nile face the same problem here, trying to follow up what some argue was their biggest and most hard hitting record to date.
The album is plagued by songs that could have been better had it been infused with something that would have really thrown you off. Many of the songs are very predictable, and while this is fine because every band you love is predictable to a certain degree, it just gets very overwhelmingly simple to figure out that a guitar solo is coming up next followed by a bridge into an outro. The biggest issue with this record is that there is absolutely no low end. It is a known fact they recorded bass for this record, but where did it go? It must have gotten deleted by accident, because all you will hear is guitars and drums. Regardless of style, there should always be some form of low end; even Explosions In The Sky mess around with bass every now and again. If there was bass this record would be much more enjoyable.
In that regard, At The Gates Of Sethu sounds — both in style and production — like the older Nile records. but with a touch more clarity. The guitars could get a bit muddy when they tremolo picked on the low A string before, but on this record everything is crisp and clear. They should really invest in keeping this sound for however many years they continue to keep playing music, though next time they had better turn up the bass.
What really stands out about At The Gates of Sethu are the vocals. They are brilliantly executed; Dallas has never sounded better, and they really put his vocals up front. Despite being famous for their technical skills, Nile have some of the best death metal vocals out there. Even Karl Sanders’ vocals are heard more, which is good because his vocals are so dark and eerie. The first single they released ‘The Fiends Who Come To Steal The Magick Of The Deceased’ is also a highlight; it’s catchy and hook-laden, especially the chorus. Listen once and tell me it doesn’t get stuck in your head.
So, in the end, this is a good Nile record. Should it be your first Nile record? No. Will it keep fans of Nile happy and give them a few good songs from the new album to hear live? Yes it will. Will it divide some for its sound quality? Sadly, yes. Some people like the muddy Nile, which can cause a rift in their fan base. But, whatever the case, Nile can still play better than you, even on a record that isn’t their best.
Nile – At The Gates of Sethu