Rivers of Nihil
The Conscious Seed of Light
01. Terrestria I: Thaw
02. Rain Eater
03. Birth of the Omnisavior
04. Soil & Seed
05. Central Antheneum
06. Mechanical Trees
07. Place of Serpents
08. Human Adaptation
09. A Fertile Altar
[Metal Blade Records]
Every so often within the great artistic expression known as extreme metal, a relatively unknown band will surface, seemingly out of nowhere, and completely spin heads around, Exorcist-style. Said band will release a debut album so great, so masterful, so powerfully potent, that it rivals even the most legendary work of some of their peers and influences. In fact, it would be of no surprise to think that this band has had many years of experience to refine and hone their craft, when in actuality, they’ve only been writing music for a grand total of four years. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Rivers of Nihil.
This Reading, PA quintet will, quite simply, blow your mind. They perform with the technical preciseness of Spawn of Possession, the unbridled ferocity of Hate Eternal, topped off with the avant-garde songwriting mastery of such heavyweights as Gorguts. In other words, Rivers of Nihil are a full-package deal of all that is heavy, dark, and brutal — and what a glorious package it is. The band’s full-length debut, The Conscious Seed of Light, feels like a classic death metal album as seen through the lens of all that modern metal has to offer. Rivers of Nihil effortlessly traverse the vast span of metal’s extremities, and do so very intuitively. The virtuosos in Rivers of Nihil clearly grew up with a healthy and steady education of extreme music, and this knowledge shines through in their feral, yet intelligent compositions.
The brilliant Dan Seagrave album artwork is a perfect visual encapsulation of what The Conscious Seed of Light is as a death metal album, and it further gives the album that “classic” appeal. A short instrumental piece, ‘Terrestria I: Thaw‘ opens the album and serves as precursor to the vicious ‘Rain Eater’. This song was released as a pre-production demo last year, and the finalized version sounds amazing, as does the entire album, thanks to the production genius of the legendary Erik Rutan. And it only gets better from there.
This album demands your full attention because of it’s complexity. There are plenty of tech riffs, groove riffs, and spacious atmospheric sections throughout the album, each of which are executed with grace and precision. Guitarists Brody Uttley and Jon Kunz are extremely versatile players. They strike a delicate balance between chaos and brutality with melody and emotion, and are capable of slowing things down, such as on the Gojira-esque ‘Soil and Seed’, or dazzling listeners with impressive guitar acrobatics, such as on ‘Central Antheneum‘ or ‘Place of Serpents‘. The other members are equally as adept; Jake Dieffenbach’s deranged growl is a fantastic homage to some of death metals greatest vocalists, bassist Adam Biggs perfectly compliments the guitars with his bass parts, and drummer Ron Nelson sounds inhuman behind the kit.
Overall, as far as death metal goes, it doesn’t get much better than The Conscious Seed of Light for a debut album. “Instant classic” seems a bit far reaching and overly-ambitious these days, but in this case, it seems appropriate. As long as bands like Rivers of Nihil churn out smart, intense and extreme music like that found on The Conscious Seed of Light, death metal has a bright and unshakable future ahead. Other death metal upstarts, take note. These guys are the real deal, and any self-respecting metalhead owes it to them self to keep this band zeroed in very closely on their radar for the foreseeable future.
Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light gets…