There are some bands who, upon hearing them, you wonder why they chose to focus on such a niche area. The pirate theme of Alestorm, for example. Or, the comedy rock of Steel Panther. Or, the Egyptian / harmonic minor noodlings of Nile. I feel carving such a niche identity kinda paints a band into a corner. To be honest, I’m not Nile‘s biggest fan. Don’t get me wrong, they’re clearly great musicians. But, if I’m honest, some of their albums sound like song after song of the guitarists just running scales, and thus one song blurs into the next. So, how will the cleverly titled “Vile Nilotic Rites” fair? Let’s find out (Don’t sue me Varg).
The mix here is great. Guitars, drums, and vocals are clear and beefy. The subtleties of the bass get a little lost at times, but you notice when it’s not playing; the bass does a lot of the heavy lifting with respect to the aforementioned beefiness. It’s also worth noting that the new vocalists fit seamlessly here. Their styles work really well with the music.
The first song, “Long shadows of dread”, is a cracker. I think part of what I don’t like about some Nile songs/albums is their tendency to meander. I really like the structure of this song. It’s still got the runs and George Kollias’ lunacy behind the kit, but it seems to be a bit more constrained. The aforementioned Nile tropes are here but they don’t overwhelm the song, or the album for that matter.
There seems to have been a conscious decision to explore more traditional styles of DM than Nile have explored previously. And, this willingness to try new things has paid dividends. The riffs are diverse enough that the songs don’t sound the same, and even 8 or 9 minute songs seem to fly by quickly. The vocals are diverse too, which helps keep the music fresh across the album’s 58 minute playing time.
Fuck!!! George goes off like a frog in a sock. He’s the only drummer I know of that can make fucked up time signatures sound so smooth that you feel like you’re listening to 4/4. “Seven horns of war” puts his skills well on display.
There’s nothing I don’t like about this album so…
Rating – 5 / 5