"At the Gate of Sethu"

By Dr. Abner Mality

It is no easy task to keep the creed of the ancient gods alive in this era of electronic gadgetry and five second attention spans. Nile has tried to do this with fidelity for over 15 years now and generally succeeded, but sometimes they raise the flame of Re higher than others. The flame burns very brightly on "At The Gate of Sethu". The last offering "Those Whom The Gods Detest" was not one of the stronger sacrifices, but that has been corrected this time. Several  intense listens will convince even heathen souls that the spirit of the Egyptian gods courses strongly through Nile's metal of death.

This is a cleaner sounding beast than the Nile of old. The growling gut-wrenching of their more Cannibal Corpse-sounding days is behind them now. That's an advantage, because you can hear the sharpness of their musicianship and the edge to their riffing much more clearly. The construction of these songs is as seamless as a pyramid. "When My Wrath Is Done" and "Supreme Humanism of Megalomania" strike with speed and brutality yet the Egyptian feeling is stronger here than it has been in a long time. Karl Sanders outdoes himself with the odd Oriental riffing and George Kollias delivers truly cool and unique percussion. Sanders' ultra-low grumbles are still heard but the vocal delivery of Dallas Toler-Wade hews more to the angry, rough shouting he experimented with on "Those Whom The Gods Detest". I like the contrast a lot! It's even better when mournful clean vocals sound like a funeral chant on "The Fiends Who Come To Steal The Magick of the Deceased" really does sound like ritual burial music!!!

A couple of instrumentals show the ambient side of Nile and enhance the morbid mood herein. "Slaves of Xul" sounds like the lashing of demons while "Ethno-Musicological Cannibalisms" gives Kollias plenty of room to play with authentic Egyptian percussion. A grim and necromantic pall is cast over the entire record, climaxing in the crawling doom of "The Chaining of the Iniquitous", where the listener is trapped with the ancient dead far beyond the light of the sun. Other top tracks include "Tribunal of the Dead" and "Natural Liberation of Fear Through The Ritual Deception of Death". As you can see, Nile's predilection for wordy titles has not abated.

It takes a couple of listens to pick up all the brilliance of "At The Gates of Sethu". It is not as instant as "Black Seeds of Vengeance" but ultimately perhaps it is more rewarding. Like the spirits of the pharaohs after death, Nile has been renewed with this release.