TDM 3-Way Review: Nile – At the Gate of Sethu

At the Gate of Sethu (2012)

United States, Nuclear Blast Records, Ithyphallic (Technical Brutal) Death Metal

How To Lose Your Fanbase In 47 Minutes, Or How I Learned To Start Hating Karl Sanders.

I’ve never been the biggest Nile fan but I’ve always been an adamant supporter of their Ithyphallic stylings, even if their post 2005 material struck me as a pale shadow of In Their Darkened Shrines and Kronos/Necronomicon have repeatedly beat them at their own game. What I’m trying to say is If I had to put money on which band would be the next to pull an Unspoken King/Illud Divinum Insanus, Nile would be at the very bottom. Too bad At The Gate Of Sethu had to come along and fuck that sentiment up.

Sure, Nile hasn’t turned into McMansonZombie or started playing Deathcore but somewhere Sethu is even worse. There are still bits and pieces of classic Nile here, they’ve just been mangled beyond repair, turned into a perpetual self-parody for cheap cash. What’s worse is people actually defend this garbage simply because it’s Nile.  If laughable riffage, emphysemic growls, migraine inducing blasts/fills ad-infinitum and inconceivably awful clean vocals are your idea of Nile’s triumphant return, you should be ashamed of yourself. Karl Sanders has fed the death metal community a mummified turd and I for one am not about to ask for seconds. Time to retire Sanders. Now.

Rating: 3/10 – Goshuggist

Crocodiles and shit. I’m motherfucking Re! Did I mention the crocodiles?

So, Nile are at it again. Wonderful. I’m so, incredibly exited. In fact, my excitement is inexorable (geddit?). On a more sincere note, I’m actually considering buying this album. It would be incredible… at cutting my cookies. This is essentially the epitome of genericism in the realms of technical death metal; they’ve almost completely ditched the concept of adding Egyptian themes into the music with any originality, they prefer yelling about crocodiles and where the Nau snake is.

While it is nice to see that they’ve at least had the common douchebaggery to keep the long song titles (“Natural Liberation of Fear Through the Ritual Deception of Death”), I did have fun writing my own lyrics for extra bonus tracks. I’m a bit stuck, though. I’ve mentioned every Egyptian god under the sun-god. I’ve mentioned pharaohs, crocodiles and lizards. I’m done, I guess. I call it “Succumbing to the Whims of Thoth, the God of the Scriptures as His Name Rumbles Throughout the Ages as Written in the Papyrus Scriptures of Senidjemibre Nakhthorhebyt, the Last Great Ruler of the Thirtieth Dynasty”. I hope I get famous, I think I have a knack for writing in this oh-so-original style of metal.

Rating: 4/10 – Inexorable Rotting

“Diverse. Divisive.”

That whole ancient Egypt thing, the atmospheric interludes, the density of the unembalmed dead in the burial chambers…. it all carries the cryptic stench of death metal. Basically, I’m saying I REALLY want to like this record. And Nile has made it a bit harder than usual to do so. At the Gate of Sethu stays strong with the whole Ithyphallic vibe. Maybe a bit too strong for fans of the old Relapse Records catalog, as the band ventures into vocals very unorthodox for technical death metal, and some of the songs are a bit more streamlined.

I personally enjoy the diversity – half-sung/shouted vocals gives variety to the normal belches and growls heard on the brutal spectrum. Yet I have no doubt many fans will not be as receptive…as exhibited from my fellow physicists at the TDM labs. And what is going on with the guitar production?!

Nile albums are always worth the purchase, if only for the extensive linear notes from Karl Sanders. At the same time, I see why some fans of Nile’s older material may not be as excited about this album as they were about 2005’s Annihilation of the Wicked.

Rating: 6/10 – Witness to the Void


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