Year of release: 2019
Released by: Nuclear Blast
Rating: 7 / 10
Each new NILE album requires me several months of listening in order to reveal itself in all the richness of colors and motives. NILE, like ESOTERIC or SUFFOCATION, is a band that can't be fucked up by labels, time or circumstances. “Crocodiles” managed to successfully migrate to Nuclear Blast and not lose their identity, which is a hell of a great achievement. Each NILE album is a holiday in my house. But in the case of “Vile Nilotic Rites”, almost every day, starting from the first listening, I tried to understand not how good this album is, but whether it is good at all.
As you know, before starting work on “Vile Nilotic Rites,” Dallas Toller-Wade left the band, playing for 20 years as a guitarist and being a frontman and one of the main songwriters. The breakup, apparently, was not painless, although Karl and Dallas chose to confine themselves to light hints of the true reasons. One way or another, the loss of such an important figure could not but affect the band. I am not inclined to get hysterical and lament that “NILE is dead now", because the founder of the band is Karl Sanders, who is still there. But Dallases departure obviously ripped out a hefty piece of meat from NILE and it’s not so easy to grow new tissue. “Vile Nilotic Rites” does not offer the characteristic parts of the Dallas rhythm guitar on which “Lashed to the Slave Stick”-type songs were built; they migrated to NARCOTIC WASTELAND. For me personally, it was an essential part of NILE music. Sanders, of course, also knows how to compose high-speed things, but his style is completely different, drier. The participation of other musicians in the writing of the material helped to diversify it, but not much.
Vocals of Dallas might be a biggest loss. Fans of guttural brutal DM never have liked him, but fuck these asshats, let them listen to their lovely farting and burping. A newcomer Brian Kingsland is definitely not better at singing. Dallas had a very recognizable and aggressive manner, and Brian growls as the vocalist of the average tech death band - and he was the one before NILE. His voice is not completely hopeless and secondary, but far from perfect. But legible - no doubts about that. Fortunately, Brian does not sing alone - everyone except Collias take part, plus there are 10 (!!!) guest vocalists including the mighty John Vesano and Karl's son, Kael Sanders.
The album’s problems do not end there. After a million listenings, I never found a hit on it. There is hope that in a year or two it will suddenly dawn on me; this often happens: you listen to a song that you have heard many times, and suddenly you realize that this is a masterpiece. But in the meantime, there is nothing. The songs are good, peppy, well tailored, but not a single one gets to a level of “Evil to Cast Out Evil”, “Supreme Humanism of Megalomania” or dozens of other killer songs from NILE. It seems that there are a lot of characteristic “Egyptian” melodies, but they often work as jumpers between parts of songs, not as a basis. It is good that Karl did not stint on instrumental compositions. It is possible that the sound of the final mix gave a certain facelessness to the songs. Too clean, too thin, too smooth, even by Nuclear Blast standards. This alarming tendency is becoming more noticeable: it seemed that this label has learned to give its bands a sound more suitable for their music (take at least “Northern Chaos Gods” IMMORTAL or “What Should not be Unearthed” by the same NILE), however, on the latest or upcoming releases of NB some kind of gay fuckery is happening (see new MY DYING BRIDE track, for example). In such a sound, the dynamics of the instruments are lost, the emphasis of the moments is erased, the contrast disappears - everything is reduced to a common "perfect" denominator. Fucking German hucksters with their fucking "industry standards," shit in their ears. Who complained about “At the Gate of Sethu”? Do you like this shiny shit bucket better?
But some things in NILE never let you down - like lyrics. Sanders has always been able to write breathtaking lyrics, and his huge liner notes contain a storehouse of invaluable information. I have blamed Nuclear Blast for the killed sound, but I must praise for investing in a 28-page booklet and a 6-panel digipack. The design of “Vile Nilotic Rites” is without a doubt the best in NILE history. SOYUZ company has released everything in full in the CIS - I purchased their edition for my collection, so you can look at Egyptian beauties on a video.
The rating given reflects my current impressions of the album, but I am still in the process of comprehension. I do not rule out that my opinion will change for the better, but it is more likely that in my personal NILE albums list, “Vile Nilotic Rites” will remain the most non-inventive and flat. Karl Sanders, long before the release of the record, said that it would probably be the last for NILE. Listening to “Vile Nilotic Rites,” I want it to be that way. Better to leave at the zenith of fame than to lose the reputation of an almost impeccable group and become the next laughable pseudo artist in Nuclear Blast roster. Karl is already 56 - you can’t pick a better moment to to earn a pension in the final tour and retire like a real man.