Originally written by Ryan Plunkett
Could anyone have really doubted the power of this album before it was even released? I felt this was one of those albums you just knew would blow you away before you even heard a second of it. It’s so surprise, considering Nile’s quick rise to fame with the outstanding Amongst the Catacombs of Nephran-Ka and Black Seeds of Vengeance. Both of those albums were good, but it was only a matter of time before Nile perfected their sound, and they have done so with In Their Darkened Shrines. The entire album is one epic masterpiece: from the blistering fast “The Blessed Dead” to the monolithic ending to the album, the four part “In Their Darkened Shrines.”
This album is brutal down to its very core. I read a recent interview with founding member, vokillist and guitarist Karl Sanders where he mentioned this album was meant to be listened all the way through to get the full effect. I whole-heartedly agree with that statement.
The musicianship found on here is the standard Nile assault on the senses, with insanely fast parts that can suddenly shift to just plain brutal in-your-face crushing power to the epic, almost battle-music type sound that just makes you want to go grab a spear of sword and run someone through.
The drumming dished out by Tony Laureano is superb. Everything is crisp and solid, and his double kicks are spit out like rounds from a machine gun. The tri-vokill attack is the same, with Jon Vesano replacing long-time member Chief Spires. One of my favorite songs, vokill wise, is the second part of “In Their Darkened Shrines,” entitled “Invocation of Seditious Heresy.” Karl and Dallas dish out ultra fast and technical guitar riffs along with some great slower brutal stuff.
The samples and Egyptian instruments are used perfectly throughout the album. I really like the stuff in the twelve minute epic, “Unas Slayer of the Gods.” I have always enjoyed Nile’s lyrics. It’s great to see a change with the typical lyrical subjects found in extreme metal. It’s like being educated while listening to death metal. I love it. I have always been into different mythologies and found Egyptian mythology interesting. Karl really knows his stuff. For any of the lyrics you don’t really understand, he gives liner notes inside the booklet explaining the meaning of each song. Hell, my history teacher I had two years ago was intrigued by a Nile shirt I had (it said “The Scourge of Amalek is Upon You” on the back) and I brought in the lyrics to Black Seeds of Vengeance for him to see and he was extremely impressed with the knowledge Karl has on the Egyptian culture and mythologies of old. What can I say, the guy knows his stuff. If you’re going to do something, do it right.
The production on this album is great, topping all previous efforts. The samples sound perfect, but are never over powering, the vokills are standout and at times haunting, the drums are crisp and clear, and the guitars sound great.
I cannot find one thing wrong with this album and I’ve been looking ever since I got my grubby little hands on it. It’s a hell of a solid release from the Carolina death metalers. If you don’t already have this album, you should be kicking your own ass right now, and when you’re finished, you have to hurry to your nearest record shop and pick up this masterpiece. With awesome songs like “The Blessed Dead,” “Unas Slayer of the Gods,” and “Wind of Horus,” how could you pass it up? Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to listening to possibly the best death metal release of the year.