In Their Darkened Shrines (Relapse)
by Martin Popoff
Pretty much the most hype in heavy history for a death metal album, In Their Darkened Shrines arrives extreme, guttural, thick and progressive, Nile (new bassist, new drummer) delivering what is somewhat the expected, while solidifying fan impressions of the band as the key-keepers of a number of characteristics. Those include the band’s predilection for extreme speed and extreme sloth, broken up or announced or signaled by acrobatic, chromatic break(aparts)-downs, where the drumming is inhuman, the accompanying riffs, so buried under distortion and bass that their chords and notes become indistinguishable. Vocally, this is pure, very low death, that part of the show keeping Nile steadfast to tradition. And, of course, another Nile characteristic would be their snaky Middle Eastern lead patterns, twinned and beyond, recalling in places the doom of Trouble, but also reminding one of how much Slayer (by accident?) went to Egypt for their melodies. Finally, Karl Sanders uses his five computers and three bandmates to create a cinematic package, the soundtrackiest bits coming in contemplative respites that evoke visits to those titular shrines, torches lighting up the poison accursed dust.
(1720 South State Rd. Upper Darby, PA 19082)