Nile: At the Gates of Sethu – album review

Nile: At the Gates of Sethu (Nuclear Blast)
Out: Now

American Death Metal band Nile have been around since 1993 & have recently released a new album. Their previous album was a bit of a disappointment & if you want to find out whether or not this one is too then read on.

Nile have been regarded as masters of the Technical Death Metal genre for well over a decade now. Their albums ”ËœBlack Seeds of Vengeance’ (2000) and ”ËœAnnihilation of the Wicked’ (2005) are exceptionally well thought of within the Tech Death community. Their last album ”ËœThose Whom The Gods Detest’ (2009) was not, however, so well received.

The complexity which Karl Sanders and Dallas Toller-Wade bring to every release is most definitely present in certain aspects of ”ËœAt The Gates…’, but there is something askew which inhibits the full enjoyment of this album. Whereas earlier releases such as ”ËœAnnihilation of the Wicked’ managed to successfully merge progressive technical compositions whilst still maintaining a strong sense of clarity and structure, ”ËœAt The Gates…’ fails at this.

Niel Kernon (a UK based producer who has been active since the 70’s) takes a bizarre approach to the production of this album. There is a fragmentation to the tracks which causes the listener to drift in and out of focus, sometimes several times within the one song. The vocals are a particularly woeful aspect of the album, ranging from inaudible guttural growls to weak sounding yelps. The drums also sound tinny and badly recorded. Everything seems so oddly layered and there is a real impression of under production which, instead of producing a raw and vicious sound, leaves the album seeming incredibly broken up and incomplete.

There are certain redeeming factors to ”ËœAt The Gates…’ some sections are indeed unquestionably brutal and intriguing. Although, more often than not, these snippets of brilliance simply drift into shattered and disconnected apathy.

The usual themes of Egyptology and Middle Eastern mysticism are still present and for committed fans there will probably be something to gain from this release. For the vast majority of us, however, there is very little which would endear a new listener to the band. Investigate their back catalogue instead.

One of the stronger tracks on the album is When My Wrath Is Done which you can stream below:

Nile’s official Site

All words by Colin McCracken. You can read more from Colin on Louder Than War here. Colin also blogs from his website & you can follow him on Twitter.

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Colin McCracken is an Irish writer and cinematic obsessive who writes extensively about movies on a daily basis for his website He is equally passionate about vinyl (he used to run an independent record store), literature, live music and film soundtracks. He can also be found regularly on twitter as @zombiehamster.


  1. All you need to know about the credibility of this review is the first line. “the previous album was a bit of a dissapointment” Those Whom the Gods Detest is a masterpiece.
    This is a great album from a band at the height of their power. Buy it and support true American death metal. Horrible review seemingly written by a child.

  2. yeah weird review…for a different one you can read this one, going with an interview of Dallas Toler-Wade :

  3. i have to speak up. this review is terrible!

    for a start the last album was extremely well recieved.

    inaudible growls and weak yelps? what the hell were you listening to? thats the last way i could describe niles vocals.

    do everyone a favour and find something better to do with yourself because reviewing music isnt something you are at all good at.

  4. Very accurate review. Exactly what I was thinking. Anyone who enjoyed this last album in its entirety is a blind follower


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