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NILE's Karl Sanders talks Vile Nilotic Rites, Man's Inherent Violence and Head-banging Like There's No Tomorrow


Nile aren't fucking around on their ninth studio album Vile Nilotic Rites. Dropping November 1st through Nuclear Blast, the four piece of Karl Sanders, George Kollias, Brad Parris and Brian Kingsland haven't lost a step, or dialled down the heavy, in 25 years and counting of savage death metal.

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Longtime frontman and guitarist Sanders spoke with Metal Injection on the in-sync band unity surrounding Vile Nilotic Rites, the inherent violence of mankind and how that relates to metal, his longtime fascination with Egyptian history and sci-fi, the pressures of staying heavy in death metal and head-banging like there's no tomorrow!

On Pre-Release Jitters

You know, I usually would be a mess right now. But strangely there is a very unique sense of calm and confidence this time where George and I, we really know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we've put together a pretty solid record. So, you know, I'm not tearing my hair out. I actually went to the doctor for something unrelated the other day, and my blood pressure is down to like 118. A year ago when we started making the record, it was up to 140, 160. So I think that speaks volumes about the level of confidence and how good we feel about this record.

NILE's Karl Sanders talks Vile Nilotic Rites, Man's Inherent Violence and Head-banging Like There's No Tomorrow

On Band Chemistry & Unity
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Getting everybody actually working together and not working against each other enables you to focus on the music instead of the other areas of concern and the stresses of inter-bands struggles and whatnot. All that shit really gets in the way, I think, of actually putting together the best record you can. Having guys working as a single team with a single goal that's really I think what it takes to reach whatever your potential is. You've got to have people working together. If not, man, it's so much tougher.

On Extensive Pre-Production for Vile Nilotic Rites

It was so fine tuned and honed and whittled down. All the fat had been trimmed off. And actually, with all the preproduction recordings going back and forth, we'd actually recorded these songs seven, eight, nine times already before. So we fuckin' knew what we were doing this time around. There was nothing left to chance. Everything was given its proper attention.

On the Theme of Impending Doom on Vile Nilotic Rites
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You know, every zombie apocalypse movie that I see just further cements this idea that we all kind of know instinctually that we are headed for self-destruction one way or another. Dude, Prince said it really well, everybody's got a bomb. We could all die any day. Yeah. But Prince's message was OK, let's party like it's 1999. My message is more like we can all die any day. So let's bang our heads!

On Early Fascination With History & Sci-Fi

I have to give credit to my father, who not only was a fan of big epic flicks like The Ten Commandments, Sodom and Gomorrah, Ben-Hur and all this stuff. Of course, I watched all that stuff with him as a young, impressionable kid, but he was also a sci-fi fan. So he had this library of science fiction books that was just exhaustive. It's his books that really sprang an interest in history but science fiction as well and where the two crossed paths.

On the Inherent Violence of Man & How That Relates to Metal
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You know, I think one of the greatest joys in life is when you're beating someone into a literal pulp and you just feel this joy, this joy of violence that comes from nowhere else that you know. And you wonder why is that guy laughing while he's beating the shit out of that other guy? Well, that's why. For some reason, human beings are some kind of animal that derives joy from violence. I don't know why that is. And it's kind of scary and disgusting at the same time, but it's real. I do martial arts in my spare time. Like I got spare time, but I make time for it. And that's some of the purest joy that there is. Get in there and mix it up. And you're doing something extremely violent yet there's a purity and a joy in it.

There's such a great release of daily stress when you're listening to metal or playing it. When you meet the Cannibal Corpse guys, we're all friends by now, they are such calm chill dudes. And you think to yourself, what the fuck? I expect these guys to be like raving lunatics, but they're some of the calmest, chillest guys you'll ever meet because they're getting all that out of their systems.

NILE's Karl Sanders talks Vile Nilotic Rites, Man's Inherent Violence and Head-banging Like There's No Tomorrow

On Misconceptions About Metal in the Mainstream

If (heavy metal music) were so terrible for us then it would be outlawed. But it's not. Same thing with violent video games. If they were actually bad for us would we be allowed to have them? No, we wouldn't. But the guys who play first person shooters are getting their fucking anger out by machine gunning down all their online buddies, they're not out robbing the store. They're not out going road rage crazy, right? You know, they're at home, safe, getting that anger out in a non-consequential way. Violence has its place in a healthy way because the truth is we are violent animals by nature.

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Our modern life strips away many of our releases that we would have had. If you go back 20 or 30 thousand years in the evolution of man where you did have to use that violence on a daily basis, because there were saber-tooth tigers trying to eat us and we had to hunt or gather our food. There was a whole lot of violence. That was what it meant to be a man. You had to protect your family, provide for your family and those were inherently violent. Those things were stripped away from us in today's life that we live. But we're still those same creatures. If you don't find an outlet for it, it's gonna come out. It's just who we are.

On The Pressure of Staying Heavy in Death Metal

I think of it more in terms of if you forget why you're there then you should be doomed to failure. I think audiences are right in this respect. Should a metal band change itself into something other than a metal band? You know, I don't know. I don't think so. I definitely disagree with the Opeth guys that they they are kind of disowning their death metal roots. Now, by the same token, I think what Opeth does is wonderful. It's great music, but I have no intention of ever disowning death metal. Nile albums aren't going to go lighter. They're going to go heavier of their natural own accord and natural evolution.

So I don't think I necessarily feel pressure, although I know that exists, that there's like heavier bands coming out all the fucking time. You don't want to be less heavy than your colleagues. You want to be the heavier. No matter how you slice it, it's gladiatorial in nature. But as far as a pressure, no. I mean it's like I know where Niagara Falls is, right? And I know that if I were to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, probably I'm going to fucking die. You know what? I'm not going to get in a barrel and ride down that river and go over Niagara Falls. I'm not gonna do it. I don't feel any pressure to get in a barrel and go over Niagara Falls.

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On Twenty-Five Years of Nile

Well, I really don't think about it until journalists ask me about it. Then I go, oh, my God, they're right. It was twenty five years. Where did all the fucking time go? I spent 20 years making metal. Well, OK. I was happy. I was doing what I love to do. So OK. But I don't think about that shit on a daily basis. I'm focused on what I need to do today. I want to make metal today, I want to bang my head today. I don't think about what I was doing yesterday, I think about what I want to do right now.

On the State of Nile in 2019

We are pushing forward. We're not concerned with nostalgia. We're interested in what this lineup can do today. Right now, what could we do with the potential that we have? And that's where our minds are at. We're looking forward. We're not looking backwards in any sort of way.

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