As a visionary for NILE, KARL SANDERS re-imagined death metal as hymns of the sphinx, anthems for the pharaoh, the cover art of Powerslave depicted over blast beats. After perfecting that niche on In Their Darkened Shrines, Nile plateaued by making solid albums that were about as distinguishable from each other as MOTORHEAD songs. But what better chance to branch out, take a few risks and pull of some stunts that wouldn't make it to your main band than a solo album?
Saurian Excorcisms is ideal background music, a primarily instrumental soundtrack that takes Sanders' fascination with Egyptology further than Nile ever did. Middle Eastern-sounding wind instruments and percussion, distant chants and drowsy, eerie progressions rule for 47 minutes, almost always sounding like a pitch for the Scorpion King 2 opening credits. Of course, nothing could get the Karl Sanders stamp without some stellar guitar playing, and tracks like "Rapture of the Empty Spaces" and "A Most Effective Excorcism against Azagthoth and his Emissaries" showcase a death metal talent's versatility in jazz and world music, no matter how programmed most of the other instruments. As cool as Saurian Excorcisms sounds while it's playing, it's hard to recall any of the tunes by the time any of them end. Hopefully, Sanders will incorporate some of his ideas here into Nile, drawing his band and solo projects closer. It would give Nile the twist they've been needing and give Sanders' solo project more substantial song structures.
3 out of 5 syringes