I’ll put it bluntly – NILE is one of my favorite bands. If I had a chance to review “Annihilation Of The Wicked” when it first came out, I would’ve given it a perfect score, and the previous album, “In Their Darkened Shrines” a point less. I know most people felt that the progression between those two albums was pretty much nil, most essentially stating that both albums were equally good. Why do I slightly disagree? It was due to the fact that there were fewer songs on “Annihilation Of The Wicked”, and they were more varied than on “In Their Darkened Shrines”. I mean, “In Their Darkened Shrines” had so many standard length fast songs that they could almost blur together. Now, because Nile is a big band, and a popular band (come one, they’re on Ozzfest this year!) I have high expectations.
The first two things that stood out to me were the production and the drums. The guitars lack a lot of low end, and the bass seems nonexistent. It took me awhile to get used to the snare drum from drummer George Kolias from the previous NILE effort, it was a little high and lacked a bit of power. Why is it so many death metal drummers can put so much effort into playing at top speed, yet they don’t know how to tune up their drum kits? The snare drum this time around has a noticeable “clang” to it. It’s not huge, but it’s noticeable, as well as many other pieces from the drum kit come close to sounding like cans. I really don’t see any good reason why this album should be lacking in production values.
As for the music, I have to wonder if the band was even trying for “Ithyphallic”. Not only are these all the same super shredding, high speed runs, ultra fast-tempo and super-heavy slow Egyptian jams you’ve heard before, but it’s like they were created without any of the passion or fire of the previous albums. I’ll ask again, were they even trying this time? Where are all the hooks and catchy songs crafted with the same amount of fervor of all the former albums? All the physical skill an artist can muster is nothing to the enthusiasm of truly creating something unique, which is why the early NILE albums could get away with raw production and less physical skill back then.
As much as I like NILE, the songs on “Ithyphallic” will simply get lost as filler in my album collection.