|Review: Nile - Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka|
|Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka|
Label: Relapse Records
Year released: 1998
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: February 26, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka
Rated 4.15/5 (83%) (40 Votes)
Nile have been getting a lot of ink lately with the release of "In Their Darkened Shrines", all of it deserved. So it seems a good time to go back and examine this, the first album released by a band that has become one of the biggest in death metal. "Catacombs" (I ain’t typing the whole name over and over, thank you.) was put out in ’98, when the death metal scene in the US wasn’t exactly flourishing. The Gothenburg scene was just getting rolling over in Europe, in fact the underground itself was just beginning to crawl back up out of the muck. This album helped a lot, proving that old-school death metal still had life in it, so to speak.
"Catacombs" is a brutal, heads-down death metal album; short, furious, and evil. All the things that would later define the Nile sound are here, mostly in an embryonic form. From the chants and weird instrumentation to the oriental guitar picking and of course the ancient Egyptian horror themes. The whole package smacked people upside the head with its originality, as well as the extremely technical musical assault. While nowhere near as sprawling and epic as "In Their Darkened Shrines", the music on this debut is still highly complex and challenging.
The CD is beautifully presented, with arresting yellow and red design taken from ancient Egyptian art. Any album with a picture of a mummy (a real one) on the cover is cool in my book. Lyrics are included, which is also very cool, as they are quite involved and refer to ancient myth and history. The album is short – only about 30 minutes, but at this full-throttle pace any longer would probably be too much.
This is a great death metal CD, and I actually prefer this, in a way, over their later work. Its not as varied and epic, but for sheer relentless fury, this has few equals.
Standout Tracks: Serpent Headed Mask, Ramses Bringer of War, Stones of Sorrow
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