How does NILE do it? Album after album is a death metal whirlwind, a masterpiece of Egyptian sounds and mythology, the riffs otherworldly and never matched, the guitar tone sharp and biting, and the arrangements ridiculously complex, yet oddly accessibly. "Ithyphallic", the band's fifth album and first for Nuclear Blast, is another death metal juggernaut. I'm undecided as to whether it equals its amazing predecessor, "Annihilation of the Wicked", but it sure as hell comes close. With Neil Kernon's production wizardry, the sound is immaculate and the feel one of overwhelming heaviness.
What is most apparent about "Ithyphallic" is just how good guitarist/vocalist Dallas Toler-Wade is as a frontman. Having recently seen NILE live, I can attest to his gargantuan stage presence. His growls on "Ithyphallic" are strong and significantly more decipherable than I've heard on any prior release. His style on a song like highlight "As He Creates So He Destroys" is powerful, the track itself offering a crushing chorus. It is sure to be the next NILE classic. The same can be said for the title track and its monstrous roar of "Anoint my phallus with the blood of the fallen", it too a towering giant of a song. The riffs and leads on the album as a whole are earsplitting and outright dangerous, which can be said about any of the previous releases. The beauty of it is how NILE is able to keep coming up with such incredible riffs, defined by speed, technicality, and sheer ferocity. Once again, the album contains several sections of Egyptian instrumentation, including the beginning portion of "What Can Be Safely Written", an instrumental called "Infinity of Stone", and on epic album-closer "Even the Gods Must Die". Rather than constant speed, the album mixes in slower, sickening riff churns and tempo breaks that work particularly well. The slower-paced "Eat of the Dead" features some of the sickest, string-bending riffs heard from NILE to date. Unsurprisingly, drummer George Kollias is a friggin' animal, his foot speed a blur and his dexterity inhuman. What else would you expect from a NILE drummer?
NILE doesn't know how to make a bad album and "Ithyphallic" is yet another example of it. It is everything a fan would expect. Let's face it, we are talking about one of the greatest death metal bands of all time. So how could you not pick up a copy of "Ithyphallic"? Go forth and buy it.