It seems that every time an artist is interviewed about his or her newest piece of work, they're quick to call the effort their "best yet," or be otherwise complimentary towards the album. After all, nobody in their right mind would doubt themselves in the faces of their fans and every musician strives to evolve and grow with every passing year. This sort of talk has become typical press fodder and I think most of us would rather form our own, unbiased opinions. This is why, when I read that NILE guitarist/vocalist Karl Sanders called the band's sixth album their "most eclectic offering to date," I took the comment with a grain of salt. For one, NILE has long been (in my opinion) one of death metal's most eclectic acts, at least in regards to their ability to push the genre to its limits with their exotic slant. Secondly, I just wanted the new album to kick ass. After being destroyed by "Ithyphallic" and seeing this band finally get the chance to reach a wider audience thanks to their spot on the '07 Ozzfest, it was a no-brainer that they would have to bring their A-game to keep the momentum going. Goddamn if they didn't deliver.
Not only does "Those Whom The Gods Detest" feature some of the most culturally diverse flavorings we've heard from NILE, but the disc also boasts some of the most progressive and focused examples of songwriting I've heard from any death metal album this year. With guitars that roar like a beast from another world, Sanders and Dallas Toller-Wade (who also plays bass on the album) tear through the monolithic opener "Kafir!" Classic NILE technicality mixed with plodding brutality and samples of Islamic prayer to drive the song's subject matter, this is one hell of a way to start an album. More straightforward tracks like "Hittite Dung Incantation" and "Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld" prove that few are equal to NILE when it comes to delivering a flawless performance on disc. The already renowned feet of drummer George Kollias fly faster and hit harder than ever, while Toller-Wade and Sanders' growls are often legible, yet never lacking in ferocity. The disc's longer tracks, "4th Arra Of Dagon" and the title track (both clocking in at over eight minutes) see Sanders make good on his promise to deliver a left-of-center piece of work. Both tunes bring an exotic array of instruments to the table, as well as run through a wide spectrum of tempo changes as dynamics. Strap yourself in for an epic ride with this pair of songs.
While "Annihilation Of The Wicked" will probably stand out as a favorite amongst the NILE faithful, the work they've done since that album has been equally impressive on many levels. "Those Whom The Gods Detest" is not a huge departure from anything this band has done in the past, but it is, perhaps, their most progressive release thus far. Like any high-caliber death metal album should, this disc is complex enough to challenge its listeners, yet brutal enough to give them an excuse to go nuts.