After taking a few lumps from the metal public on 2012's "At the Gate of Sethu", Karl Sanders, all that's left of the original NILE lineup that stunned the metal underground with their Egyptian-themed death grind classic "Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka", along with Dallas Toler-Wade, and George Kollias welcome new bassist Brad Parris for a rejuvenating campaign of shred-tech. The core trio recorded NILE's newest effort, "What Should Not Be Unearthed" and Lord, did they go the extra mile. While most fans felt "Sethu" was lacking, "What Should Not Be Unearthed" will restore their faith. It's the best NILE album since the early years, and better, it stays on the hunt for satisfying melodies while bludgeoning every chance it can.
The only way to truly describe "What Should Not Be Unearthed" is to call it a NILE album. Those following this band knows what that means: a full onslaught of tech-heavy, all-encompassing mayhem where blast beats whip as much of an inferno as Karl Sanders's fire belching and the band's ceaseless fret scorching. This time, though, extra attention was given to producing musicality on top of suffocating grind.
You can hear it in the grimy neck slides all over the album, but tambourine shakes caught in the midst of Sanders's guttural barfing on "Negating the Abominable Coils of Apep" are subtle shots to instill catchiness. They're dropped quickly on "Apep", but peppering note sequences also give the song character amidst its ugliness. Ditto for Karl's punctuations inside his bellowing on "Liber Stellae Rubeae" which come along with chord structures that attempt to make an actual song out of it. By the time "Liber Stellae Rubeae" lumbers to finish, there's actually a point where listeners can hum along, as they can to the pipes and lutes, which lead off the sweltering yet unfathomably melodic "In the Name of Amun".
The whipping tenacity of "Evil to Cast Out Evil" is met head-on with harmonious chords that combine to produce a head-bobbing groove. George Kollias kicks on the thrusters and grinds the tar out of the song until it returns to the core harmony, opening up for a gorgeous guitar solo. By contrast, the gory chords and Karl Sanders's vomiting on "Age of Famine" are abusive. Yet, there is the opportunity for a winding groove to emerge from the slow and punishing tech parts. Gongs, percussion, baglama saz and glissentar writhe throughout the 1:30 instrumental "Ushabti Reanimator" as a cinematic set-up to the blazing "Rape of the Black Earth". Even better, the guitar slides on the gruesome "To Walk Forth from Flames Unscathed" are absolutely sick.
If fans were unforgiving of what NILE produced in 2012, their voices of disapproval were well-heard. "What Should Not Be Unearthed" is tremendous. Not that this style of music could ever hold mass appeal, this album is catchy as all hell — If your ears can keep up with it.