After coming off the success of the previous 2005 album Annihilation of the Wicked, NILE used it to set the standard of death metal even higher with that incredibly savage release. Their songwriting was tighter than ever, and the addition of Greek drummer George Kollias (SICKENING HORROR) cemented the surgical precision of NILE’s performance. Fast-forward to 2007, and you have yet another massive slab of Egyptian-themed death metal via NILE’s new release titled Ithyphallic. Although Kollias has remained with the band, bassist Joe Payne (DIVINE HERESY) departed from the band prior to the recording of this release, which left vocalist and guitar player Dallas Toler-Wade also handling bass duties in the studio. Chris Lollis (LECHEROUS NOCTURNE) has since joined the band on bass for live performances, and his vocals were actually included in the recording on the track “Eat of the Dead.” Despite the minor lineup change, this album is the culmination of everything NILE has written up to this point. “Ithyphallic” means “a grossly obscene or indecent poem,” and the raw talent on this album is definitely grossly obscene in its excellence.
You can find nods to previous albums everywhere. The darker atmosphere is reminiscent of both Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka and Black Seeds of Vengeance, plus more orchestration ala In Their Darkened Shrines has been included this time around for an even fuller sound. Only two tracks, “What Can Be Safely Written” and “Even The Gods Must Die,” approximate epic song length greater than eight minutes most similar to other songs like “To Dream of Ur” and “Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten.” However, the tendency most notable is far heavier groove throughout the album like Annihilation’s “Lashed to the Slave Stick” and Catacombs’ “Barra Edinazzu.” You can hear such influence most directly on Ithyphallic with the song “As He Creates So He Destroys” as well as on the album’s single, “Papyrus Containing The Spell To Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who Is In The Water.”
Other notable qualities of this album are the improved drum production and what is easily the band’s best vocal performance to date. Some fans have complained that this album does not include extensive liner notes as did previous albums regarding the Egyptian history that forms the basis for the lyrics. However, this is likely due to a heavier influence from sources such as H.P. Lovecraft and the Necronomicon rather than specific instances in Egyptian history. Overall, Ithyphallic is a much darker albeit straightforward death metal journey through Egyptian themes, and it should easily place within the top five death metal albums of 2007. (Nuclear Blast Records)