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Nile | ‘Black Seeds Of Vengeance’


There was a time you couldn’t move for this album’s t-shirt.

That says a lot about what Nile achieved with it – and why this album became a crucial gateway piece for a new generation of death metal fans.

Eighteen years is a terrifying amount of time to have elapsed for an album that still feels modern.

But the really interesting thing about ‘Black Seeds’ is how Nile managed to bring a new cohort of fans on board on the basis of the album before it.

Because that was no sure thing.

‘Catacombs’ may have thrilled an underground gagging for someone – anyone – to come along and give death metal a fresh sound. And that it most certainly did.

But objectively – to a wider audience – it was an absolutely forbidding listen, largely down to the impenetrable production.

Its cult following however saw it through, creating new genre heroes out of Karl Sanders, Chief Spires and Pete Hammoura and, in large part, their imagery.

And so to ‘Black Seeds’, which would come to dominate the underground for a year.

They’d tidied up the production, but only just: it’s incredibly tightly packed, boomy and scooped. But Derek Roddy’s drumming left even former tub thumper Pete Hammoura in the shade. And that’s saying something.

His work on this remains a joy, even to those who view his style – and that of Tony Laureano, or George Kollias- as somewhat impersonal, efficient or emotionless. In order for Nile to solidify their reputation as prime movers, they needed the best in the business at that time.

And aside from Flo Mournier, Derek Roddy was as good as it got. He was a new generation of death metal drummer, doing things even Sandoval couldn’t do.

‘Black Seeds’ hit the then young, emerging death metal fans of the future.

It was Suffocation for people who’d never heard of Suffocation.

Technical, precise, fast and extreme. And it’s best moments are still fantastic.

That harmonised melodic break half way through ‘Defiling The Gates Of Ishtar’ was and is a masterful interplay of dual guitar and drum brio, pirouetting around its own rhythm as the drums go at 100mph.

Filmic boom in the ‘Black… seeds… of vengeance’ chorus that demands chanting crowds.

The rolls, cymbal snaps and clacking speed of ‘Masturbating The War God’, culminating in its almost 1940’s silver screen movie style climax – the best moment on the album.

The beastly, monstrous low hammer on groove that closes ‘Multitude Of Foes’, leading to the firecracker start of the almost preposterously fast ‘Chapter For Transforming Into A Snake’.

The fast ticking of Roddy’s ride cymbal is a constant presence alongside the Death style harmonies and z-tuned riff-base.

Can I remember individual Nile riffs, as opposed to melodic breaks and wailiing solos?

Not many: they’re still buried in there. But this album was about the effect of the whole piece.

So there it is.

They made an album that through well deserved hype, proper music, uncompromising attitudes and a certain whacky vision managed to push through to an entirely new audience.

You couldn’t have predicted it, especially on the basis of the obscuritant ‘Catacombs’, but it happened, and it happened big time. I remember their tour from the album: it was packed out.

And all of this in an album that even the most defensive underground purist could not gainsay a note of. There was no sell out here.

It’s been enjoyable pulling this one out from the vaults – another case of going back to an album you think you know it all about, are tired of, or just more cynical about.

But this was and is a cracker.

Earl Grey ::: 20/08/18



16 Comments
  1. An absolute monster of an album. It’s sooooo heavy. What cane after seemed even more heavy. For me when I heard Annihilation Of The Wicked I was floored. 3 great albums that still sound fresh. Black seeds going on now.
    I love this feature. Great for a refresh and also heating new music.

  2. Fantastic album. I’ve had it on a couple of times this year too for some reason as it’s not one I’ve reached for in a long time prior to that. The perfect symbiosis of technical playing and frighteningly dark, suffocating atmosphere. Those highlights you pointed out are indeed incredible pieces of music. And yes, l had that t-shirt back then! I saw them in a packed out Eamon Doran’s back around that time and it was am experience indeed.

  3. Cryptic Stench Says:

    Always preferred Catacombs, Black Seeds is just too dense sounding for my liking. Those Doran’s gigs were great the one AC mentioned was an afternoon show with Riffmaster General (Ahem). That was the definitive Live Nile line up for me. Saw them a couple of years later with the next vocalist they had for about six minutes, wasn’t the same.

  4. Still have the longsleeve of this somewhere that never gets worn because of a stupid backprint

    Got this and In Their Darkened Shrines at the same time and listened to them constantly for months so the two are pretty much interchangeable for me, both absolutely monstrous albums

  5. Paul keohane Says:

    Incredible album!,was an a absolute fanatic of the band back then.Such an important album in the dm scene at the time.Was at those Dorans gigs,still have the tour shirts too.

  6. The show in Dorans supporting this one definitely stick out in my mind, though RMG were an odd choice for support. The shirts were ubiquitous at the time too – Had the hoodie myself.
    Around this time, Death Metal, and the underground as a whole felt like it was kicking back into gear after the wilderness years of the mid to late 90’s. I remember the buzz around BSoV being pretty big, and selling a boatload of copies in the retail store I was woking in on the day of release.
    Still, not an album I have returned to much in there intervening years.

  7. Ritualhammer Says:

    Modern classic alright and still my go to Nile album along with Annihilation of the Wicked. Gig in Dorans was amazing,too bad Death Metal matinees never caught on.

  8. blew me away this album, it renewed my interest in DM at the time , was just on another level. that symphonic keyboard break on ‘mastubating the war god’ while the drums are hammering along 1000mph brilliant!

  9. Nile touring this,and about 4/5 weeks later Morbid angel came over on the Gateway’s tour,great buzz at the time.

  10. open face surgery Says:

    First 3 albums are bona fide classics. Whelan’s in 03 was my first death metal gig. Crushing. Hands up for the longsleeve, had a hoodie as well.

  11. Kind of lost track with them the last few years, what’s their recent stuff like?

  12. MassiveTractor Says:

    ^^ all savage in my eyes. Ithyphallic has one of their heaviest tunes, Eat of the Dead. The latest one is just them at their best. The progressions are only slight of course when you consider how high a level those early albums are. Annihilation of the wicked is the weakest with Kollias I find.

  13. Jaysus Riffmaster General, that’s a blast from the past!!

  14. First intro to Nile and anything this heavy. Still a shattering album to this day. Very much worked toward informing my tastes.

  15. Tezcatlipoca Says:

    This is honestly one of the greatest Death Metal albums of all time. Definitely in the top 20, no doubt.

    Gonna listen to it now.

  16. gimmicky shite. the egyptian sounding parts are just thrown on top of the death metal bits.

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