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4.14 | 27 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2002


1. The Blessed Dead (4:53)
2. Execration Text (2:46)
3. Sarcophagus (5:09)
4. Kheftiu Asar Butchiu (3:52)
5. Unas Slayer of the Gods (11:43)
6. Churning the Maelstrom (3:07)
7. I Whisper in the Ear of the Dead (5:10)
8. Wind of Horus (3:46)
9. In Their Darkened Shrines: I. Hall of Saurian Entombment (5:09)
10. In Their Darkened Shrines: II. Invocation to Seditious Heresy (3:51)
11. In Their Darkened Shrines: III. Destruction of the Temple of the Enemies of Ra (3:11)
12. In Their Darkened Shrines: IV. Ruins (6:01)

Total Time: 58:43


- Karl Sanders / guitar, vocals, bass
- Dallas Toler Wade / guitar, vocals, bass
- Tony Laureano / drums, percussion, vocals
- Jon Vesano / session vocals

About this release

Label: Relapse Records
Release date: September 16th, 2002

Thanks to Vehemency for the updates


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Nile's In Their Darkened Shrines continues the band's thematic exploration of their "Middle Eastern and North African mythology viewed through a Lovecraftian lens" lyrical subject matter. In other words it's not a huge departure from a lot of early Morbid Angel in terms of what the band is actually singing about, and even less of a departure from the approach they took on their previous two albums.

Where Nile make a unique contribution is in their technical approach, which is presented brilliantly here, enjoying a production which lends great clarity to proceedings and highlights just how skilled and inventive the performances are. Toss in a few mini-epics like the multi-part title track and the devastating Unas, Slayer of the Gods and you should have have a winning combination here; however, Nile sabotage themselves by padding out the running time with bombastic marches and and intros and excursions and other bits which fill out the space between the songs needlessly. They do damn good death metal when they get going, but they take a few too many breaks from that here to maintain my interest.
By the time In their Darkened Shrines was released, Nile was already well established in the Death metal scene. The previous album, Black Seeds of Vengeance, brought together their signature sound of low end mixing with quick guitar lines and plenty of blasts, all under a strong Egyptian and Middle Eastern sounding banner. But this is where they refined it. Songs on In their Darkened Shrines gather more explorative structures, production becomes a lot clearer, and Nile finally arrives at their large, epic scale sound they are known for.

Along with Annihilation of the Wicked, Darkened Shrines is very much what standard Nile sounds like. Tons of energy in the crazy blasts with plenty of little phrygian modal guitar lines blazing through the ear. Right off the bat it distinguishes itself from the previous album, with a droning guitar and a wave of a choir bringing the album in with a dramatic tone, before blasting into the rest of the opening track, "The Blessed Dead". There is plenty of alternation, as per usual in Nile, between the incredibly fast blastbeats (just listen to "Churning the Maelstrom") and slow, pounding death riffs (most of "Sarcophagus").

Aside from the larger scale of sound and the more refined songwriting, Darkened Shrines introduces one of Nile's fan favorite characteristics, their long, epic songs. "Unas Slayer of the Gods" is an eleven-minute long death rampage, where the band impressively goes on for lengthy periods of time with their fast, aggressive riffs, rarely letting off save for a few pounding sections and some Egyptian-styled marches. "Unas" being a fan favorite, Nile became known as one of the better songwriting groups, especially among the technical death metal scene. This is not the only track that gives an epic scale, as the album closes on the four-part epic title suite "In their Darkened Shrines". It starts off completely with an Egyptian march, goes into some of Niles most aggressive songs ("Destruction of the Temple of the Enemies of Ra"), and closing out on a dark, slow, grandiose track highlighting Nile's best slow melodies.

All in all, "In their Darkened Shrines" exemplifies some of the best of Nile's music, and introduces many fresh new elements that you still don't see too much in technical death metal. The production is great, the songs are great, there's a giant, epic feel about the album, and it contains some of Nile's best tracks. Definitely a landmark in technical death metal, and recommended to any fan of extreme metal in general.
Catacombs have best acoustics for death metal!

This was the first Nile album I heard and I still remember a staggering impact this music had on me - trampling my brain like a playground lawn. An awesome experience for sure! IN THEIR DARKENED SHRINES is a brutal death metal at its finest, and saying it's executed by masterclass musicians is actually stating the obvious.

The sound is very dense and the low frequencies seem to be slightly highlighted. The music abound with extremely fast drumming, blasts, ultra technical solos and riffs. Some songs are slower and more atmospheric but they don't lessen the overall heaviness. If I was asked to mention truly epic and artistic death metal (in fact it's brutal death metal) it would be Nile. Really, this is so massive, uncompromising and harsh that combining it with more atmospheric sound might seem impossible. But these guys did it! The music they create is immersed in ancient Egypt ambiance, but it's not a synthesizer or mummy groaning what makes it that way. The riffs, the very structure of melodies determine its sound and character.

IN THEIR DARKENED SHRINES is definitely their best work to date. Every sound is intriguing, every riff crushing, every blast mind-blowing and the atmosphere breathtaking. You can't call yourself a death metal fan if you haven't heard this record.

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