Ithyphallic is the 5th full-length studio album by American death metal act Nile. The band shifted label from Relapse Records to Nuclear Blast Records before the release of Ithyphallic, so this is the band´s first release on Nuclear Blast Records. Ithyphallic was released in July 2007.
The band pretty much continue the brutal technical death metal attack from Annihilation of the Wicked (2005) on Ithyphallic. Ithyphallic is a bit more direct and not quite as epic as Annihilation of the Wicked (2005) though which will probably bring joy to some and disappoint others. The 10:01 minute closing track Even the Gods Must Die is quite the epic track though. The lyrical themes are as usual about ancient Egypt and we´re presented with exotic song titles such as Papyrus Containing the Spell to Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who Is in the Water and Laying Fire Upon Apep. The vocals by Dallas Toler Wade have become even better than on the predecessor IMO. They are a bit more decipherable, which is something I appreciate. The vocals are still extremely brutal though.
The musicianship is astonishing to say the least. Drummer George Kollias high energy precision playing is beyond impressive. He plays things on this album that shouldn´t be possible. But don´t fear that he sounds like a machine. He is one of those rare technical death metal drummers who are able to put a human touch into his precision playing. A unique force. The rest of the band are of course also very well playing and one technical yet brutal and catchy guitar riff is presented after another. While I said above that Ithyphallic isn´t as epic as it´s predecessor, the album is still very atmospheric and epic at times, which is one of the great assets of this album. To put atmosphere into brutal music like this is no easy task. The fact that Nile change pace often during songs also help bring great variation to the music. Just as on the last album the songs are all distinguisable from each other. Something that can be a real problem on some extreme metal albums. It´s not like I can hum along to the songs but they are easily recognizable with memorable hooks. The album might take a few spins to sink in, but once you get there it won´t let go.
The production by Neil Kernon is brutal yet detailed. A real treat.
Ithyphallic is yet another high quality death metal album by Nile and it´s hard not to be impressed by what the band has conjured up this time. I´m not sure if I think Ithyphallic is quite as interesting conceptually as Annihilation of the Wicked, which was an album with a really excellent flow, but it´s definitely up there with Annihilation of the Wicked and fully deserves a 4.5 star rating.