Album Review: Rivers Of Nihil – Monarchy

If you’ve ever wished there was a band that sounded like Between The Buried And Me but with more focus on the death metal elements or indeed, if you longed for Death to take their cue from early Opeth records, then you need look no further than Pennsylvania natives Rivers Of Nihil and their splendidly nasty sophomore record, ’Monarchy’. As modern death metal goes, it’s pretty much bang on the mark as the band present their own take on the classic Floridian sound with an air of atmospheric malevolence that allows it to sound fresh as well as familiar.

In essence this is an album of 2 parts. The opening 6 tracks are a relentless onslaught of riffage and total mosh, whereas the closing 4 cuts, led by the wonderfully intricate title track, descend more and more into prog-infused death trickery. The title track itself is an in-your-face shredfest that recalls Nile at their finest while bringing some serious progressive licks to the fore. The fluidity of the journey from out-and-out violence to more complex but less edgy closers is impressive, and as such the tension melts away over time rather than being killed dead.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBoZXiuYO_c&w=100&h=420]

Lead track ‘Sand Baptism’ shows the band at their finest with what can almost be termed as a chorus by way of the hypnotic “I am the sun/I am the moon” refrain augmented by the focussed and calculated chaos of the song’s structure. The production throughout is tighter than a ducks chuff and increases the feeling of tautness and intensity even further./p>

In what seems to be a vintage year for modern death metal, a number of bands are crawling out of the dying embers of the wreckage left by the deathcore bandwagon and stepping up to the plate with no little strength. Rivers Of Nihil are most definitely up there with the best that 2015 has spat out thus far and certainly deserve the attention that ‘Monarchy’ craves.

3.5/5

Monarchy by Rivers Of Nihil is out now on Metal Blade Records.

Rivers of Nihil links: Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Rob Fearnley.

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