A technically astonishing piece of Egyptian-influenced death metal by a bunch of Americans from the swamps of Florida. For those not initiated in the relentless grind of thrashing guitars, double-bass tub-thumping and unholy growling vocals this is about as subtle as a horse's cock. And about as appealing as well. Make no mistake, this is brutal but in a market dominated by tedious and unchallenging MTV-friendly nu-metal, that any band can try and succeed in pulling this off is two welcome fingers in the face of Fred Durst and his pals.
from In Their Darkened Shrines (Relapse Relapse Records RLP6542), available on CD
If you are looking for an epic, detailed, scriptured text, infused with the basal roots of death metal, this song is it. Standing at a whopping 11:43 (minutes and seconds), this is one of the longest songs I've ever heard, apart from Dream Theater. Listen to the lyrics here, we don't have a bunch of nihilistic meatheads preaching about death and lost love, it rather contains text from the Pyramid of Unas (known as the Pyramid Texts). These texts are dated in Unas's reign, who was the last ruler of the 5th dynasty- most agree he was alive from 2375 to 2345 B.C., but as is seen on elyrics.net, some date him back to 5330 B.C. This date, combined with it's deific juggernaut of sound (perpetrated in the beginning with an echoed 'vena' intro compimented by an all mighty gong, and again in the bridge which sounds like the intro to the Dark Army from LOTR: Return of the King, with it's French horns and marcato kettle drum foundation), make for a truly musical masterpiece. This is the first death metal band I encountered whose lyrics had real meaning, origin, and context (much like DJ Cheb i Sabah's portrayal of texts from the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita). Listen to this the whole way through, the instrumentation is incredible, with a massive orchestrated sound about as subtle as a tidal wave. The bass drums constantly set up the rhythm for the entire work (hold the beginning, and about 8:20 through, as well as the conclusion), and the instinctive deep-throat, albeit gut lyrics add for the dark yet impressive overtone of this piece. I believe I can hear sitar, vena, and even 12-string guitar in this piece. Also, it is critical to acknowledge the chorus in the background- this really highlights the sovereign, godly quality of the song's tone. The arrangement is tight, constantly in rhythm, never behind, and well meshed together, indicating well thought-out composing. Great to listen to before a game of hockey, going to the gym, or if you are feeling weak and helpless- this piece will give you power. Enjoy it for what it is- a new, comforting taste in death metal. Listen to this piece, buy the album, and do research on Unas himself- you'll find a quite interesting history behind this ancient Egyptian ruler, which is the embodiment of Nile- their obsession with the ancient kingdom. 5 out of 5 starts for its genre.