Rivers of Nihil – Monarchy – Metal Blade Records – Release: Out Now.
Rivers Of Nihil began their long journey in 2009 and with the release of two EP’s they caught the attention of Metal Blade records. Helped by the mighty Erik Rutan they created their debut album “The Conscious Seed of Light” in 2012, a strong debut filled with technical death metal. Now it’s time to see if the band really has what it takes to join the upper ranks with their sophomore release “Monarchy”.
Rivers of Nihil is:
Brody Uttley – Guitars
Jake Dieffenbach – Vocals
Adam Biggs – Bass, Vocals
Alan Balamut – Drums
Jon Topore – Guitars
“Monarchy” has become a very personal album to Uttley who put a lot of personal feelings into the music. Emotions that really gained their grip on him due to personal hardships, in his own words ‘strong feelings of rage, sadness, hope and frustration’. The intro “Heirless” gives the listener a small peek into what is to come in terms of heaviness and a dark sense of brooding. And then we get the kick-off with “Perpetual Growth Machine” which surprises the listener with a sublimely clear production. From every part of the drum kit to the bass guitar, it’s all so audible and that’s thoroughly needed, because the music of this band is quite detailed.
The one minor fault in the sound mix is that Dieffenbach’s vocals tend to get drowned out now and then, which is a shame because he has a magnificent throat.
“Reign of Dreams” continues the heavy barrage and it’s at the start of “Sand Baptism” when we meet a very melodic side of RoH. From the more melancholic sound I’d guess this song is based on a lot of sadness Uttley had before writing the songs. It makes the shift to the full frontal assault of “Ancestral, I” all the heavier.
My favourite track is definitely the instrumental track “Terrestria II Thrive”, a title referring to the opening track of their debut album. This one’s a lot longer and the six minute song (plus outro) doesn’t disappoint, nor bore for one single moment. The biggest praise I could give is that it would be perfect for a modern day version of Cynic’s “Focus”album. Without the vocals it’s really up to the instruments to tell the story and they do it perfectly. It’s a superb blend of beauty and aggression. I’m really glad that “Circles in the Sky” continues on in the same vein, with added vocals as well as the superb closer “Suntold”. It’s almost as if these three songs were meant to be one long song, but were chopped into pieces. In a way the soft soundscape at the end of “Suntold” makes for a very refreshing ending after one brutal trip of an album, especially as there’s a very hopeful side to it.
These days it sometimes seems like technical death metal bands are a dime a dozen. Yet Rivers of Nihil prove that technical prowess and great song writing will always keep you on top. Right now they’re touring the US with the mighty Hate Eternal and it would be a real treat if they could make the jump to Europe as well!
Score: 4.6 out of 5
2. Perpetual Growth Machine
3. Reign of Dreams
4. Sand Baptism
5. Ancestral, I
8. Terrestria II Thrive
9. Circles in the Sky
Text by: Robert Popovic