Rivers Of Nihil Review

Track 1: Heirless

This is one of those ominous gloomy, atmospheric tracks. I really don’t care much for songs that don’t have a sense of purpose. I am sure that with a title like Heirless it is supposed to have that sort of feel to it. But as a listener, it could have been a 30 second sound clip instead of a 2:24 long track. I feel like I am at a show and the band is going through a sound check, just jamming riffs that flow but without any actual song that is on the set list. Not the way I would start an album. End an album with it maybe but I would not want to set the bar low to begin an album. This will go down in history as the skip song. That song on some albums you just always skip.

Track 2: Perpetual Growth Machine

The track starts out with a mid tempo chugging and a solid beat double bass for a few bars then into blast beat intro with a guitar riff in the background. Panning the guitars, drum fill in the first verse. Few bars of mid tempo into blast beats. It is definitely a groove you can move to but so far it doesn’t have that “wow” factor. The vocals are not bad but a bit one dimensional. A nice little guitar solo which has that old school feel to the solo. Now the vocals have gained a bit more dimension but not mind blowing. The range is still in the same vicinity as the first verse. I will say there is a hearty amount of changes.  I will say that they do have a good song structure to this track. Then twenty seconds of looming bass line.

Track 3: Reign of Dreams

Blast beats and ominous guitar riffing. When the vocals kick in they feel like they are behind the instruments. The song really maintains the same feel throughout the majority of the song. Same groove and riffs with minor noticeable changes. I let out a big sigh and let the song finish with hopes track 4 has more to offer.

Track 4: Sand Baptism

Guitars fade in with nice little cymbal pattern on the drums to a melodic guitar riff. Then right into some distortion. Drum beats rolling off the toms into a double bass rollout then back into a drum beat, setting things up and into the verse. I still feel as though the vocals are behind the instruments. This is until right before the 1:30 mark that’s when the vocals seem to be in front of the instruments. Maybe that’s what they are going for to add dimension the vocals. I am not sure. Just to be on the safe side I will be listening to this album through other forms of audio delivery such as ear buds, headphones, speakers, car speakers, etc. I do enjoy the lyrics to this song. I just don’t know if they are trying to merge death metal with prog metal, technical metal and a dash of atmospheric ambiance. I feel like they just didn’t know what to do, so let’s do it all.

Track 5: Ancestral I

This starts right out with growls and blast beats. This song really maintains the same groove feel for 4:33 minutes. This is an average song, not above average by any means. This track is really teetering on the fine line of below average and average. Just when I thought the song couldn’t have been any more of a let down, the song ends. This song ended about the same way the HBO series the Sopranos ended. It left me scratching my head only with this I didn’t enjoy it until its final moment.

Track 6: Dehydrate

Nice guitar riff for starters. Wait! It’s over. Blast beats, I will say this, Alan does have talent for being a drummer. The guitars also seem to be talented. I can hear the bass through and Adam sounds pretty decent on drums. I just feel like this album so far was not their best work. I won’t waste your time for a breakdown of this song. It is just average, just like the last one.

Track 7: Monarchy

Ahh! Here we have an interesting beat. A nice guitar riff with a cool groove and a guitar solo to accompany. Then the one dimensional vocals kick in. I really enjoy the atmospheric groove to the song when it is present. The problem is that it diminishes to a death metal feel without any indication.  You have a pleasant groove, everything sounds good and boom! Death metal just kicked the door down and forced its way into the song. I get it they are a metal band but you need to set up these changes so that they are actually enjoyable by people with a lot of background in music.

Track 8: Terrestria II : Thrive

We have a hi-hat pattern and a atmospheric loom bass line with guitars swelling in. Now a cool groove, this has a nice groove to it so far. They set this up better than previous tracks; with how it changes into the distortion and heaviness of the song. Blast beats, a brutal yet atmospheric riff to it. I don’t want to speak to soon but I think we made it to the best track on the album. Guitar solo that fits well, double bass rolling out and a good bass presence. I am enjoying this song very much so far. More than half way through and this song is great with every change no matter how atmospheric, or heavy.  It maintains that great song structure. It does come with a catch though… there are no vocals on this song. No matter how many times we get blast beats and heavy riffing it has a cool feel to it that you can thoroughly enjoy. This is the one song I wish it didn’t end when it did. This is the top track hands down. They should have kept the whole album like this. This song is what makes this album get a better grade.

Track 9: Circles in the Sky

Ominous atmospheric riff, bass line comes in and fades into a distorted guitar solo, no drums yet, but this has a cool feel. A quick drum fill into a heavy drum beat double bass with a bar of a punchy quick double bass set up and the vocals kick in. Not bad though back to having an average sound.   Right around the half-way point it takes on its original cool groove.  The vocals kick back in and they are almost trying to maintain that cool groove while adding in the vocals. The more I listen to this song it does grow on you but I think it is because they are keeping that progressive atmospheric groove to it. This seems to be a much better track than the tracks earlier on.

Track 10: Suntold

This song also starts out with a nice groove, atmospheric and enjoyable to listen to. The vocals kick in around the :45 second mark. Keeping the groove while still keeping it heavy I feel like they found the right formula unfortunately not soon enough. This song is not as great as the previous two tracks but still a solid track to listen to.

After listening to this album I listened to it again and again and again, each time with a different set of headphones and speakers. I understand the concept behind the album, they are continuing with the concept/ storyline with their albums. Cool concept but not exactly original either.

 An album written about a futuristic time where the earth is a barren wasteland. I think I have heard that idea before

I feel as though this album was more of a disappointment, maybe they wanted the vocals to be over shadowed most of the time. If that is the case then they succeeded. However I did not enjoy that aspect of the album.  All in all the majority of the album is average at best, with three songs that were enjoyable. The talent is definitely there, but not their best work in my opinion.

-Badger \m/

also on The Metal Syndicate \m/

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