(In this post guest writer Austin Weber reviews the new album by Rivers of Nihil. He also took the live photos included with the review.)
For the last few years, Reading, Pennsylvania’s own Rivers Of Nihil have seen their profile continue to rise through a combination of excellent EP releases and a lot of dedicated touring. Last year all that hard work payed off as Metal Blade Records decided to sign them, and now that October is upon us, their full-length debut The Conscious Seed Of Light arrives.
While Rivers of Nihil began as a hybrid of rich old-school and new-school death metal influences, they’ve wisely developed their sound further. On this debut the band have matured and are just as comfortable easing back on the aggression and letting reflective atmospheric moments develop and flourish. Unlike some other bands who have incorporated these kinds of sounds into their death metal framework, Rivers Of Nihil never allow them to become the focus for whole songs. They merely let those moments flavor and enhance parts of most tracks. So in the end you still get the experience of being bombarded by an angry wall of sound, and the songs don’t lose any aggressive appeal. Then, as an added bonus, their sorrowful excursions lend a gnawing melancholy to the music that is quite emotive.
Getting to witness Rivers Of Nihil live recently for the first time was when the new songs really started to click for me. Their performance was powerful and new songs like “Rain Eater”, “Mechanical Trees”, and “Airless” took on an even greater weight and passion that was impressive. Sometimes a live performance can realize the true potential of what a band is attempting to achieve even more effectively than the sounds on the studio album.
While on the subject of the band’s live show, special praise needs to go out to vocalist Jake Dieffenbach, whose deafening roar is no product of studio enhancement. He has a volume and power that few can match. Meanwhile, what the maelstrom guitarists Joe Kunz and Brody Uttley have so expertly crafted is intense. They fly through a diverse range of technical, aggressive, melancholic, and groovy riffs that in their totality sound like a dense amalgamation of Morbid Angel meets Behemoth, with shades of Spawn Of Possession, Meshuggah, and maybe a touch of Gojira present.
The nimble finger-work of their talented bass player Adam Briggs pops up frequently in the mix. He plays some very cool bass parts in addition to pulling off all the throat-scraping screams you hear on the album. Finally we come to the hard-hitting percussive backbone of drummer Ron Nelson, who laces each song with thunderous feats of relentless death metal dexterity, equal parts Inferno and George Kollias in style.
In just a few short years the talented members of Rivers Of Nihil have crashed into the collective death metal consciousness and in The Conscious Seed of Light they have created one of the finest modern death metal albums. Now they stand as one of the best newcomers carrying the torch for a new generation. The Conscious Seed Of Light truly is an album worthy of the hype and worthy of your money and time as well.
The Conscious Seed Of Light comes out October 15th through Metal Blade Records. The entire album can be streamed via the Metal Blade link below.