The Pitch: "Where Owls Know My Name is Rivers of Nihil's most visceral, accomplished, and satisfying offering to-date. Few metal bands will ever create anything with such scope and ambition....an album which is often just as punishing as its predecessors while assimilating ingredients from musical genres as varied as electronica, jazz, alternative, folk, and the golden age of Shrapnel Records." Progressive death metal via Metal Blade.
What I Like: This album is absolutely brilliant. I never really got into Rivers of Nihil with their previous outings, but one listen to the sax interlude on "The Silent Life" and I knew this was something different altogether. Merely taking in the breathtaking atmosphere of intro track "Cancer / Moonspeak" should be enough to convince you that this is not your average progressive death metal record. There are layers upon layers of impressive instrumentation, all coming together to form absolutely gorgeous, expansive compositions.
Taken individually, there is plenty to love about any one of these performances. The drumming is an avalanche of cascading toms, the guitarwork is diverse and emotionally evocative, and the bass guitar never plays second fiddle to anyone with some highly prominent grooves. Furthermore, whether playing up proggy cleans or barking out harsh snarls, the vocals on this album command your attention. When all of these components come together, joined by additional Enslaved synths, sax, and even the occasional organ ("Subtle Change"), it's a recipe for songs that surround and seep within you. Even the short, industrialized interude "Terrestria III: Wither" manages to captivate my every cell.
Critiques: I have no major complaints. My only nitpick is that the title track feels like a more fitting conclusion. I would have repositioned "Capricorn / Agoratopia" elsewhere or even snipped it off altogether. It's a good song, but it disrupts the flow of the album for me and feels tacked on after the emotional closure of "Where Owls Know My Name."
The Verdict: Rivers Of Nihil have outdone themselves. This is an album that checks off all the boxes when it comes to musicianship, intrigue, and leaps forward in both songwriting and creativity. Where Owls Know My Name is sure to end up on many year end lists, and we're only in the first quarter of 2018. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.
Flight's Fav's: A Home, Old Nothing, Death Is Real
-Review by FlightOfIcarus
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