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Nile+ Sinister+ No Return
sala La Capsa, Barcelona-18 de Oct 2002
Produce Dimensió Rock
Fotos: MarceRock - Indyrock



Karl Sanders - guitarra y voz
Dallas Toler-Wade - guitarra y voz
Jon Vesano - bajo y voz
Tony Laureano - batería y percusión

La banda mas interesante y de mayor actualidad dentro del death metal visita España con su sensacional ultimo disco "In Their Darkened Shrines" recien publicado. Todo parece indicar que el futuro del death esta en sus manos gracias a un Death Metal brutal, intenso y pesado. Si a esto añadimos la innovacion conceptual, letristica e incluso musical, con la utilizacion de instrumentos de aire egipcio, derivada de su pasion por el clasico Egipto es facil imaginar el interes que esta banda suscita. 
Formados en 1993  NILE combinan su interés por la historia de Egipto, su cultura y tradiciones con la ferocidad del death metal moderno y toques sinfónicos en la composición y la ejecución de sus temas.
Tras haber girado con Craddle of Filth y Cannibal Corpse este mismo año y haber sido alabados por la crítica a nivel mundial NILE presentan su nuevo disco, "In their Darkened Shrines" (Relapse, 2002).La banda ha sido descrita por la prestigiosa publicación Kerrang! como "los salvadores del death metal"; aquí tienes las oportunidades para comprobarlo dentro de la gira europea que les acerca a España

La prensa internacional opina sobre Nile
"In Their Darkest Shrines is de overtreffende trap van death metal in het kwadraat!" ~ OOR Netherlands
"Death Metal album of the year." ~ Metal Hammer UK
"With 'In Their Darkened Shrines' NILE has entered the top 5 of the death metal rankings. Let's hope that Morbid Angel's next album can keep up." ~ Rock Hard Germany
"There may be other bands worthy of a similar degree of praise, but as things stand, NILE are death metal's saviours."  ~ Kerrang! UK
"After the big success of  'Black Seeds Of Vengeance' (2000) NILE did it again, and with 'In Their Darkened Shrines' they made a big step forward, with the #1 position in the worldwide death metal rankings getting closer. Without any doubt NILE's 'In Their Darkened Shrines' is the best US death metal release of the year!" ~ Metal Hammer Germany
"You must have 'In Their Darkened Shrines' in your collection!" ~Metal Heart Germany
"This month's Death Metal must-have!!!" ~ Heavy Oder Was Germany
"NILE confirms it's status as top act with 'In Their Darkened Shrines'. NILE shows it's got more to offer than just death metal. What a brilliant album! " ~ Mindview Belgium
"Whoever buys  NILE's new album 'In Their Darkened Shrines' isn't throwing their money out the window, on the contrary, they are adding a milestone to their music collection..." ~ Metal World Switzerland
"Nile did an hell of an album and deserves largely their status of leader of the 2nd Death metal Wave." ~ Hard Rock France

Los temas de In Their Darkest Shrines, comentados por Karl Sanders (Guitars/vocals) de NILE

The Blessed Dead
The phrase, "the Blessed Dead," is a reference to those who obtain the "blessed" condition in the afterlife:  the beautified condition of eternal life in the presence of Osiris in the Sekhet-Aaru, or "Field of Reeds."  Those who had lived a moral life, observed the proper burial rites and procedures, and possessed all the correct magickal spells to navigate the treacherous and horrific Egyptian underworld, who could recite the 42 negative confessions, and whose hearts were found to be pure at the "Weighing of the Heart," were then allowed to be "Osirified" - to become a person like as unto Osiris - and enjoy a pleasant afterlife as one of the blessed dead.
Proper burial, though, was an expensive undertaking.  It was usually afforded only by pharaohs, priests, and the wealthy class.  What of those who could not afford the extravagant tombs, mummification, magickal amulets, and costly papyrus texts on which were written the necessary magical spells for successfully navigating the underworld? Even linen, which was used to wrap the mummies, was so expensive in ancient Egypt that people had to save what little scraps of it they could for years to have enough to have themselves wrapped.  Also of mention would be the cost of professional mourners, embalmers, and priests for the "Opening of the Mouth" ceremony.  This was all extremely expensive.  Even a wealthy person in ancient Egypt would spend a lifetime saving and preparing for his or her burial and afterlife. I suppose it is no small coincidence that the religious priests were directly involved in the embalming industry.

But what of the middle and lower classes of people - the common working man? What then of the slaves and servant classes?  If all these costly preparations and arcane knowledge were essential to achieving a state of blessedness in the afterlife, would a person of limited financial means be condemned beforehand to burn in torment in the afterlife, so only the wealthy became the Blessed Dead?  While most of the populace certainly accepted this fatalistic concept - and by all that we know of ancient Egypt, embraced life and the hope of an eternal afterlife - most ancient Egyptians probably were resigned to do whatever funereal preparations were within their means.  It stands to reason, however, that certainly some small number of lower income / slave / working class people (predestined, of course, to certain financial / spiritual doom, as upward caste mobility was very limited in ancient times) would be less than inclined to accept at face value the idea that, no matter what, by the end of their lives they would not be able to afford to be buried as one of the blessed dead.  Would they be resigned to their eternal fate, or live their lives with subversive viewpoints - perhaps rebelling against the established religious order, or perhaps choosing to worship amongst the plethora of "other gods" of the Egyptian pantheon?  (Budge refers to them as, "Wretched little gods.")
Certainly the existence of the ancient cult worship of the god, Set, is not without some sort of seditious causality.  Perhaps these, then, are the countless legions of souls damned to fiery pits of torment in the underworld:  the "Hated of Ra" or "Enemies of Osiris."  This probably would also liken these wretched and lost souls to the followers of Set and his Sebau fiends, who were the original enemies of Osiris and precursor role models on which later religions based their ideas of "Hell" and "Satan" and his "infernal legions."  I am reminded of John Milton, who, in Paradise
Lost, wrote of Lucifer, after he had been cast down and came to realization of his unrepentant autonomy, "It is better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven." And thus, that brings us full circle to the chorus refrain of "The Blessed Dead," complete with infernal choirs of the underworld defiantly proclaiming, "We Shall Never Be The Blessed Dead."

Execration Text
Among the most sinister objects from the ancient world are the figurines in human shape which were used to cast spells on the persons they depicted.  Such objects survive to this day usually only when they are buried as a part
of a rite, and usually in the vicinity of a tomb or necropolis. Archeologists have found the remains of such rites at the royal cemeteries of Giza, Saqqarra, Lisht, and at several forts in Nubia. 
Stone, wax, or mud figures, or broken clay tablets or clay pots, are inscribed with lists of the enemies of Egypt. The body of the figure is usually flattened to make room for the text, or sometimes a papyrus is inserted inside the body
cavity.  On the back, the arms, or the arms and legs, are bound together. The inscriptions found on them are called "execration texts." These texts threaten death to specific people. Often, they include the name, parentage, and title of the enemy, usually executed traitors or prisoners of war. The execration texts were mainly aimed at enemy rulers, hostile nations, and tribes in Nubia, Libya, and Syria-Palestine. Magikcal incantations and rites were used to cause death and suffering, and to prevent the angry spirits of the executed from taking vengeance on those who had condemned them.  Usually included in these texts are long-standing enemies of the state, as well as the personal enemies of those involved in the cursing rites. There is also often a catchall phrase against any man, woman, or eunuch who might be plotting rebellion.  Amongst the common people, the execration rituals were carried out after the killing of a personal enemy or the execution of criminals. By killing the enemy's name, which was an integral part
of the personality, this rite would extend the punishment into the afterlife. The spirits of defeated enemies or executed traitors were regarded as a continued supernatural threat, which needed to be met with magic. 

The wording of the texts is similar to that of contemporary spells on papyrus, which promise to protect against the malice of demons and ghosts.  Those named in the execration texts are referred to as "mut" - the dangerous dead.
It is also the word used to describe the troublesome dead in protective spells for private persons. The stone figures and red clay pots on which the execration texts were written were ritually broken as part of the cursing ceremony, in order to smash the enemy's power. A pit near the Egyptian fort of Mirgissa in Nubia contained hundreds of such pot shards, as well as over 350 figures. Deposits of figures have been found outside fortresses, tombs, and funerary temples.  The clay figures were burned and then buried with iron spikes driven through them, or nailed to the outer walls, as the bodies of executed traitors and foreign enemies sometimes were. The more elaborate enemy figurines were sometimes trussed up like animals about to be sacrificed.  Some are shown with their throats cut, the method used to kill sacrificial animals. The dismembered body of a Nubian and a flint sacrificial knife were found near the Mirgissa pit. Some Egyptologists believe that human sacrifices routinely accompanied execration rituals, while others have argued that the figures were normally a substitute for such sacrifices.

The song, "Sarcophagus," could be thought of as a continuation of the Nephren-Ka saga - perhaps a revisitation of the Lovecraftian mythos that this band has beenexploring since our earlier work.  In this latest chapter, whilst naively excavating in the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka, we have unwittingly awakened our protagonist from his long, restful
interment. After wreaking his underworld vengeance upon us for disturbing him from his oblivion, he is tormented by memories of the unholy transgressions that had caused him his anguished eternal entombment... In all seriousness, though, I sometimes get the uneasy feeling that perhaps it would be best to leave Lovecraft's characters sleeping, undisturbed in an eternal dormant state - dead, as it were, but dreaming.  Who knows what we might awaken?

Kheftiu Asar Butchiu
In the Book of Gates, another text describing the Egyptian underworld, within the Eighth Division of Night is the Gate of Set-Hra. The scenes depicted in this chapter describe some of the tortures which are inflicted upon the original enemies of Osiris. It is impossible for Osiris to slay all of his enemies at once, even though they are in his power. While various batches of them are awaiting their turn at the Block of Slaughter, they are kept tightly fettered and bound.  One of the forms of torture depicted describes the "Kheftiu Asar Butchiu," i.e., the enemies of Osiris who are to be burned.

Their arms are tied behind their backs in positions which cause intense pain, and they are doomed to stand and receive in their faces the fire which the serpent Khetti is about to spit at them, and then be hacked to pieces and burnt. Horus commands the serpent Khetti, saying, "Open thy mouth!  Distend thy jaws and belch forth thy flames against my father's enemies!  Consume their souls by the fire which issueth from thy mouth and by the flames which art in thy body."

Unas Slayer of the Gods
Unas was the ninth and last Pharaoh of the 5th Dynasty.  He is said to have lived from 2375 to 2345 B.C., but some Egyptologists date him as far back as 3330 B.C.  The internal structure of his pyramid is known for incorporating
several innovative features, but is most recognized for the inclusion of vertical lines of hieroglyphs on the walls of the vestibule and burial chamber. 

When Maspero opened the Unas pyramid in 1881, he found the texts covering these stone walls to be extremely difficult to decipher, because of their archaic characters, forms, and spellings.  These were magickal/religious
texts, designed to ensure the safe passage of the Pharaoh into the next world. They are known today as the "Pyramid Texts."  According to these texts, Unas became great by eating the flesh of his mortal enemies and then
slaying and devouring the gods themselves.  Those gods that were old and worn out (Egyptian gods aged and died) were used as fuel for Unas¹s fire. After devouring the gods and absorbing their spirits and powers, Unas journeys through the day and night sky to become the star Sahu, or Orion. While this is certainly not the first reference to cannibalism in Old Kingdom texts, what is notable is the method by which the Pharaoh Unas achieves
deification and immortality:  by turning on the gods, slaying and then devouring them, and thus ascending to the heavens to become the star Orion. The concept was remarkable to Maspero, who found the idea to be of
"absolute savagery."  Maspero seemed to be reeling from a confrontation with a symbolic revival of pre-dynastic cannibalistic rites - which are suggested, according to Maspero, by the gnawed and disconnected bones found in certain early graves. 

Professor Petrie suggests that at the original Sed festival, the tribal king appears to have been sacrificed and devoured, so that his people might derive from his flesh and blood the power and virtues which made him great.  This practice was based on a belief in contagious magick.  Bulls and boars were eaten to give men strength and courage, deer to give fleetness of foot, and serpents to give cunning.  The blood of slain and wounded warriors was drunk so that their skill and bravery might be imparted to the drinkers.  Similarly, Unas feasts after death on the spirits of the gods, and on the bodies of men and gods.  He swallows their spirits, souls, and names, which are contained in their hearts, livers, and entrails; thus, Unas becomes all-powerful.  In attempting to bring this epic-length text to song form, it was necessary to make some minor concessions; firstly, that every version I have at home of the text is translated somewhat differently, and thus there is not any singularly definitive version; and secondly, that it would just not be possible to include every last line from the original text.  That would probably necessitate a song inconceivable in length.  As it is, in concise song lyric form, "Unas Slayer of the Gods" weighs in at about 12 minutes plus - and that is using what would be considered only the bare minimum essential lines for the development and presentation of the main aspects of the text.  For those interested in reading the entire work, there are several versions readily available online or by ordering from a local bookstore.  I typed in "Unas Slayer of the Gods" in a couple of search engines and was astounded at the number of results that came back.

Churning the Maelstrom
 Last year, after the release of Black Seeds of Vengeance, I received an e-mail containing the text of a work whose origins had until then been completely unknown to me.  Entitled, "The Chapter for Bringing Heka to those who Burn," the author claimed it was part of a larger collection of works known as "The Book of Resurrecting Apophis." In Egyptian mythology, Apophis is also known as Apep, the terrible monster serpent who, in dynastic times, was a personification of the darkness of the darkest hour of night.  Apep is the dreaded embodiment of utter evil in the form of a giant snake that arises anew each night to struggle against the Sun god, Ra.  Against Apep, Ra must not only fight, but must successfully conquer every night, before he could rise again in the east as the morning sun, lest darkness and chaos engulf the entire earth during the day as well.  Apep was both crafty and evil doing, and, like Ra,
possessed many names; to destroy him it was necessary to curse him by each and every name by which he was known. 
In Egyptian papyri, Apep is always represented in the form of an enormous serpent, into each undulation of
which a knife is stuck.  In the Book of Gates, we see him fastened by the neck with a chain (along which is fastened the Goddess, Serqet), the end of which is in the hands of a god, and also chained to the ground with five chains. 
Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Apophis is also the name the Hyskos king Aussere adopted during his reign over the
conquered and subjugated Egypt of 1570 B.C. The Hyskos had invaded Egypt and established their new political and religious capital city, Avaris, in the delta region of Egypt.  Avaris is also the site of the original Temple of Set.  Set (or Sutekh, to the Hyskos) was the chief god of the Hyskos at that time, but in Egyptian mythology since
pre-dynastic times, Set was the murderous brother of Osiris, and the original ultimate embodiment of the forces of darkness, chaos and evil, at whose command was the monster serpent, Apep. During the early period of the Hyskos occupation, the Hyskos faced little significant opposition.  But during the reign of Apophis I, the Theban princes of Egypt rose up to drive the Hyskos back out of Egypt, a feat that is recounted on two large stelae set up by Kamose in the Temple of Amun at Karnak. The text which I received was in three languages - Egyptian, Greek, and modern English, along with rubric instructions for the proper recitation of the chants, which are to be memorized and repeated as a sort of mantra, and as such should be spoken in Egyptian rather than English. The translations were given only to throw light upon the meanings of the spell. Upon closer examination of the text, it seems to bear superficial resemblance to Chapter 24 of the Papyrus of Ani, "The Chapter for Bringing Magick to Ani," (which is also known in some Books of the Dead as "The Chapter for Gaining Power," and in modern ritualmagick as "The Gathering of Heka.") 

But the similarities go immediately astray, for "The Chapter for Bringing Heka to those who Burn" seems as though it is, in this incarnation, a blasphemous underworld perversion of the chapters contained in the Theban Recension of
the Book of the Dead.  Perhaps it was intended for use by ancient cultists who would be intent upon using the darker forces of Chaos and the spiritual energy of those souls burning in the fiery pits of torment in the underworld for their
own cultist ambitions of upsetting the ordered structure of the ancient Egyptian world.  More likely, their goal was probably to alter the political balance of rival religious factions in the turmoil of those tumultuous intermediate times. By the end of the 14th Dynasty, Egypt's once considerable might as a nation had eroded due to internal political
struggles, so that it was unable to defend itself against invaders.  The Hyskos overwhelmed the Egyptians at the end of the 14th Dynasty, remaining in power until being expelled during the 17th Dynasty in a great war, which lasted, according to Manetho, about a quarter of a century.

I Whisper in the Ear of the Dead
The inspiration for this song comes from the exploits of Nectanabus, the last native Pharaoh of Egypt.  His reign was during the 4th century B.C. and he was historically rumored to be a great sorcerer and necromancer. It is believed that Nectanabus ruled Egypt, overcame his enemies and even kept his political rivals in check by means of the exercise of magickal and necromantic arts. He is credited with possessing the power to restore amputated limbs and the capacity to replace the heads of the slain and decapitated without injury.  Nectanabus was said to have been deeply learned in the wisdom of the oldest of the ancient Egyptians. He "knew what was in the depths of the Nile and in the pits of the Duat, and in the stars of the Heavens."  He was skilled in reading the stars, foretelling the future of
the unborn, and a master of communion with the dead.  He is also called "The Lord of the Earth" and is said to have"secretly ruled all earthly kings by magickal means."  It is said that he whispered his commands in the ears of
the dead, so that they should carry out his designs in the spirit world. According to early historians, Nectanabus exercised control of many of his enemies by enslaving the souls of the newly dead, commanding them to learn
the secrets of his enemies via the spirits of the underworld, and using this knowledge against his enemies.  Nectanabus continued his necromanticambitions, even using means of sorcery to achieve military ends until the day the gods decreed his rule should end and Nectanabus was forced to flee to Macedonia.

Wind of Horus
This song was inspired by a battle from a book called River God by Wilbur Smith.  The story takes place in the latter half of the 14th Dynasty, and is about a struggle to restore the majesty of the Pharaoh of Pharaohs.  Tanus, leader of the mightiest army of Egypt, the Blue Crocodile Regiment, hunted down and destroyed the Shrikes, a horrid nomadic tribe of thieves, rapists, and murderers that plagued the Egyptians.  The title of the song, "Wind of Horus," refers to the name of the boat of the Blue Crocodile Regiment.   It is an enchantment of the god Horus to cause the wind to blow the Egyptians¹ sails in time of need. 
The repeated chant in the song is to invoke the god Ashu, who robs the enemies of the Egyptians of their virtues, weakening and destroying them. The word Lanata is mentioned in the song.  Lanata was a bow made for Tanus by Taita the slave and was made of wood, ebony, rhinoceros horn, and ivory tusks. The bowstring was made out of the guts of a lion that Tanus had killed with his bronze-bladed war spear.  Tanus was probably the only one in his army strong enough to use the Lanata bow. It had so much tension that he had to use a different technique just to pull the bowstring back. Tanus practiced until he could shoot three arrows at a time piercing the heaviest of armor.

In their Darkened Shrines
This four-part epic is a tale very much inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, and to a lesser degree, Robert E. Howard.  It tells the story of a rebellious Serpent Cult who are plotting to overthrow Pharonic rule. They are attempting to raise the spirits of the ancient dead, to harness their arcane knowledge and build an army of undead legions.  The story takes place within the subterranean main chamber of the crypts of mummified reptiles (true enough, archaeologists have indeed unearthed entire necropolises containing thousand of mummified crocodiles, serpents, ancient Nile monitor lizards, and various other animals that were worshiped as personifications of the gods they represented). Within
these dark and bloodstained halls are not only the remains of three millennia of generations of priests and worshippers, but also the mummified corpses of all manner of glorified reptilian deities.  The leader of these rebels is standing in the midst of this vast array of Saurian entombment, inciting insurrection and preparing for some sort of
violent revolution.  Their ill-fated sedition comes to naught, however, when their temple is destroyed and they are all slain in a catastrophic violent climax. 

Whether this is perhaps divine intervention and retribution by the Sun god, Ra, or perhaps military action by the armies of the Pharaoh (who is a worshipper of Ra) putting down a violent rebellion, or merely the indiscriminate vengeance of the undead that the conspirators were seeking to enslave, is unclear.  The passage that tells of the destruction and demise of the rebel fiends is reminiscent of the magickal/religious ceremony in The Book of Overthrowing Apep, in which the terrible monster serpent Apep is forever crushed by the Sun god, Ra, never to rise up again.  In the aftermath, all that is left of the Temple, the Serpent Cult and their subterranean catacombs of tombs is a mass of rubble and forgotten ruins which are eventually covered over by the sands of time, explained in a passage that borrows quite liberally from The Nameless City by H.P. Lovecraft.


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