REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

The Next Great Metal Act? Rivers Of Nihil Return With 'Monarchy'

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

With the album ‘Monarchy’, Rivers of Nihil may have just become the next great death metal act.

Rivers of Nihil are a relatively young band. Starting in 2009, their full first length release ‘The Conscious Seed of Light’ came in 2011. It was a worthy debut, relentlessly brutal and dripping in technical riffing. I was left wondering, along with many others, about just how much they could deliver with their sophomore release.

The answer to that question is far more than I could have fairly expected from any band, never mind such a youthful project.

Rivers of Nihil have announced that they intend to release albums with a seasonal concept, with one for each of the four seasons. ‘The Conscious Seed of Light’ was spring, and ‘Monarchy’ is summer.  On the story of the album, Adam Biggs (Bass, vocals and lyrics) says, "The Earth has been transformed into a vast desert wasteland, where after aeons of lifelessness, new beings begin to take shape and begin their journey as shepherds of the planet. But after a while, a class system forms from a sun-worshiping religious dictatorship, and these beings start to lose their way. Only the guidance of an ancient earthly force can help them save themselves as well the planet."

‘Monarchy’ is front loaded with the heaviest songs deliberately, and the more progressive songs come towards the end. The result is an incredibly cathartic album that builds quickly to an emotional crescendo before unravelling into a calmer, more morose atmosphere. The vocals are powerful and clear. The guitars are thick, fast and technical. The Drums punctuate highs and lows and provide an excellent grounding in some of the more meandering tracks. The Bass is high in the mix, has a great tone and adds a somewhat jazzy feel to the album in places. What more do you need?

Album opener “Heirless” immediately creates a sinister atmosphere. This is followed by heavy hitters “Perpetual Growth Machine” and “Sand Baptism”. “Ancestral, I” kicks you square in the chest with a primal, animalistic performance by vocalist Jake Dieffenbach. “Monarchy” is the beginning of the albums more proggy side and is the best example of the jazzy feel the bass gives this release. “Terrestria II: Thrive” has an incredibly melancholic atmosphere which bleeds over into “Circles in the Sky”.

There’s enough of Morbid Angel here to please older metalheads, and plenty of technical and complex musicianship which that will appeal to fans of bands such as Opeth and Obscura. ‘Monarchy’ is almost certain to appear in many end of year top ten lists. Well done Rivers of Nihil.

To find out more about Rivers of Nihil click here.

To visit the Rivers of Nihil Facebook page click here.

Words by Adam Dernie