NILE require no introduction. For nearly 30 years now, the NILE name has stood as the definition of dark & challenging death metal, exploring Egyptian history and mythology with single-minded purpose. But back in 1995, when they released their first EP, Festivals of Atonement, following their debut demo in ’94, the NILE name was fresh and beginning to build in momentum within the underground – which soon landed them a contract with Relapse Records, which then resulted in their utterly classic debut album, Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka…and the rest is, literally, history.
Before all that, however, NILE had their unique & idiosyncratic sound in place on Festivals of Atonement. Shockingly developed and as engrossing as an album itself, the 32-minute EP set forth the path on which the band would expand, here as a power-trio before expanding to the classic quartet who’d record the first two albums. Evoking Egyptian bloodshed and grandeur in both message and especially medium, NILE’s death metal here was savage and strange, always moving and always monolithic, taking the increasingly “tech” developments of mid-‘90s death and subverting them to their own design, which is to say nothing of their dual-vocal attack. Indeed, to travel among these six epic tracks is to wander among those catacombs – and be confronted with warfare, horror, and the supernatural, all at once. Clear and cutting, Festivals of Atonement presented NILE at arguably their most focused and most traditionally “death metal,” but that leanness only lent more power to what was quickly becoming an idiom unto itself.
As fans of NILE’s 1990s work in particular, HELLS HEADBANGERS is honored to reissue the band’s cult early work, starting with the subsequent Ramses Bringer of War demo and, at long last, the pivotal Festivals of Atonement EP.