My introduction to Rivers of Nihil was their third album, the curiously titled ‘Where Owls Know My Name’. I would never have guessed at the time that this was a band only 3 albums and less than a decade into their career. What I heard was technical death metal but, for a subgenre with a pretty straightforward sound at times, this was something else. Monstrous progressive juggernauts of tracks, hypnotic riffs, thunderous growling vocals, powerful cleans, fascinating melodies and… a saxophone?
Rivers of Nihil have the sound of band who have released a dozen albums, played countless cities, and have all that worldly experience and boldness that come with it. This is a band who ae creating truly special music that doesn’t sound like anyone else.
In working my way through their back catalogue, I realised just how gargantuan an undertaking ‘Where Owls Know My Name‘ actually was. Their debut, ‘The Conscious Seed of Light‘ was a solid demonstration of technical death metal, and it’s follow-up ‘Monarchy’ was certainly a step towards what they are today, it was on Owls that Rivers of Nihil exploded into something genuinely different and innovative to the genre.
This is where songs grew in length, technicality, and brought newer elements like keyboards and clean vocals to the forefront, and the writing and musicianship improved exponentially.
Rivers of Nihil are a (relatively) young band whose unique spin on the played out tech death tropes makes for an exciting sound and an even more exciting future. Whatever they do next will be exciting, refreshing, and very much worth your attention.