RIVERS OF NIHIL are back at it with their latest masterpiece Where Owls Know My Name (out now, Metal Blade Records) and have managed to create just under 57 minutes of some of the most pulverizing riffs to date. On this album, the band effortlessly blends together technical death metal plus an array of other genres, opting to include saxophone and keyboard parts throughout the entirety of the album without it sounding forced or out of place. Vocalist Jake Dieffenbach’s growls are phenomenal on this record as he is able to properly enunciate each word so that the fans can make out what he is saying in each song.
Where Owls… starts off with their spoken word intro track “Cancer / Moonspeak” before shifting into overdrive with “The Silent Life”, which features some of the most insane saxophone parts while not sacrificing any of the band’s brutality. This album marks the second release to feature drummer Jared Klein and it’s apparent that he is a beast behind the kit when the drums on “Old Nothing” start. RoH continue to pummel your eardrums all the way through “Subtle Change (Including The Forest Of Transition)” which not only showcases the skills of bassist Adam Biggs, but also guitarists Brody Uttley and Jon Topore and serves as the longest song on the album, clocking in at an astonishing 8 minutes and 34 seconds.
The band finally slows the pace down and giving the listener’s ears a much needed break with “Terrestria III: Wither” which is the third part in the Terrestria series and could easily be included in any Terminator movie. Things pick right back up with “Hollow”, featuring a very soft 22 second intro before proceeding to belabor eardrums over and over again. In all fairness there is not a bad track on the album, the three softer tracks and sonic experimentation really set this one apart from similar records being released.
RIVERS OF NIHIL have hit the nail on the head with this album. With it being just under an hour in length it’s neither too short nor too long and easily holds the listener’s attention from start to finish. It may only be the middle of March and there are plenty more discs to be released this year, but Where Owls Know My Name will easily end up on plenty of year end Top 10 lists.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Old Nothing”, ”Subtle Change”, “Death is Real”
-BRIAN “TORCH” IDELL