REVIEW: Rivers Of Nihil – ‘The Conscious Seed Of Light’


Artist: Rivers Of Nihil
Album: The Conscious Seed Of Light
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Metal Blade

The evil atmosphere of death metal does not simply welcome newbies with open arms. Inundated with the daunting task of “breaking out of the underground,” up-and-comers practice until their finger flesh peels in pursuit of the perfect trifecta of speed, power, and precision. Those who pick flash and style over persistence and consistency assume immediate acceptance but are quickly shunned and falter at the wayside, sinking back into the local levels of status.

Then you have bands like Rivers Of Nihil, who’ve mastered the art of absorbing the headbanging homework required to enter the realms of death metal. Awakening the rarely amused ears of genre gatekeepers with the hope of continuance and evolution, Pennsylvania’s Rivers Of Nihil offer a commanding introduction with their Metal Blade debut, The Conscious Seed of Light. Owing much fealty to lords of the craft, such as Nile, Morbid Angel and Gojira, Rivers Of Nihil impressively incorporate the dark and heavy elements of death into a progressive and undeniable metal blitzkrieg. Simply making it impossible for listeners and legends alike to disregard the sheer scope and ambition of this debut.

We meet Rivers Of Nihil at the instrumental gates of “Terrestria I: Thaw,” a powerful and thunderous impression that leads straight into the punishing single, “Rain Eater.” The distinctly gruff vocals of Jake Dieffenbach add so much intensity to this track, you can feel the music smother your orifices and snatch you down into a black sea of death metal. Further exposing their technical intricacy, the album blasts on with unrelenting breakdowns, bludgeoning drumwork and attention-grabbing riffage.

Blazing through the fret board with zero remorse for melodies withering in their wake, the curious riffs of The Conscious Seed Of Light explore unchartered areas of tech-death whilst paying homage to genre predecessors. Their unique possession of refined songwriting skills make standouts like “Mechanical Trees” worth a second or third listen while songs like “Human Adaptation” dare you to indulge and try to remain sitting still — (spoiler alert: not going to happen).

Rather than waste listening time with filler, each song is kept to a decent length with the exception of “Airless” which could have ended at the 4:33 mark instead of stretching into 5:50. Nonetheless, the flowing rhythms of each track are accented by spatial harmonics and melodies that only increase the depth of their composition, making The Conscious Seed of Light an overall epic introductory listening experience. With a touch of magic from the highly revered production talents of Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal), all parts are loud, brutal, and musically impressive which is everything a solid metal album needs. While there are plenty of blatant influences which could pose underwhelming in the future, this early effort reveals the formidable skills of Rivers Of Nihil and leaves listeners with the urge to experience the live set.

The Conscious Seed Of Light arrives October 15, 2013 via Metal Blade.

SCORE: 9/10

Review written by: Ebony Richardson

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