Combining the extreme speed and nihilism of technical death metal with the mysticism and ancient melodies of Middle Eastern music, Nile emerged in the mid-'90s with a powerful and idiosyncratic sound that helped set them apart from their heavy metal contemporaries. Beginning with 1998's Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka, Nile honed their self-proclaimed "Ithyphallic Metal," releasing a string of successful outings like Those Whom the Gods Detest (2009), At the Gate of Sethu (2012), and Vile Nilotic Rights (2019), that looked to the seemingly disparate worlds of Egyptian history and H.P. Lovecraft, among others, for inspiration.
Nile formed in 1993 in Greenville, South Carolina around a lineup consisting of Karl Sanders (guitar/vocals), Chief Spires (bass/vocals), and Pete Hammoura (drums). Two years later the band issued an EP, Festivals of Atonement, which led to a high-profile southwestern tour in support of Obituary, Deicide, and Broken Hope. A second EP, Ramses Bringer of War, was released in 1997 through Viscera Productions, followed in 1998 by the group's first full-length effort, the Relapse Records-issued Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka. Having made the move to a more established label -- Viscera folded shortly after the release of Ramses Bringer of War -- Nile benefitted from the wider distribution, which gave them the chance to play alongside more established contemporaries like Morbid Angel and Incantation.
2000's Black Seeds of Vengeance saw the band deliver their most musically and narratively complex collection of songs to date, with vocalist and guitarist Dallas Toler-Wade joining the fray and session drummer Derek Roddy filling in for Pete Hammoura, who had injured his hand while on tour -- In the Beginning, a collection of remastered, hard-to-find recordings was released later the same year. By 2002, the highly anticipated In Their Darkened Shrines had been released and the buzz around it led to a level of mainstream coverage that the band had never experienced before. Dark and cinematic, the LP incorporated elements of horror author H.P. Lovecraft's short story The Nameless City and marked the studio debut of drummer Tony Laureano.
Nile returned in 2005 with Annihilation of the Wicked, their first album with new drummer George Kollias and their last album on Relapse. After signing with Nuclear Blast, the band quickly followed up in 2007 with Ithyphallic before setting out across the U.S. on the Ozzfest tour, as well as touring South Africa and Europe. In 2009 Nile went back into the studio with producer Neil Kernon (Queensrÿche), and released their sixth studio album, Those Whom the Gods Detest, late that year. At the Gates of Sethu arrived in 2012 and became the group's highest-charting effort to date, while 2015's What Should Not Be Unearthed garnered acclaim both at home and abroad. Guitarist Toler-Wade left the fold shortly after the album's release and was replaced by Brian Kingsland, who alongside new bassist Brad Parris, made his studio debut on the band's ninth full-length effort, Vile Nilotic Rites, in 2019. ~ James Christopher Monger