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Review: Rivers of Nihil - The Conscious Seed of Light
Rivers of Nihil
The Conscious Seed of Light

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2013
Duration: 40:46
Tracks: 10
Genre: Death Metal


Review online: November 2, 2013
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 3.33/5 (66.67%) (3 Votes)

I really wanted this to live up to its magnificent artwork. Just look at it, man. Pure Dan Seagrave magic! Rivers Of Nihil hail from Pennsylvania and sport a brand of decidedly modern technical death metal, which whilst managing to avoid a few of the elements I dislike about the modern strand of the genre, isn't something which would make for my regular listening.

The opening instrumental "Terrestria I: Thaw" almost had me thinking otherwise, with its cool atmosphere created via icy tremolo-picked guitars, although come true opener "Rain Eater" Rivers Of Nihil unleash a relatively standard array of up-tempo, blasty DM anchored via mechanical, low tuned guitars (likely eight string). Throughout The Conscious Seed Of Light Rivers Of Nihl blend together sounds heard in the Polish death/black scene with atypical modern technical death metal and some twanging Meshuggah flourishes.

What I do like about The Conscious Seed of Light is the idea behind it. Whilst the album isn't to be seen as a concept release, the band began the project with plans to do a sort of four-release cycle, with each one reflecting a particular season. Now, I think that's pretty fucking cool, and I'll definitely be interested to see if they stick to their guns and pull it off. The Conscious Seed of Light represents spring, which can be seen in the lyrics, song titles and album artwork, and whilst death metal would be the last music style I'd expect to invoke feelings of spring, I can certainly see what they're going for. Particularly with the icier beginning of the album paving the way for chaotic blasting which could represent the seeds sprouting, and saplings pushing their way through the thaw; a sort of dramatic, tumultuous look at new life I guess.

The music itself, as previously touched on, is standard fare. You'll have heard these ideas before in varying acts, and whilst Rivers Of Nihil put it all together into a fairly cohesive package, genre buffs will no doubt be able to pick apart the influence the band wears on their sleeves, from Decrepit Birth to Meshuggah to Behemoth. In saying that though, the performances are exceptionally well done, and the band's technical pedigree is no doubt impressive. Jake Dieffenbach's vocals are surprisingly enjoyable too, whilst decidedly modern, I hear a little less tough guy and more David Vincent which thankfully tears down one of the major barriers I have in enjoying a lot of this stuff.

It's a shame Rivers Of Nihil couldn't fully realize their concept with some more original music, although I'll certainly be interested to see how, and if the band grows. As a debut, The Conscious Seed of Light has its moments, and it's cool they don't bludgeon you with overt technical drivel. Whilst it's not my ideal strand of DM I think this will really appeal to fans of the style.

More about Rivers of Nihil...
Review: Where Owls Know My Name (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
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