Review : Karl Sanders - Saurian Exorcisms
PrefixmagIn case you’ve been fermenting in a canopic jar for the past decade: Karl Sanders, founder and main creative force behind death-metal pharaohs Nile, knows as much about Egypt as he does about the art of the shred. Which is to say, a whole fuckload. Sanders tricks out Nile’s lyrics and riffs with ancient Egyptian themes and non-Western modes, and many Nile albums are graced with Sanders’s detailed descriptions of each song’s origin. He’s as pro in his Egyptology as he is in his face-melting.
Since the first official Nile release, Festivals of Atonement (1995), Nile have festooned every album with Arabian-sounding intros and interludes. As part of a Nile album, the mystic chanting and war-god percussion of these vestigial tracks serve two vital functions. They break up the relentless blasting of Nile’s unmatched death-metal extremity and elevate it into an even more extreme form of grand theater. Preceded by creepy exorcism chants and processional gong hits, Nile’s guitars become the repeated lashes of a sadistic taskmaster, their guttural vocals the admonishments of spiteful gods....full text
Ultimate-guitarNile’s guitar virtuoso Karl Sanders continues to startle and surprise with his latest solo endeavor. In what can only be called another huge departure from the Nile sound, Sanders’ 2nd solo album takes the listener on an almost cinematic experience. Saurian Exorcisms is a fitting follow-up to the likeminded 2004 solo release Saurian Meditation, but this time around things get a little eerie. Don’t think you know exactly what’s coming when you hear “Exorcisms” in the title – Sanders doesn’t rely on cheesy, horror movie clich's and instead lets the music convey the message. Saurian Exorcism delves into more tribal/primal themes than the general story around movies like “The Exorcist, ” and the result is a beautifully arranged and quietly disturbing piece of work.
Drawing from his passion for Egyptology, Sanders once again injects a strong Middle-Eastern influence into each of the 10 tracks on Saurian Exorcisms. Nile fans will not necessarily get their fix of groaning electric guitars, but when those are stripped away, you get a better grasp of just how talented a musician Sanders is. Playing the acoustic guitar, balama saz (a Turkish lute that features half-step frets), and glissentar – not to mention that he tackles the percussion, synth, and many of the vocals – Sanders is a powerhouse.
From the opening track “Preliminary Purification Before The Calling Of Inanna, ” it’s obvious that Sanders is exploring more influences than his usual Egyptian inspirations. Along with the Middle Eastern sound, the song features almost a Native American touch with tribal-like drumming. Sanders could have easily taken the easy route by overloading the senses with evil-sounding sound effects, but instead he delivers a soothing, mysterious soundscape with a series of stringed instruments.
Most of the album is devoid of the usual lyrical content, which is one of the most distinct differences between Saurian Exorcisms and Saurian Meditation. There are a good number of chants and haunting moans, and those subtle additions are extremely effective. At the heart of every piece is Sanders’ extraordinary playing, and you will hear some absolutely astounding solos on the album. “Rapture Of The Empty Spaces” features a variety of instruments against guttural voices, and if you added distortion, it could make the transition to powerful death metal track. The topic at hand, exorcisms, somehow never upstages the musicianship of Sanders, and that is a pretty spectacular feat. // 10...full text
TheendrecordsOn his solo debut, 2004's Saurian Meditation, longtime Nile guitarist Karl Sanders got to focus mostly on his fascination with all things Middle Eastern. But on his solo sophomore effort, 2009's Saurian Exorcisms, Sanders takes it to a whole other level. If you're a Nile fan expecting a few extreme metal detours, you're out of luck, I'm afraid. This is an album of Middle Eastern sounds from start to finish -- in fact, you don't have to know diddly about extreme metal to appreciate this disc, just an admirer of authentic-sounding world music, evidenced by such standouts as "Contemplate This on the Tree of Woe" or "Shira Gula Pazu." Impressively, Sanders pulls a Prince and plays all the instruments here himself -- acoustic guitars, guitar synth, keyboards, drums, percussion, and such uncommon instruments as the baglama saz and a glissentar, as well as (along with another chap) providing vocals/chants. Although some consider extreme metal to be a one-dimensional style, Karl Sanders proves that he's an exception to the rule, throughout Saurian Exorcisms....full text
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