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RIVERS OF NIHIL

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


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Rivers of Nihil biography
The band was formed in 2009 by guitarist Brody UTTLEY, bassist Adam BIGGS, and vocalist James DIEFFENBACH. The music is technical death metal.After releasing the EP's "Hierarchy" (2010) and "Temporality Unbound" (2011) they released their first full-length album, "The Conscious Seed of Light" (2013), on Metal Blade Records. Since then, they have released 2 more albums including the latest in 2018 "Where Owls Know my Name" who represents a massive evolutionary leap. The band is now rounded out by guitarist Jon TOPORE and drummer Jared KLEIN. The new album brings some new style of music like electronica, jazz, alternative and folk.

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RIVERS OF NIHIL discography


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RIVERS OF NIHIL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.50 | 2 ratings
The Conscious Seed of Life
2013
4.00 | 2 ratings
Monarchy
2015
3.19 | 30 ratings
Where Owls Know My Name
2018

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RIVERS OF NIHIL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.50 | 2 ratings
Hierarchy
2010
2.00 | 2 ratings
Temporality Unbound
2011

RIVERS OF NIHIL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Where Owls Know My Name by RIVERS OF NIHIL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.19 | 30 ratings

BUY
Where Owls Know My Name
Rivers of Nihil Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

2 stars In the 25 years I've spent on this planet, Where Owls Know My Name may be the most frustrating album I've ever encountered. Somewhere within this behemoth of a record, there lies an amazing journey that's equal parts harsh and melancholic; unfortunately, all of the external baggage caused by the inconsequential songwriting and sterile production robs it of its power. What's really sad is that, initially, all the ingredients to make this a masterpiece are in place. We're presented with incredible technical abilities from the musicians, lots of emotional potency in the performances, and an experience that's clearly striving to elevate the world of progressive death metal to something more ambitious and impactful. However, Where Owls Know My Name just goes in one ear and out the other and quickly becomes a dull grind akin to background noise.

The lack of dynamic range may actually be the biggest culprit here, especially as far as the metal sections go. There never seem to be any discernible climaxes or moments of catharsis, as the waves of guitar distortion and compressed production just wash over any sense of sonic variety. The best moments of variation and emotional weight come in the form of the album's quieter segments, such as the subtle keyboard-driven opener "Cancer/Moonspeak" or the beautiful saxophone break in "The Silent Life." But even these types of segments tend to be undercut by the generic riffing and djent-oriented chugs that kill both the pacing and ambition of the album. The entire first half of "Old Nothing" is crammed with intrusive blastbeats and dull deathcore riffs that ruin the album's sense of progression, as well as killing any potential atmosphere that could make it interesting. On top of that, quite a few moments just sound out of place and... well... ugly. "A Home" sounded great during the opening guitar chords, and the band didn't really need to throw a giant mess of triggered drum acrobatics all over it. Really, the majority of the metal in this experience is defined by strikingly similar chord progressions and tempos being glazed with gutless melodic noise that fills the treble end, while some chugs and mid tempo drum progressions try to fill in the cracks of the low end. That's basically the metal-oriented material in a nutshell, and it defines most of the tracklist. It's really easy to tune out of this album as it's playing, and very few moments really manage to gain one's attention back in a significant way.

Still, I'll give credit where it's due. Some moments still manage to be breathtaking, most notably that gorgeous acoustic intro to "Subtle Change." The song sounds like a real expedition, as the melodic bass traverses across the ample terrain of the rolling drums... there's a lot of 70s prog influence on this one, and it's one of the only songs in which the loud and quiet moments aren't too intrusive to each other. There's also a nice cleanly sung ballad intro that kicks off the title track, reminding me a lot of Paul Masvidal's vocals in the last few Cynic records. Finally, the last track "Capricorn/Agoratopia" cleverly brings the album full circle by using the intro track and giving it more fleshed-out instrumental accompaniment to drive the final mini- epic home. It's a decent way to conclude Where Owls Know My Name; I just wish the journey to get there was worth it.

It's not that the album comes off as misguided, but rather it sounds inconsequential and dull. If it was reduced to about 30-35 minutes and given an EP format, I might recommend it to fans of progressive death metal or even post metal. But in its current state, it happens to be arduous, overbearing, and boring all at the same time.

 Where Owls Know My Name by RIVERS OF NIHIL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.19 | 30 ratings

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Where Owls Know My Name
Rivers of Nihil Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

4 stars Where Owls Know My Name is the prog rock fan's death metal record. In fact, lead guitarist and founding member Brody Utley has stated that this record was an attempt to pay tribute to the prog tradition his father had imparted to him growing up. No, the album's prog elements are not some cheap gimmick. And neither are they jarring stylistic detours in the vein of Between the Buried and Me. Rather, Rivers of Nihil have expertly threaded wind instruments, synths, and mellotron generated ambiance into uncompromisingly heavy death metal compositions.

Rivers of Nihil have noticeably simplified their riffs on this record. But by doing so, the band has, perhaps paradoxically, made room for more complexity through layering and interesting arrangements. Unfortunately, the mixing on the album is very dense and some of those interesting layers get lost as a result.

Emotionally, this album has the same effect as a cathartic nightmare: disturbing but with a purpose that leaves the listener/dreamer in a better position to handle life's uncertainty.

 Where Owls Know My Name by RIVERS OF NIHIL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.19 | 30 ratings

BUY
Where Owls Know My Name
Rivers of Nihil Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars This is the most progressive of the three releases, and a sign that they found a signature sound. With a healthy does of sax, this release has so much variety that it should interest the most demanding prog ears. The first two albums are classified as Technical Death Metal, but Where Owls Know my Name adds new layers of complexity heading them into Cynic's wheelhouse. While Rivers of Nihil are not a cookie cutter copy of Cynic, they have moved forward with a technical and surprising release. After an intro, The Silent Life gets things moving with the Technical yet melodic Death Metal of their past releases. Then it breaks down into a tempo change with a sax melody to keep the listener guessing. Then it moves back to pure aggression. The rest of the album has a similar rotation from avant-garde jazz movements mixed in with the Death Metal. There are no bad tracks, and Where Owls Know my Name proves it is a masterpiece with a high level of creativity, and of course, the stellar album art. This is easily the best album released in 2018 through April for me, and I look forward to their future releases.
Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition.

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