Metalheads know enough about Nile’s obsession with Egyptian history, but there’s more to the boundary-breaking death metal of frontman Karl Sanders that’s been prevalent for more than two decades. Saurian ApocalypseSanders’ third oriental-flavored solo album, released this year, finds him again in ritual/meditative music achieved through the use of a number of cultural instruments, such as the Bağlama, the sistrum, the dumbek and the glissentar.
In the spirit of this release, Sanders has bridged the gap between world music and heavy metal, delivering five albums of world music metalheads will love the most.
Sanders, who formed Nile in 1993 and released The Other World Among the catacombs of Nephren-Ka Nile debuted in 1998, branched out with his first solo release, Saurian meditation, in 2004. For many metal fans, it was probably their first taste of real world music and a revelation about cultural sounds being played with more traditional intent amid the explosion of folk metal that also had place at that time. At least that was the case for one particular Loudwire writer.
Five years later, Sanders served Saurian exorcisms, another exercise in oriental mood music and a refreshing change of pace from the downtuned riffing fury and explosive beast-intensive death metal provided by Nile. The timing was also quite interesting – Sanders continued to explore this musical avenue while simultaneously expanding the sonic and lyrical reach of the Nile into the neighboring region of Egypt’s Middle East.
Evolution and open-mindedness are usually the key to lasting success and that seems to be the case with Nile and Sanders, so join us below and check out his world music album picks for them. metal fans!
Get your copy of ‘Saurian Apocalypse’ here and follow Nile on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Listen to more Sanders solo music on Spotify.
Karl Sanders, “Skull Fuck Ritual (Skull Breach Edition)”
Peter Gabriel, ‘Passion: Music for the Last Temptation of Christ’
This album was pretty much my entry point into world and ambient music. This opened many musical doors for me as a listener, prompting me to scour local record stores at the time for indigenous music from all parts of the Earth.
To make the film’s soundtrack, Gabriel used the resources of WOMAD, an organization he founded, to bring together musicians from the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South Asia. Passion has featured world music musicians such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Youssou N’Dour, L. Shankar and Baaba Maal.
Not exactly “world music”, Heilung is an experimental neo-folk band. Their music is based on ancient texts and runic inscriptions of Bronze Age Germanic peoples.
As a metal fan, what I like about this band is that they indeed capture a very pagan vibe, with very old pagan musical instruments – like horse skin drums painted with blood human, buckskin drums, human bones, deer bones, buffalo horns, rattles with human ashes, Hindu ritual bells and Mongolian throat songs.
The Joubran Trio, ‘Majaz’
Palestinian oud trio from Nazareth, these three musicians are brothers and their way of playing together is breathtaking. A friend of mine sent me this saying “They sound like oud players playing Nile riffs”, and when I heard this record I knew exactly what he meant.
Majaz is like a dreamy, sonic version of traditional Palestinian folk music, but its wealth of Persian oud mastery has a common connection with guitar masters such as Al Di Meola, Strunz & Farah and Paco de Lucia. This album has become one of my favorite records of all time.
Bow Trial, ‘Rite of Passage’
A project by members of 90s doom ambient metal band Disembowelment, Trial of The Bow is an unforgettable and timeless masterpiece of ethno/ambient/world music. Metal people love this album and it has become a resonating chord with metal listeners; it has a doom metal soul, but in a quiet, dreamy, mesmerizing way.
Ostad Mohammad-Hoseyn Yeganeh, “Music of Northern Khorasan”
Yeganeh sings and plays an instrument called the dutar, a two-stringed Persian lute of ancient origin. This disc is completely obscure, and I would never have heard of it except for an Iranian friend who sent it to me. Yeganeh’s music is Iranian folk music, of course, but some of the music on this CD is oddly related to the craziest metal music I’ve ever heard.
Due to the dutar’s tuning in fourths and fifths (the equivalent of the modern power chord, much abused in all forms of metal guitar music) and the overwhelming amount of root/fifth chord tremolo in Persian minor keys chosen at insane tempos – there is a striking musicological resemblance to a modern evil black metal guitar playing style.
But much of Yeganeh’s music doesn’t sound like simple, mindless guitar abuse. Between odd time signatures and ancient Persian melodies, and by the musician using all five fingers of the right hand (as opposed to the simple double meter intrinsic in the singular up/down motion used when using a pick), the intricate barrage resulting from the impossibly bizarre and strange rhythmic note groupings at mind-numbing virtuosic tempos is like no modern metal or band could ever imagine.
“Sorcery and Ritual Music in Kenya and Tanzania”
Another completely obscure CD I found shortly after [Peter Gabriel’s] Passion the soundtrack had whetted my appetite, having me hunted in the dark recesses of local record stores. It is a compilation album of recordings by anthropologists of various African voodoo and witchcraft ritual music.
Some of it is just weird and almost unlistenable – it’s not an album in the pop music sense, it’s actually the darkest and deepest ritual music made by banging on strange primitive instruments unspeakable, many of which are made from animal and human bones and simple primitive cords. or horn/bone flute type instruments.
The music on this disc is disturbing, disconcerting and frightening. Like the kind of “exorcism vibe” that probably sounds like since early humans started gathering for late-night bonfires, fertility rites, cannibalism, and curses.