Rivers of Nihil comes to complete its work.
Created in 2009 in the United States, the band blew our mind in 2018 with an insane third album. Jake Dieffenbach (vocals), Brody Uttley (guitar, ex-Dissian), Adam Biggs (bass/vocals, WretchedPain, ex-Dissian), Jon Topore (guitar) and Jared Klein (drums, Flub, ex-Psychosomatic) introduce us to The Work, their fourth album, once again accompanied by Zach Strouse (Burial in the Sky) on saxophone.
We begin with The Tower (Theme from « The Work »), a first track that progressively unveils the sound the band will develop under the artwork of Dan Seagrave (Suffocation, Decrepit Birth, Devourment, Gorguts, Entombed, Morbid Angel, Pestilence…). Clean vocals and melancholic melodies drive us to this airy explosion that eventually calms down before Dreaming Black Clockwork. The song offers heaviness, thoughtful complexity and a solid rage, but also a suffocating ambience, whether the crushing rhythmic marches or not, and we find the seductive madness back. The chaotic final throws us on the gentle Walt, a quiet song that keeps this comforting ambience, even when ghostly howlings and saturation come to haunt riffs, then Focus offers a dark and very hooking groove. The duo between saturated vocals strengthened by clean backing vocals is wonderful, then the band reconnects with rage on Clean, the next track. Those fast and explosive patterns are effective, bringing blackness and heaviness to the heady composition that offers dissonant and ambient harmonics before ending on pure violence, while The Void from Which No Sound Escapes offers another break of quietness. It will be quick, because we already heat the sound ignites in the background, while keeping quieter parts that highlight musicians’ abilities. The band continues on the powerful MORE?, a shorter song that completely focuses on a visceral rage, and even when the rhythmic seems to be calm, it only asks to explode on our face. Heaviness will be set aside on the short Tower 2, a worrying but quiet composition that unveils ambient tones just like Episode, a song founded on some slowness to surprise with a majestic and haunting heaviness. Once again, the track develops complex and heady sonorities, then violence surfaces again, accompanied by dark, scary and dissonant elements. Maybe One Day comes next with a softer and quieter sound that borrows from Post-Metal to garnish this Prog basis. Death Metal elements are out of the song, but anguish will surface again for Terrestria IV: Work, the last composition. Eleven and a half minutes of skills, oppressive ambience, mystery and aggressive elements that melt together to give us this sound only the band knows to develop, while adding airy elements and complex sonorities.
Rivers of Nihil controls its art. Whether the band seems to focus on more sound experimentations with The Work, the least we can say is that it is rich and effective. Each new listening session will make you find out or discover elements again. You won’t grow tired of it!