Already an impressive and accomplished technical/progressive death metal proposition prior to this album, Where Owls Know My Name sees the band developing their sound even more than previously. They’ve pushed the progressive aspect of their music further, embracing a multitude of different styles and ideas across these ten tracks.
Taking a death metal base, but quickly and effortlessly expanding from this, Rivers of Nihil explore progressive, atmospheric, alternative, emotive, and post-metal territories across the 57 minutes of material on this album, including some visits to the land of jazz and electronica. If I’m making it seem like it could potentially sound disparate and cobbled together, you’d be wrong, as this is a band that know exactly what they’re doing.
Each song has its own personality and the album is a diverse and varied listen, offering a multifaceted and textured listen for anyone delving into its world. The music is rich with imaginative songwriting, and it seems like at almost any moment an unexpected newly-discovered aspect of the band’s sound could present itself; this might be a non-standard instrument, clean vocals, a softer almost folky section, a keyboard solo, wandering saxophone…there’s a lot to get to grips with on Where Owls Know My Name, and it’s all finely-realised and delivered.
For some rough reference points think of a mix of elements of Gojira, Whitechapel, Opeth, The Faceless, and a touch of Strapping Young Lad. To be clear though; these are only loose reference points, and Rivers of Nihil very much have their own character.
In many ways I can’t find enough good words to say about this album without it coming across as extreme hyperbole, so just go and listen to it and get absorbed in the band’s creative and finely crafted world.
Where Owls Know My Name is wonderfully impressive, a real exploration of extreme metal. Rivers of Nihil have outdone themselves on this release.