Nile – Their Wrath Is Not Yet Done Part II
By: Mike Sloan
To read the first part of Sloan's chat with Karl Sanders, click here.
We continue our conversation with Nile mainman Karl Sanders for Part II of this feature. Sanders speaks openly about his favorite Nile songs, a newfound dedication to detail regarding the lyrics and vocal approach, and how he doesn’t believe the music he and his cohorts creates is technical. Read on and enjoy:
Blistering.com: The vocals from Dallas [Toler-Wade] have gotten so pronounced over the past few albums where you can really understand what he’s saying. On the first few records, your vocals and his weren’t always discernable, but now it’s quite different. Your lyrics have always been pretty in-depth but the first few albums made it hard to understand what was being said because of how the vocals were. When this change of vocal approach came full circle, how much more important did your lyrics become and because of how Dallas has been singing, are the words in the lyrics now at a much higher premium?
Karl Sanders: I would say there has been an increasing focus on attention being paid to the lyrics, especially on this record. Early on in the demo and recording process we started recording the vocals and really scrutinizing the phrases and the way the vocals work with the rest of the band. For us, this makes a huge difference in the way the songs come out.
Blistering.com: With that said, does the new approach to the lyrics make creating the songs more difficult?
Sanders: I’d say it’s different. Not easier or more difficult, but different. If you’re consciously aware of the fact that having an element that’s going to be a major factor in the aural scheme of things, you write with that in mind and [it becomes] a major part. It definitely gets attention and focus. Earlier with our music, we may or may not have put that sort of attention and focus on our vocals. Sometimes our vocals were just an afterthought and turned out by happenstance and not necessarily by design. I think most approaches are a valid way of writing music. But for this record, we wanted super focus on all of the details and hung things to a razor’s edge.
Blistering.com: My personal favorite track of the new album is “The Gods Who Light Up the Sky at the Gate of Sethu.” It has such a great groove to it, especially at the end. What is your personal favorite track off the new album, or do you not have one?
Sanders: I’ve got a couple favorites on the album. I also like “The Gods Who Light Up the Sky at the Gate of Sethu.” The vocals on that one are so much fun; the drumming, the guitar playing…holy shit there are so many elements. Just the song structure…it’s epic story telling on a grand scale. I also like “Enduring the Eternal Molestation of Flame” because there is some incredible, incredible musicianship on that song and it’s catchy and super brutal. Yeah, wow. “The Fiends Who Come to Steal the Magick of the Deceased” has a lot of crazy elements; it’s a wacky song but I love it. It’s twisted. It shouldn’t even be a song but it is. It’s like a b-side song, like some weird song a band did and put it on the b-side of their record to be “out there.” It’s one of those songs. I happen to like those songs; those are always my favorite songs.
Blistering.com: Looking at your entire back catalog, by far my personal favorite song from Nile is “Unas Slayer of the Gods.” I’ve seen Nile live several times but never that song. Has that song ever been played live before?
Sanders: Yes. Actually we toured with it at least two separate times in America and we toured it once in Europe. So, yeah it’s been on three different tours.
Blistering.com: Damn! I’ve seen Nile actually six times and I’ve yet to see that one performed!
Blistering.com: With that said, what is your favorite Nile song?
Sanders: That one is certainly up there on the list. I also like “To Dream of Ur”, “Smashing the Antiu,” “The Black Flame” is a little quirky tune and has some kind of atmosphere to it; I love it. What else? “Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten” I like that thing. “Cast Down the Heretic,” “Hittite Dung Incantation.” Oh fuck. A lot of fun songs. I don’t know if I can think of just one. It’s kind of weird because I write the stuff I want to hear; I write music that I would like. So I like Nile songs. It’s very rare that I can’t stand a Nile song.
Blistering.com: Is there a typical fan favorite that people always beg for at concerts but you simply can’t or won’t play it for any reason?
Sanders: There are some songs like that. I’ve heard people ask for “Unas Slayer of the Gods” every single show. It’s like being in a cover band at some bar and you know some motherfucker is going to yell for “Freebird” [laughs]. It’s like that at a Nile show because someone is going to ask for “Unas Slayer of the Gods.” People ask for that one all the time but it’s not an easy song to trot out there. It’s a commitment; it’s 12 minutes. It’s almost impossible to include in our set because in order to play that, we have to take out three or four other songs. We’ve done it a few times and we’ll probably do it again on some future tour because it’s a lot of fun to play. But I have to tell you, though, that as much as people love that song, about ten minutes in people start drooping. It’s not just a commitment from the band; it’s also a commitment from the audience, too. People have to sit through 12 minutes of epic, brutal metal. That’s just something that is a full commitment because it’s 12 minutes of brutal metal. It’s an endurance war.