Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives

Message board

* FAQ    * Register   * Login 



Reply to topic
Author Message Previous topic | Next topic
Kalaratri
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:22 pm
Posts: 1264
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 10:53 pm 
 

Progressive/technical death metallers Rivers of Nihil will release their fourth full length, The Work, through Metal Blade Records on September 24, 2021. From the press release:

Quote:
Reading, Pennsylvania's Rivers Of Nihil have never fit neatly into a box, but with 2018's Where Owls Know My Name, they transcended all labels applied to them. Returning in 2021 with The Work, they have forged further into new territory, delivering an album that is as cerebral as it is visceral, and that covers a staggering sonic range, definitively placing them in a category of their own.

With the first track penned in the fall of 2018, while the band were touring Owls, the writing process for the album was long, lasting well into 2020. Even before the music industry shutdown that happened concurrently with the Covid pandemic, the band intended to take most of 2020 off to focus on writing, meaning that their schedule was not disrupted. However, even with the whole album demoed out musically, they were not initially sure what they were working with. "We didn't really know if it was all going to connect together in any kind of logical or interesting way. It wasn't until we got the vocals done that it was clear what we had on our hands: something that actually somehow all worked together," says guitarist Brody Uttley, who describes the album as a "Sound World," a term coined by a friend. "It's an album that almost sounds like a place rather than a thing. It puts you in this world where you're not exactly sure what is going on at certain points, but eventually, it all comes together. It's harsh and cold, but also warm and inviting," he adds.

For the guitarist, writing music came together smoothly, never having to push to find ideas, and in spite of the raging pandemic. "I don't think on any other release I was able to insulate myself from external noise like I did on this one. The amount of work that went into it is obscene, but I felt like I was just floating through this 'sound world' the whole time, kinda grabbing ideas off of the vine and seeing how they worked."

Lyricist and bassist Adam Biggs' experience was somewhat different, finding the process more challenging, but this was ultimately to the The Work's betterment. "It felt like a huge demand to get this record written during one of the weirdest times imaginable. It gets to the point sometimes after a lot of touring that you can forget how to be creative, because you've just been playing your - now old - material for several years. Writing this record, for me, meant almost entirely reconnecting with creativity after what I'd consider to be a lengthy hiatus."

While The Work is a very dense, inarguably heavy collection, it is far too dynamic to consider it solely a metal record, and there is a genuine warmth that shows through, particularly on "Wait" and the gorgeous "Maybe One Day," and the band have included far more clean vocals alongside the screaming that tears through many of the heavier tracks. Adds Biggs, "It spans a lot of different styles, ideas, and emotions. The twists and turns are pretty drastic for your modern day metal record. There's a lot of what you already know we do, and a lot of what you've never heard us do before."

Courtesy of their friend Zach Strouse, saxophone once again adds extra layers of atmosphere to the collection, utilizing baritone, soprano and alto saxes to great affect. "We really wanted the sax to be more of a texture on this album rather than a featured instrument. So while it may seem like there is more sax, the only 'true' sax solo is in 'The Void From Which No Sound Escapes.' For most cases on the rest of the album, he is just sort of reinforcing the songs in his own way, which is exactly what I wanted. I didn't want to tell him how to sound or what to do really. I just wanted his response to the material, and he definitely did a fantastic job."

While there is a central concept driving the album, Biggs elects to keep the specific details to himself so that listeners can relate to it in their own way, but he explains where the title comes from. "What does life all really boil down to in the end? You can be lovey-dovey about the good times, and savor the sweetness that life sometimes provides, but beneath everything is work, struggle, someone is always getting a raw deal, someone's always sweating it out in the mines somewhere so you can enjoy your diamonds. This has always proved true in everything I've ever done in life. Most people reading this know me as a member of a successful band, but beneath it is constant work. Physical, emotional, spiritual work. All the time. Every day. And I know that it's like this across the board for just about anyone in at least some capacity, so I figured this subject would be relatable to a lot of people."

"Focus," one of the album's standout tracks, is a meditation on the writer's - and possibly the listener's - relationship with drugs, starting with having been medicated for ADD as a kid. "That was not uncommon for the time. Maybe it was for the best, maybe not. But it did kick off a relationship with drugs that has been pretty interesting. I've gone through long periods of sobriety, and I've been on the complete other end of that. What I find is that drugs are largely disappointing. The expectation is that they can relieve your mind, or change your thinking. But for me, it always just feels like a slight shift in focus." Then there is "The Void From Which No Sound Escapes" and "MORE?", which are thematically linked. "It's about expectation and delivery. 'Void' is the expectation, they want what you have, and you have to give up a bit of yourself to give it to them. The 'what' and 'they' in that sentence aren't super important. But I think everyone has a 'what' and they know a 'they' that wants that from them, and we all feel some obligation to deliver."

With guitars and synths/keys tracked at Uttley's home studio, the band then we went back for the third album in a row to Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland at Atrium Audio to do drums, vocals, bass, sax, and mixing. "We've done so many sessions with those guys that they're basically an extension of our band at this point. They usually know what we like, and we always encourage them to roast us to make stuff better," says Uttley. Alongside the band, James Dorton from Black Crown Initiate provided some vocals on "Episode," Grant McFarland played cello on "The Void From Which No Sound Escapes", and Uttley's friend Stephan Lopez helped out with all of the field recordings, an integral part of the sonic textures of the record.

There's no denying that the finished product is something unique and marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Rivers Of Nihil, though Biggs states he has never gotten anywhere by thinking about the future of the band. "We always just sort of do this thing and it grows. I guess that could change at some point. But thinking about things that way doesn't seem to get me anywhere either. Better to focus on the work in front of us, as it turns out," he adds, referencing the album's title. "If we've learned anything for certain in the last year or so, it's that the future can be murky, we're not really owed anything, and it can all be taken away any second. But for now, we press on."


Image

Tracklisting:
1. The Tower (Theme from «The Work») 04:30
2. Dreaming Black Clockwork 06:39
3. Wait 04:05
4. Focus 04:54
5. Clean 06:08
6. The Void from Which No Sound Escapes 06:43
7. More? 03:25
8. Tower 2 01:58
9. Episode 07:29
10. Maybe One Day 07:03
11. Terrestria IV: Work 11:29

Clean has been released as the first single:

Spoiler: show


I'm surprised this thread hasn't been started yet. Rivers of Nihil seem to be a very divisive band, at least based on the reviews of Where Owls Know My Name on this site. I'm not the biggest fan in the world, but I'm not averse to their Gojira-esque blend of progressive, groove and death metal. I am a bit surprised they're bringing back the sax on this album, I figured it was only going to be a one album deal.

Top
 Profile  
Frank Booth
Can Bench 450

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:29 pm
Posts: 1118
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:01 am 
 

To the best of my knowledge, Adam and Brody honestly thought that the sax was a one and done too (they were afraid of becoming a gimmick band), but I think they realized that they had written some stuff that it would compliment and went back on that.

Top
 Profile  
MikeyC
Official Greeter of Broken Hills

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 5:16 am
Posts: 13597
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:25 am 
 

The new song sounds good. The 3 final songs are also the longest songs. Overall this album is looking more ambitious than their previous one, which was already quite formidable. Keen to hear the rest of it.
_________________
The Lions Den wrote:
Just vegan and faggots melo-tech-death for dad's fancy-ass. Fuck!!!

Top
 Profile  
Metal_On_The_Ascendant
Metalhead

Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 6:38 am
Posts: 1687
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 7:05 am 
 

I've still failed to enjoy Rivers of Nihil and I'm a huge supporter of most things labelled "prog" in metal but....no! I hated the sax on their last album and the keys and effects on this new song are similarly grating. And I'm just not sold on the vocal performances. That song felt longer than it really is.
_________________
Gas_Snake wrote:
....my attention span is not your guinea pig. If even one of your songs exceeds 10 minutes, you're either a fucking genius or you need to self-edit that shit.

Empyreal wrote:
Seems like a pretty reductive way to see art.

Top
 Profile  
OzzyApu
Metal freak

Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:11 am
Posts: 10717
Location: Seattle
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 8:10 am 
 

First impressions of the song above weren't the best, but I loved the last album and I expect this one to be good, too. I dug the sax on Owls, so it coming back is a good thing. Also, "The Work" is a pretty bland title no matter how much they want to talk about life being difficult. "lovey-dovey"
_________________
gomorro wrote:
Yesterday was the birthday of school pal and I met the chick of my sigh (I've talked about here before, the she-wolf I use to be inlove with)... Maaan she was using a mini-skirt too damn insane... Dude you could saw her entire soul every time she sit...

Top
 Profile  
Pitiless Wanderer
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:34 pm
Posts: 1518
Location: Ankara
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 9:21 am 
 

I like these guys to a certain degree but haven't listened to them in a while. From what I recall, the vocals sounded different than what's on this new song, both in style and delivery. Did they get a new singer, or am I just imagining it?

Top
 Profile  
Frank Booth
Can Bench 450

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:29 pm
Posts: 1118
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 9:39 am 
 

Pitiless Wanderer wrote:
I like these guys to a certain degree but haven't listened to them in a while. From what I recall, the vocals sounded different than what's on this new song, both in style and delivery. Did they get a new singer, or am I just imagining it?


Nope, same guy. Jake uses highs now as well, but his mids are still the same and Adam still does the majority of the highs and all of the lows.

Top
 Profile  
HideYourHole
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:28 am
Posts: 214
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 3:02 pm 
 

I liked the last one a lot but that song isn't doing a thing for me.

Top
 Profile  
MeavyHetal
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:54 pm
Posts: 519
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 4:55 pm 
 

I enjoyed Where Owls Know My Name, it was incredibly ambitious and full of cool ideas.

That being said, the new song is...okay so far. Hopefully this is one of the weaker songs and the rest of the album sounds better.

Top
 Profile  
cultofkraken
Veteran

Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 1:18 am
Posts: 2578
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 4:56 pm 
 

I always like this band’s artwork more than their music.
_________________
lord_ghengis wrote:
Tony the Peroy Slayer, bards shall sing your story.

Top
 Profile  
MeavyHetal
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:54 pm
Posts: 519
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 5:03 pm 
 

cultofkraken wrote:
I always like this band’s artwork more than their music.


Dan Seagrave is a beast!

Top
 Profile  
cultofkraken
Veteran

Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 1:18 am
Posts: 2578
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 5:56 pm 
 

MeavyHetal wrote:
cultofkraken wrote:
I always like this band’s artwork more than their music.


Dan Seagrave is a beast!


Sure is. One of my all time favourites.
_________________
lord_ghengis wrote:
Tony the Peroy Slayer, bards shall sing your story.

Top
 Profile  
LithoJazzoSphere
Veteran

Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:11 pm
Posts: 2576
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2021 2:00 am 
 

I didn't like this track as much as their previous albums. It had moments that reminded me of Oceans of Slumber, though not executed nearly as well. Hopefully there will be more interesting tracks on the rest of the album. I'm glad they're bringing saxophone back, there's not nearly enough metal with it. Seagrave rarely disappoints as well.

I'm not sure if I'm surprised or not by the ratings for their previous album here. There just seem to be certain pockets where M-A has a different opinion from myself and other places, and this unfortunately appears to be another of them.

Top
 Profile  
NecroRAM
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:17 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Armenia
PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:39 am 
 

Doubt if can beat Owls, but it will be a quality album no question.
The album art could be better though.

Top
 Profile  
Kalaratri
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:22 pm
Posts: 1264
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 12:48 pm 
 

The second single is out:


Top
 Profile  
MikeyC
Official Greeter of Broken Hills

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 5:16 am
Posts: 13597
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 1:37 pm 
 

This new song sounds really good, as well. I can see they've gone in a slightly different direction to their last album while still retaining their signature sound. I like it.

I also really like the vocals. Heavy, powerful, but still legible, which is an overlooked but important aspect of vocals.
_________________
The Lions Den wrote:
Just vegan and faggots melo-tech-death for dad's fancy-ass. Fuck!!!

Top
 Profile  
Goatfangs
Wicker Mantis

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:02 pm
Posts: 2688
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2021 8:28 pm 
 

I dig the singles. I will have to listen to the entire album when it releases to determine if it is as good as the other three. Monarchy is my favorite of theirs.

Frank Booth wrote:
Pitiless Wanderer wrote:
I like these guys to a certain degree but haven't listened to them in a while. From what I recall, the vocals sounded different than what's on this new song, both in style and delivery. Did they get a new singer, or am I just imagining it?


Nope, same guy. Jake uses highs now as well, but his mids are still the same and Adam still does the majority of the highs and all of the lows.


I always felt that Jake doesn't explore his full range with Rivers, unless he isn't able to deliver the Wormed-like lows like he used to back when he was in Amongst Decay (Devourment-esque slam band from before Rivers of Nihil - so obscure it's not even on MA!) - it could also be that those type of vocals might not fit the style Rivers is going for (they only had slam-ish and -core elements on the EPs)
_________________
Openly LGBTQ+
In defiance of Christofascists

And they'll tell you black is really white - The moon is just the sun at night - And when you walk in golden halls - You get to keep the gold that falls - It's Heaven and Hell
RIP DIO

Top
 Profile  
Runko
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:38 pm
Posts: 345
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:18 am 
 

Welp, AOTY for me.

I've seen people grumble, but as someone who gates tech death and loves prog this hits all of my spots. Also didn't except them to go full Katatonia/Anathema at times but I'm glad they do. Lovely lovely lovely.

Top
 Profile  
Frank Booth
Can Bench 450

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:29 pm
Posts: 1118
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:42 am 
 

It's a lot. Not something that you can really get in one listen or even two, and I do applaud Brody and Adam for not just making WOKMN II and instead going way deeper into prog in a way that isn't about flashiness or theatrics or annoying forced wackiness.

Top
 Profile  
Subrick
Metal Strongman

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:27 pm
Posts: 9937
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 6:24 pm 
 

I had no prior attachment to Rivers of Nihil's material before this album aside from liking what I had heard off of Owls, and I thought The Work fucking sucked. It's a giant bore full of directionless songs with no creative energy to them. This album was so boring that I legit almost shut it off early twice during my full listen. It had some VERY fleeting moments of inspiration, but those were few and far between.
_________________
Earthcubed wrote:
I'm just perpetually annoyed by Sean William Scott and he's never been in a movie where I wasn't rooting for his head to sever by strange means.

Blacksoul Seraphim Gothic Doom Metal
Autumn's Ashes Melodic Death/Doom Metal

Top
 Profile  
idunnosomename
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:47 pm
Posts: 515
Location: England
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 6:34 pm 
 

I really like Owls, it's like a death metal Red (King Crimson), seeing the whole album performed with a live sax couple years ago was a very memorable experience, and the two albums before are cool too. but this... it's barely metal for the most part. which'd be fine, but it's also... not doing anything for me on any level. I was a bit disappointed to hear the sax back to be honest. thought they could push the boundaries more than this.

I'll give it a few more listens though.

Top
 Profile  
Frank Booth
Can Bench 450

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:29 pm
Posts: 1118
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:15 pm 
 

idunnosomename wrote:
I really like Owls, it's like a death metal Red (King Crimson), seeing the whole album performed with a live sax couple years ago was a very memorable experience, and the two albums before are cool too. but this... it's barely metal for the most part. which'd be fine, but it's also... not doing anything for me on any level. I was a bit disappointed to hear the sax back to be honest. thought they could push the boundaries more than this.

I'll give it a few more listens though.


Like I said earlier, they were, by all accounts, intent on giving up the sax for good, but a lot of the new material probably made them feel like it would add something again. I'd say this pushes their boundaries, it doesn't have many easy tracks the way WOKMN did and clearly isn't trying to bring over people who weren't there before, though it was pretty easy to see coming.

Top
 Profile  
Rompestromper
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:37 pm
Posts: 462
Location: Netherlands
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2021 8:18 am 
 

It took me a few listens to accept that it was another album then Owls but now I started fresh into it and it is another great work, full of thins I love and what I will listen over and over again to just find some new bits. Definitively one of my most anticipated albums, but right up my alley of experimentation. It also flows with the weather we are now in.

Top
 Profile  
MikeyC
Official Greeter of Broken Hills

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 5:16 am
Posts: 13597
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2021 1:48 am 
 

I was finally able to give this one a listen. It needs a couple more listens. For those wanting Owls 2, you'll probably be disappointed, but it's still a very interesting work (hehe). I'm keen to dive into it again. On first listen my favourite track might be "The Void from Which No Sound Escapes," although that's likely to change with more listens. We'll see if it grows.
_________________
The Lions Den wrote:
Just vegan and faggots melo-tech-death for dad's fancy-ass. Fuck!!!

Top
 Profile  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], LycanthropeMoon, MetlaNZ, Quacksha, yellow_eggplant and 33 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

  Print view
Jump to:  

Back to the Encyclopaedia Metallum


Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group