Review RIVERS OF NIHIL ‘The Work’

Rivers Of Nihil, hailing from Reading, Pennsylvania, unleashed their first EP 11 years ago and premiered with ‘The Conscious Seed of Light’ in 2013. Having found a home at Metal Blade Records, the band released two next longplayers with ‘The Work’ being the next addition to the family.

‘The Work’ might be a bit of an unusual title but expresses the lyrical concept that strings together the eleven tracks that made it on the tracklist. Often we see the shining and bright things, the sweet and nice aspects of life and what we often forget is that everything is connected to work and sweat. One can’t enjoy the shining diamond without someone working hard in the mines. And, if you reflect on yourself, physical, emotional and intellectual work is always connected to the nicer aspects of life. The one can’t go without the other. Knowing this background the album provides a lot of space for deeper personal interpretation, something we have expected from a band like Rivers Of Nihil.

The architect behind the lyrics is bassist Adam Biggs and working on the album was an extra challenge, based on the pandemic and lockdown situation. It was a moment to let creativity flow without being or having been on tour for month and years.  Time was also a relevant factor for Brody Uttley who took care about the music. Writing the songs was according to him less of a challenge and the extra time provided space for an almost endless flow of creative output, that ended up in the song on ‘The Work’.

Rivers Of Nihil is a band that you can’t add to a box easily. The music on ‘The Work’ is covering a wider range of sounds although the focus is on harsh and powerful metal that sits somewhere between death metal and tech metal. Songs like the intense ‘Focus’ and the speedy ‘MORE’ are representatives of the fierce moments. And don’t forget listening to the end of ‘Dreaming Black Clockwork’, which feels like a massive swarm of whatever attacking you.

But there is more. ‘The Work’ sounds like a complex Gesamtkunstwerk, more of a space than a record with music pressed on it. There is the calmer and atmospheric ‘Maybe One Day’ that shows a very soulful aspect of Rivers Of Nihil’s music and towards the end the tune even reminds of bands like Pink Floyd. Another exciting song, actually they are all great, is ‘The Void from Which No Sound Escapes’. Rolled out over six minutes the track combines most of the style elements used by the band. Atmospheric sections are part of the song as well as massive metal blasts being in brutal contrast to the calmer moments. The fact that the guys added a saxophone solo to the song too, done by their friend Zach Strouse, shows the variety and layers of the song, that represents ‘The Work’ in a great fashion.

‘The Work’ is a longplayer that demands attention. You can’t just listening to the album while doing other stuff because you would miss too many details and nuances. Each of the tracks wants to be discovered individually. Each time you listen to the album, new details are revealed that ensure a long-lasting listening delight.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. The Tower (Theme from “The Work”)
  2. Dreaming Black Clockwork
  3. Wait
  4. Focus
  5. Clean
  6. The Void from Which No Sound Escapes
  7. MORE?
  8. Tower 2
  9. Episode
  10. Maybe One Day
  11. Terrestria IV: Work

Label: Metal Blade Records

Genre: Tech Death Metal

Release Date EU: September 24th, 2021

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