After hearing their last album “Monarchy” in 2015, I knew Rivers of Nihil had the potential to be incredible. I loved that album but I could easily hear them really getting more progressive with their music. Their new album “Where Owls Know My Name” proves my theory to be true. The album has the death metal that put them on the map but they take it to a completely new level on this album.
The riffs are complex yet melodic, the vocals are mostly harsh but there are clean vocals and the band is tighter than ever. But the SONGS, that’s the big difference here. Plus any band that employs a sax solo on multiple tracks, and is still this heavy…I can’t even come up with a word. “Where Owls Know My Name” is where Rivers of Nihil position themselves as the American Opeth. Yes I said it.
I was blown away by the first song released from the album, “The Silent Life.” That song has a sax solo in it and you don’t see that left turn coming. It’s jaw dropping. The whole track is actually. But wait! There’s so much more. From the awesome intro track which is moody and atmospheric to the completely EPIC “Subtle Change (Including the Forest of Transition and Dissatisfaction Dance)” to the awesome title track, there are no weak links on this album.
“Subtle Change” is pure prog metal and it’s followed by the third part of their “Terrestria” instrumental series. “Terrestria III: Wither” like the whole album is based on the season of Fall or Autumn. “Monarchy” was Summer and “The Conscious Seed of Light” was Spring. So yes this is part of a larger concept here. Prog enough? These instrumentals have always been that moment where I knew they could really embrace being progressive. Now on this album, “Wither” fits in even better with the music around it. There’s jazz influences, folk influences, classical influences…it all FITS together!
The bottom line here is that Rivers of Nihil have made a quantum leap. This is not to take anything away from their first two great albums. It’s just that “Where Owls Know My Name” is one of those career defining albums for a band. Most bands never get anywhere close to this. All bands need to take note of how Rivers of Nihil have progressed because this is how it’s done. This is what progressive metal should be: forward thinking, perfectly executed and still very personal sounding. “Where Owls Know My Name” is going down as one of 2018’s best albums.
1. Cancer / Moonspeak
2. The Silent Life
3. A Home
4. Old Nothing
5. Subtle Change (Including the Forest of Transition and Dissatisfaction Dance)
6. Terrestria III: Wither
8. Death Is Real
9. Where Owls Know My Name
10. Capricorn / Agoratopia
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 16 March 2018