A conversation with Nile’s Karl Sanders on ‘Vile Nilotic Rites’

Posted by on November 29, 2019

Nile have been on tour in support of their new album Vile Nilotic Rites, which was released on November 1st via Nuclear Blast (order here). We recently caught up with frontman/guitarist Karl Sanders to discuss their latest effort, and more.

What was the creative process for the new album, Vile Nilotic Rites?

Well, we wrote some songs.


You did, have you?

Yeah, we did that. Actually, we did a lot of songwriting together. There’s a lot of collaboration. Right now, with this new lineup, there’s so much team spirit, brotherhood, that it gave a great lift to our songwriting because we had everybody on the same page working together. No one was working against each other. It was all very focused. Everybody was pulling together and working as a single unit.


Musically, how would you compare the new album to your prior efforts?

Well, I’d say this is a very streamlined song-oriented kind of record. At first glance, it’s technical death metal. Very bass hard, a lot of riffs, but there’s a real focus to the songwriting where the song comes first. I think, to my ears, it sounds very listenable. You can put it on, and you can actually listen to it. Which seems like something that should not be, right? If you put on the music, you should be able to listen to it, but there’s a lot of death metal and technical death metal that’s just not fun to listen to.


This one’s more fun to hear all the time?

I think so. I think it’s very listenable, accessible. Even if you don’t necessarily love technical stuff, I think this is listenable for quite a good range of people.


Can you talk more about the artwork for the album? 

We got together with [Michal] Xaay [Loranc], a Polish guy who’s done a lot of work for Nile. We talked for a few minutes. I gave him all the lyrics to the songs. Then we just turned him loose, let him do whatever he wanted. That’s what he came back with.


I want to talk more about the song “Revel In Their Suffering.”

All right.


How has this song come together?

That one, I wrote the words, and Brian wrote the music. I think Brad had a riff or two in there. It actually was about four minutes longer in its original form, but it got trimmed down. The lyrics are about, and this is a very perplexing situation lyrically, but it’s told from the viewpoint of the neighbors of the Egyptians. It sounds ridiculous. But at the end of the fourth and fifth dynasty, when Egypt was in very a bad state. Things were going wrong for them. It’s told from the point-of-view of their neighbors. Like neighbors, they had been subjugating, concurring and abusing for hundreds, and thousands, of years. Well, now it was the Egyptians turn to suffer. I got to think their neighbors were probably going like, “Oh yeah? Fuck you. It’s your turn. We’re not going to help you. You can fucking suck it.”


Is there any parts in the album that was more challenging for you?

The song “Oxford Handbook of Savage Genocidal Warfare” was extremely challenging. Holy shit is that a tough song to play.


How did that one go?

Well Brian wrote the music for that one. I did the words. He brought it in and it was just insane. Riffs that hurt your hands to play.


Are you guys going to play it live?

Well that’s the plan. We’ll work it in eventually. Maybe when we build up to it, because playing it every night that’s going to be a challenge.


Are there any plans later this year, early next, that you can reveal to us?

We’re actually going to be pretty darn busy. We got Japan and Australia. Some things we’re trying to lineup in Southeast Asia. All the big European summer fests. Then next fall we have both a European tour and a North American tour in the works. We also got to work in South America as well. Yep. We’ll be busy.


You’re barely going to be home.

Yep. Still got to pay the fucking mortgage though. Still got to pay the power bill. Still got to pay all the bills. It doesn’t matter that you’re on tour. Life doesn’t just magically stop.


Nope, never does. Have you actually had a chance to listen to any new music this year? If so, since the year’s wrapping up soon, what are some of your favorite albums that you’ve heard from this year?

From this year? I haven’t had time to listen to a lot. I was busy working on an album. But I really like the new Vitriol, To Bathe From the Throat of Cowardice.


That is an awesome album. Really good choice. They just toured with you.

They sure did. We really discovered that we were very much kindred spirits. A lot of our fundamental philosophy on how we see metal was very, very similar. Even though those guys are 20 years younger, their hearts are in the right place.


I have to say, their debut album spoke volumes. I think it’s great that you mentioned them. Is there anything else that you want to say or add about the new album?

We’re feeling very strong about the record. Do yourself a favor and check it out. I’m sure you’ll hear something you enjoy on it.



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