Rivers Of Nihil get progressive and psychedelic on 'Clean'

5 August 2021 | 2:15 pm | Alex Sievers
Originally Appeared In

Rivers Of Nihil work hard but riff harder on 'Clean.'

Rivers Of Nihil work hard but riff harder on 'Clean.'

2018's 'Where Owls Know My Name' is one of the best metal albums of the last few years. Hey, I'm just saying pure facts! I loved it at the time of the release and have since gone back to it frequently, now viewing it as a modern metal classic. It's an expertly constructed and elegant mix of progressive movements, electronica shades, free-jazz sax solos, and polished technical death metal.

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On their first new song in three years, 'Clean,' Rivers Of Nihil bring a similar furious tech-death energy, especially with the guitar work and Jake Dieffenbach's towering, enunciated screams. Yet there's more going on here than just the band's visceral tech-death style. Like that 2018 crusher, there's progressive and psychedelic movements heralded on 'Clean.' Namely a new mix direction, lots of vocal layering between Jake and other members, a sweet 6/8 guitar solo section starting at 3:40, which follows a proggy synthesiser passage that wouldn't go amiss on a recent Contortionist album. All before the Pennsylvanian group change the pulse again and begin shredding, getting straight back into the heavies. It's good stuff and an interesting first look at their new album, 'The Work', which drops on September 24th via Metal Blade Records.

Seemingly continuing the conceptual narrative of their previous albums, albeit heading in a darker cataclysmic direction, 'Clean' is loaded with weird sentiments of purity; being tainted and lead astray by money, capitalism, religion or societal status. Of maybe trying to fix something beyond repair; of sorting out what you value as your "work" in your life. Either way, wash yourself with it below: