Rivers Of Nihil - Where Owls Know My Name review

Bandcamp music player

334 users:
Band: Rivers Of Nihil
Album: Where Owls Know My Name
Release date: March 2018

01. Cancer/Moonspeak
02. The Silent Life
03. A Home
04. Old Nothing
05. Subtle Change (Including The Forest Of Transition And Dissatisfaction Dance)
06. Terrestria III: Wither
07. Hollow
08. Death Is Real
09. Where Owls Know My Name
10. Capricorn/Agoratopia

Some great technical ability, some dynamic range in songwriting, some unexpected elements; all these ingredients for a masterpiece are found on Where Owls Know My Name. Yet the owls are not what they seem, right?

Rivers Of Nihil have been around for quite a while and I'm glad this album has received so much attention, because, to be honest, it's their most mature record to date, and, like the intro stated, a lot of the building blocks of a masterpiece are found on this record. We've already known from previous records that the members are all technically proficient, so there's nothing surprising from that point of view. The new drummer is great, too. In fact, it was he who had me thinking most of the time, "woah, that's some techy stuff".

The best thing about the album is the dynamic songwriting, as in how much the album doesn't sound the same all over. There are a lot of heavy moments counterbalanced by lighter ones. And Where Owls Know My Name succeeds best at introducing these new lighter elements, from electronic elements in "Terrestria III: Wither", saxophone is some tracks, and plenty of cleans in others. Most surprising of these is probably the saxophone, and we get to hear that one pretty early on, in the first proper song, so that should be the first indicator that this isn't just run-of-the-mill tech death(core).

However, Rivers Of Nihil still have plenty of work to do at properly incorporating them alongside the chuggy, djenty riffs and the deathcore vocals. Because as far as the heavier sides of the album go, I wish there actually were *gasp* a bit more wankery, as the riffs are often just underdeveloped chugs. Mostly I wish there was more bass noodling, like in the title track's intro.

Even ignoring the songwriting shortcomings, the album loses a lot of power due to its sterile production, making several sections sound crammed and intrusive. That's a real shame, as there are plenty of great ideas and moments on this record, and It would've been a grand leap forward for both the band and the genre. Where Owls Know My Name is adventurous, mature and dynamic, but is sadly kept back by its still notable flaws.

The owls will not ask "who?" here.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 6


Written on 05.04.2018 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 200 users
05.04.2018 - 21:04
Weirdo of MS
Not sure if I like this one or not yet. I find myself just kinda waiting for the sax and guitar solos during the songs until they come.
The solos are pretty amazing though
2016 - 2017
2018 - 2019
06.04.2018 - 02:04
Old Nick
I found it a bit hard to find the "tech" element as far as the riffs are concerned. The "core" and "prog" elements are abundant though.

The last sentence is pretty damn good.
06.04.2018 - 02:45
So is this the most overhyped metal album from 2018 for now?
By blood... Resurrection?
By body... Redemption?
By God... Domination?
By Pilate... Crucifixion!
06.04.2018 - 03:32
The owls are not what they seem
Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
06.04.2018 - 14:01
+1 For the reviewer, 100% Agree

Hits total: 5592 | This month: 37