NILE, a band of talented musicians, from southern US of A, who are currently flooding the
underground due to their CD releases "Festivals of Atonement" and "Ramses...Bringer of War"
(a re-release of their promo tape). Nile was formed in 1993 consisting of Chief Spires (Bass/
Vocals), Karl Sanders (Guitar/vocals), John Ehlers (Guitar/Vocals) and Pete Hammoura (Drums/
Vocals). They call their style of Metal "Ithyphallic", "After the ancient Egyptian custom of
portraying their war and fertility gods in postures of mythically proportioned tumescence,
denoting the symbolic dualistic powers of creation and destruction". This is an interview 
conducted by Lunatic in December of 1997.

CRUSADER: The first thing that comes to my mind is, why the Egyptian imagery? What inspired 
you to use an idea like that? It certainly makes a welcome change. It also however unlikely
fits perfectly with your music.

KARL: I don't know if it was so much inspiration - more like finding one's self outside in
the rain and realising that one could get wet. A friend of ours had suggested the name Nile
to us "cause you guys like that Middle Eastern stuff" and at the time we couldn't see
ourselves with a name like Cadaverous Anal Mutilated Evil Thingies so we went "OK Nile seems
to be the least stupid name so far". After our first self-titled demo (which is destined to
remain obscure - at least I hope so) we started realizing the vast potential of the Egyptian
concept. We had always been fascinated with ancient Egypt anyway, so it wasn't that big a leap
for us. We were also kind of burned out on the gore thing and the Satan angle seemed utterly
stupid and cliché. At the time NO ONE was doing anything close to what we wanted to do so it
seemed to be wide open territory for us. Right now I know of two U.S. Death bands that have
since sprung up incorporating the Egyptian theme. When we came up with the concept, it seemed
real natural for us. The more I started researching ancient Egypt, the more I saw how much
there was that was tailor made for Death Metal material. Like for instance you got ancient
battles, animal cults, cults of the dead, Mummies, animal gods, blood-drinking reptile gods,
black magic, pagan religion, phallicism, cannibalism, Jew enslavement, crypts of the dead,
vast necropolises, monstrous stone monuments to long dead gods, Megalomaniac Pharaohs, the
grandfather of all magickal systems, advanced learning in art, architecture, medicine - I
could go on and on - I could write Metal songs for the next ten years and still not scratch
the surface of all the possibilities suitable for Death Metal song writing. The other thing is,
Metal owes a huge musical debt to Middle Eastern and African musiques. The Arabs have been
speed picking for thousands of years now! Hah Hah....Seriously, where do you think all these
exotic scales that Metal guitarists love so much come from? I was blown away when I discovered
the similarities in the in the use of droning modalities and modal fifth harmonies and odd
note groupings between Metal and Middle eastern stringed instruments. If you doubt my word,
pick up Trial of the Bow and tell me you can't see where these two underlying melodic
structures converge. Slayer knew it. Blackmore knew it. Disembowelment sure as fuck knew it.
The use of string bending and microtonal intentional flattening of tones is a direct lift from
Middle East music as well. In fact, American Guitarists typically use about 6 string bending
techniques. In India, there are well over 50 well realized and developed methods for musical
expression via the bent note. What's even more mind boggling is that even 10 year old kids in
the middle of nowhere in Africa, are generally more advanced on their cheap home made
instruments than a lot of Americans passing themselves off as professionals. I know, 'cause
that is the stuff that I listen to all the time. I have one CD of this 12 year old playing
the Koutougi, a little 2 string primitive lute thing and Eddie Van Halen would have been hard
pressed to keep up with this kid. I guess the point I'm making here is, the musical culture
of the Middle East and Africa has been developing for at least 6000 years. What does America
have of their own? Country music? Maybe Jazz - it is a high art form - but that's it. There
is more MUSIC in the polyrhythm's of the drum circles of obscure African savages than in all of
MTV put together. Maybe we should give electric guitars and double bass drums to dirt poor
tribes in Kenya or Mozambique or Morocco and see what they come up with. Throw in some witch
doctor ranting and raving some exorcism screams and VOILA! The next Black Metal craze! Whoah
- maybe there is the idea for my side project - just kidding. (but in case anybody exploits
this genius idea, I am hereby claiming that I thought it up right here in this interview.)

CRUSADER: In asking round I have heard some interesting comments about your music.
Descriptions such as "Extremely Brutal", "Brilliant", "Weird" and the most flattering one yet
"I have not been this impressed with a new band since the first time I heard SLAYER (Reign in
Blood era)". What are your comments and how would you further describe your music? What bands
have influenced your sound?

PETE: I haven't heard the "impressed with a new band since Slayer" comment before. That is
very flattering indeed. That is a very high honour and at the same time puts much pressure on
a band. What I mean is, the more people like you the harder you must try to keep them liking
you. That is a big job. But we like it! To describe our sound is difficult for me but I can
only say what we do is true in the sense that when we play, there is no lying. We play from
deep within and mean every note. we may not be the fastest band but may not even care about
that. We just play so the saliva runs from our mouths and lock our teeth around the leg of the
listener like the dog that bites and will not let go no matter what you do. Till your leg
falls off!

KARL: What I try to do is to subtly incorporate the Egyptian modalities WITHIN the actual
Metal riffing. Upon casual listening, it sounds like regular Death guitar. But if you take the 
time to listen to what I'm actually doing, you can see where the two ideas cross so that the
CONTENT of the riff is exotic, but played in a brutal way with the down tuning and distortion
and the Marshall's cranked to 11. After I get that together Pete gets hold of it and makes us
play it 10 times faster than I thought humanly possible. I think he's trying to break my
wrists sometimes. I listen to Graeme Ravelle, Peter Gabriel, Disembowelment, Trial of the Bow,
The Gyuto Monks of Tibet, Ravi Shankar, Yezid Fara Khan and lots of African drum circle stuff
with silly titles like "Smithsonian Recording of the Tanzanian Master Drummers". I'm serious.
What I do is put on one of my African drum circle CD's turn out the lights and just start
wailing on the guitar without even looking at the neck or caring where my hands are. I just
turn myself over to the primitive rhythms and jump around like a naked savage. Every once in
a while I stumble across a cool riff, but the whole point of the thing is the primal,
purifying of the primordial drive, the tribal spirit that lies dormant in all of us.

CRUSADER: You have recently been signed to Visceral Productions who have just re-released
your promo cassette on CD. How is life treating you as a "signed" band? What does the deal

PETE: Life is the same my brother. I have some sad news to report. Visceral is closing down.
It is true, they have released our "Ramses Bringer of War" demo on CD limited to 2000 copies.
However they will not be releasing our full length. In most likelihood we will be going over
to Relapse Records.

KARL: Yes life is the same. The Myth is that once you get signed, all of a sudden it's tour
busses and limo's and endless supplies of coke and groupies. The truth is we still work day
jobs and still have to wrangle gas money from club owners and stay at Motel 6. The bottom
line is if you want to play Metal, you do it because you love the music. The thing that is
cool, is that someone else is taking care of distribution, which is tough for an underground
act. There are only so many hours in the day and not only have we got jobs, but just finding
the time to get together to make music, write songs, rehearse, and do mail, set up shows, send
out promo stuff - Jeez nobody better ever call Metal bands lazy.

CRUSADER: The release of your next CD "Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka" is scheduled for
the end of 1997, how has the recording gone, are you finished and are you satisfied with the
final product? When can we expect it to be released?

PETE: The recording is complete, It has been mastered, and all the artwork done, and we are
very satisfied and very proud of what we have achieved. We feel the energy is captured as we
feel it. As far as the release, since Visceral is closing, there will be a delay. If
everything goes well with Relapse, it should be released around March of 98. I know this is a
big jump from November 97 release but in talking to Relapse, they feel that by waiting till
March, they can do a much bigger promotion of the album plus they have huge distribution which
means it will be in most stores in the U.S. From what I understand they are working on big
distribution overseas also.

CRUSADER: Some of the bands you have played with read like a who's who of the more mainstream
and the up and coming underground scene. Bands like Deicide, Broken Hope, Six Feet Under,
Deaden, Corpse Vomit, Fleshgrind, Internal Bleeding, Hemdale, Regurgitation, Jungle Rot as
well as your upcoming tour of Europe with Unleashed. How would you describe your live shows,
which bands did you enjoy playing with the most and what new is scheduled in your "diary"?

PETE: Well the European tour is on hold right now due to Visceral closing. We'll just have
to wait and see what happens with that. We never did play with Internal Bleeding because
they didn't play that Death Fest in Illinois. We had a great time at that show though.
Playing with all those bands and getting to meet a lot of people that we had been writing
to. Our live show is not anything special. We just get up and play like it's our last night
on this planet. I mean we don't have any fancy lights or smoke and we don't wear corpse paint
and breath fire. We just get up and attack what we do with every ounce of energy that we can
and don't pretend. Getting to play with Deicide was a blast. They Kill! Malevolent Creation -
It was great to meet those guys and watch them kill... We did a few shows with Incantation
which was great. We really like those guys and hung out with them. I'd like to do a tour with
them. Our plan right now is to get this album out and hook up on a tour. We want to play

CRUSADER: The track Godless (oddly enough not mentioned on the cover of "Festivals of
Atonement" where it appears), begins with a soft piece called "Immortality Through Art" and
then launches into an assault on all six senses. Those are very strong sentiments you express
there. Does this track reflect your beliefs about all "organized religion" or about any
specific one? Does religion surface in your music in any way, and is this through a conscious

Atheos Anarchos
No belief in any Deity
No lies or false idols
No dogma shall enslave me

My words of truth
The tongue of fire
A cleansing of utter blasphemy
No law of man or god
No chains of servitude
Bind me to the unjust

Purify me in flames
I have no fear of retribution
Before me no graven image
Shall I bend in acquiescence
Say not unto me
Thou shall not

The head of Ramses
Lies fallen to the ground
Broken - Crumbled- Destroyed
Left in ruins

KARL: They are indeed powerful sentiments. I believe that song's power derives from the
genuineness of the feelings expressed. That set of lyrics typifies my approach to song writing,
in that the song can be interpreted on many levels. Anti-religious statements are a common
method of expression in the Metal world, but the one thing all these Black Metal bands have in
common is that they are rebelling against the christian god, Jehovah, or Yahweh if you will.
I myself have had my own share of frustration with Judeo christian ideology. But since I am
writing about stuff that happened in 3000 BC, it stands to reason that all this stuff is
pre-christian and therefore, pre-Satan. So the question is, how does one go about blaspheming
when the religious structure in question (Egypt) is itself blasphemous to Christianity to
begin with? Confused yet? So, what I did was to try to place myself in a polytheistic society
where I had not just one god to deny, but an entire Pantheon to declare autonomy from. Also at
the time in my personal life my ex-wife and her family were attempting to turn me into nothing
more than a mule, a workhorse with no mind of my own. I was supposed to work 70 hours a week,
wait hand and foot on my deranged bitch of a wife and give up my music. The line that goes
"No chains of servitude bind me to the unjust" came to me as I was fucking telling those
despicable people that I was going to run my own life, dammit. So it hit me smack in the
head that this was exactly the sentiment that some one slaving away in Ancient Egypt would
have felt like saying to the myriad religious over seers as they were being worked to death.
Fuck you and all your gods! The connection between that and the instrumental "Immortality
Through Art" is that I believe it is every human beings right to live and work for their own
benefit. All workers have the right to the fruits of their own labour and the right to exist
as free men in mutual coexistence with other equally free beings. Yes, I dig Ayn Rand. When
we are gone, that's it, other than your offspring, no one is going to give a fuck that you
were ever here on this inconsequential ball of dirt. So if you want to have any sort of
continuity you have to leave something behind, and unless it has some sort of value or
relevance to other human beings, who is gonna care? My contribution to humanity is my music,
and the ideals that are communicated therein. Hopefully the stuff that means something to us
will touch others as well. The Egyptians left us a lot of stuff that has lasted thousands of
years and profoundly moves multitudes of people every year to visit the timeless monuments in
Egypt. I seriously doubt that in 5000 years anyone will remember Metallica and their load of
crap. (or Morbid Angel for that matter). Will anyone care how much money Jimmy Swaggart
cheated little old ladies out of last year or whether you were a Catholic or a Buddhist? The
stuff that I try to write usually has a common underlying theme that is consistent - That
there are eternal truths that have been the same for thousands of years and that people have
essentially not changed, despite technological advances. People (and nations) still lie and
cheat each other and kill each other over selfish motives. Religious leaders still lie and
manipulate us like they always have. And most of all, Corpse sodomy was not invented by Chris
Barnes. Jeffrey Dahmer was an amateur, and Adolf Hitler was a wanna be.

CRUSADER: What is the story behind the track "Die Rache Lied Der Asssyriche"? Is it sung in
Egyptian? What does it mean? Why is the title in German?

KARL: Die Rache is so named because in the course of researching the Sumerian lyrics for the
song, I wanted to take it further than it's Lovecraftian origins. I soon discovered that all
the cool archaeological books were written in French and German. It was mind-boggling to me to
come across my beloved Pazazu in the middle of an otherwise confusing page of Germanic text.
So the concept with the title is that this could be something you might find in a German
translation of Ancient Sumerian stone tablets of Cuneiform containing the formulae for this
ritual summoning of war, plague and vengeance, as you might come across in the work of one of
those German Archaeologists of the 1800's. Confused yet? It literally translates 'Vengeance
War Chant of the Assyrians" and it is consistent with my handy English-Sumerian pocket
dictionary. No joke - I flipped when I found it Net Surfing one day at Tech. So I downloaded
it. It doesn't actually fit in your pocket cause it goes both ways - From Sumerian to English
and from English to Sumerian. The interesting angle is that the English rant that I do in the
middle was directly influenced by watching old documentary flicks on Hitler's Nazi Rally
speeches. I watched and noted his delivery and gestures and the near hysterical intensity
that he worked him and his audience into. That state of intensity is intrinsic to any
effective working of vengeance. The original idea was that we would flip the ranting around
backwards so as to achieve that evil backwards thing that I love so much - It usually makes
my skin crawl to hear myself screaming backwards (ref: Godless break) but when we flipped the
track over it turned out sounding exactly like Hitler ranting in German. It was just too
spooky...It gave me the willies cause I had not told the guys that I had boned up on the
Hitler attitude, and here I was eerily sounding just like ADOLF. I am not kidding here. Ask
anyone who was at the session. After making our hair stand on end by playing it over and over,
it soon occurred to us the utter futility and ridiculousness of leaving it backwards. So then
we spent another 15 minutes rolling around the floor laughing our asses off and going Heil
Hitler! We decided to use it forwards because it retains the power of the meaning of the
words and you can literally hear me drooling in insane rage and my eyeballs bugging out from
screaming so hard.

CRUSADER: Do you have any opinions about the rise in popularity of '80's Metal over the last
couple of years?

KARL: ooh boy.....I lived through the 80's once already and I shudder when I think of some of
the crap that was passed off as Metal. Hopefully now we have a little perspective on what
stuff has lasting value. Like the way Dissection incorporates Iron Maidenish ideas into their
Black/Death. But as far as the "Retro" acts, I find it insulting that some one can recycle
some one else's ideas in such a shallow fashion. Don't get me wrong, I still listen to some
of my albums from back then and occasionally pilfer a riff or two and adapt it into what I'm
doing now. But I would never try to convince anyone that this is not 1997. I personally can't
go backwards and pretend that the struggles of the Metal art form in the 90's didn't happen or
had no relevance to the advancement of Metal as a legitimate musical art. I am not saying
that we couldn't learn a thing or two from the early Metal Masters---There is much value in
understanding what we are doing and where and how and why and the meaning behind it all. But
fuck - If I want to hear some exquisite early Metal I'm going to put on Hell Awaits or Reign
in Blood or Sabbath vol.4 or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath or Long Live Rock 'n' Roll by Rainbow or
Killers by Maiden, NOT a rehashed weak attempt to cash in on the latest retro craze. Jeez,
What do they take us for?

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