Rivers of Nihil’s new and third album, Where Owls Know My Name, is the work of a band growing in confidence and maturity. Having been a fan of their first two records, my initial comparison for them has been label mates Behemoth’s later work. They share both the ferocity and intensity of the blackened death metal legends. However, Where Owls Know My Name has the five piece from Reading, PA expanding in different directions. Purists may at first freak out a bit when they hear clean vocals and saxophone–that isn’t a typo–but it all works together rather nicely, and the band as a whole feel like they have room to breathe within the songs.

Forgive my segue, but hearing another band integrate saxophone into their sound so well is an exciting development. I will not go on a rant against metal elitists and purists here, as I’m sure some fans of Rivers of Nihil’s prior work will not be happy with these developments. It took me a while to adjust to that sound back when I first heard it on Ihsahn’s brilliant album After, and fans of Shining (Norway) will find this all too familiar. But just listen to the atmospherics of “Terrestria III:Wither”, which leads into the second half of the album and crushing death metal of outstanding track “Hollow”. Fans of Job For A Cowboy‘s Sun Eater should really dig eat. There’s also a hint of Nine Inch Nails (see album closer “Capricorn/Agoratopia”) making a tour with Fallujah quite compelling.

With all of these disparate influences cooking in the same kitchen, I would understand anyone’s concern this might not work well, but it works exceedingly well. Rivers of Nihil have found a sound that suits them perfectly and I am excited to hear what they will come up with in the future.  Bloodrock Rating:  4.5 out of 5.0 axes

1. Cancer/Moonspeak
2. The Silent Life
3. A Home
4. Old Nothing
5. Subtle Change (Including the Forest of Transition
6. Terrestria III:Wither
7. Hollow
8. Death Is Real
9. Where Owls Know My Name
10: Capricorn/Agoratopia

Jake Dieffenbach – vocals
Brody Uttley – guitars
Jon Topore – guitars
Adam Biggs – bass/vocals
Jared Klein – drums

Follow Rivers of Nihil here:




Written by Andy Cook for Bloodrock Media on March 18, 2018.