posted on 12/2009 By:
In my neck of the woods this past summer was a washout: Rain, rain, and more rain. It rained so god damned much that I thought I was going to have to build an ark. Needless to say, this severely reduced this year’s quotient of fun in the sun. Fortunately, Egypt’s self titled disc has been a little ray of sunshine for me. As I listen to Egypt’s fuzzy grooves, I picture my self floating lazily down the Nile on a reed raft, with the sun in my face, a beer in one hand and a bong in the other. The reality is, I will probably never float down the Nile on a red raft, and if I did, those Nile crocodiles would probably capsize my raft and eat me, and I gave up weed because it gave me smoker's cough. But, I still have the record, and it warms my soul.
Though Egypt takes some lyrical inspiration from the land of the Pharaohs, the band is no threat to Nile’s position as kings of Egyptian themed death metal. Egypt plays a style that lands somewhere between the holy smoking doom of Sleep and the California jams of Nebula. The disc is comprised of four tracks, with a total running time of just over half an hour, which means Egypt is not afraid to stretch their grooves out to epic proportions. The album’s opening track, "Valley of the Kings" lays down the blueprint for the band's typical approach: Start with a slow mellow groove, and when the listener is good and relaxed, call down the fucking thunder. It is a simple formula, but one that stands the test of time. Track two, “Queen of All Time (Red Giant)” is the most Sleep-like of the bunch, with an opening bass line reminiscent of Dopesmoker, and loping "Dragonaut"-esque riff in the latter half. The album’s strongest track is “Dirty Witch” which bounces along on an opening riff so catchy and funky that I defy anyone not to at least tap their foot to it. The song then segues into some heavy Sabbath styled riffing perfectly complemented by Aaron Esterby yelling “Alright” in just the right spots. The closing track, “Touch Ground” features a wistful intro that brings to mind Down’s “Stone the Crow” and in simillar fashion to that track, works its way into heavier, more epic territory.
Egypt is obviously not doing anything new, but the band’s presentation and execution is nearly perfect. Aaron Esterby’s bass tone is thick and sublimely ugly, and his playing provides the pulse that keeps the songs moving. Esterby also possesses a pretty good set of pipes, with a fine rock scream, in the vein of Chris Cornell, though not as shrill. Guitarist, Ryan Grahn does not steel the show with any heroic solos, but his subtle, nuanced playing is essential to setting the mood in the mellow sections, and when it is time to drop the hammer, Grahn delivers a massive wall of fuzzy doom to rival the masters. My grasp of the intricacies of drumming is limited, but it is safe to say that Chad Heille holds down the rhythm admirably, with a warm natural sound.
Now for the bad news folks: Egypt is kaput, tot, finito, splitsville, no mas. Four songs are all we are going to get. This record is in fact two years old. Originally released on the very small Norwegian label, Lyderhorn Records, Egypt has recently been re-released by Meteor City to hopefully, a wider audience. Four songs is not much of a legacy, but they are four damn good songs, and I highly recommend any fan of the hazier side of metal to give Egypt a listen.
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