Niles Karl Sanders Names 5 World Music Albums Metalheads Will Love

Metalheads are pretty well versed The Nile‘s obsession with Egyptian history, but there’s more to the bandleader Carl Sanders‘ boundary-breaking death metal that has been prevalent for more than two decades. Saurian Apocalypsethe third eastern ambient solo album from Sanders, was released this year and it finds him once again returning to ritualistic/meditative music achieved through the use of a variety of cultural instruments, such as the Bağlama, sistrum, dumbek and glissentar.

In the spirit of this release, Sanders has bridged the gap between world music and heavy metal by offering Five World Music Albums, Metalheads Will Love Most.

Sanders, who formed Nile in 1993 and released The Otherworldly Among the catacombs of Nephren-Ka Nile debuted in 1998, branched out with his first solo release, Saurian meditation, in 2004. For many metal fans, it was probably their first taste of true world music and an eye opener to cultural sounds played with more traditional intent amidst the folk metal explosion that also occurred around this time. At least this was the case for one Loudwire writer in particular.

Five years later, Sanders served Saurian exorcisms, another exercise in Eastern ambient music and a refreshing change of pace from the down-tuned riffing fury and blast beast-intensive death metal provided by Nile. The timing was also quite interesting—Sanders continued to explore this musical path while simultaneously expanding Nile’s sonic and lyrical scope into Egypt’s nearby Middle Eastern region.

Evolution and openness are generally the keys to long-term success, and that seems to be true for Nile and Sanders, so join in below and see his picks for world music albums for metal fans!

Get your copy of ‘Saurian Apocalypse’ here and follow the Nile onward Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Listen to more of Sanders’ solo music Spotify.

Karl Sanders, “Skull Fuck Ritual (Skull Breach Edition)”

  • Peter Gabriel, ‘Passion: Music for the Last Temptation of Christ’

    This album was pretty much my entry point to world music and ambient music. It opened a lot of musical doors for me as a listener, causing me to scour local record stores back then for indigenous music from all parts of the earth.

    To create the film’s soundtrack, Gabriel used the resources of WOMAD, an organization he founded, to bring together musicians from the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South Asia. Passion featured some A-list world musicians such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Youssou N’Dour, L. Shankar and Baaba Maal.

  • Heilung, ‘Drive’

    Not exactly “world music”, Heilung is an experimental neo-folk music band. Their music is based on ancient texts and runic inscriptions from the Germanic people of the Bronze Age.

    As a metal fan, what I love about this band is that they really capture a very pagan vibe with very old pagan musical instruments – such as horse skin drums painted in human blood, deer skin drums, human bones, deer bones, buffalo horns, human ash rattles, Hindu ritual bells and Mongolian throat vocals .

  • Le Trio Joubran, ‘Majaz’

    These three players are a Palestinian oud trio originally from Nazareth and they are brothers and the way they play together is overwhelming. A friend of mine sent this to me and said “They sound like oud players playing Nile riffs,” and when I heard this record I knew exactly what he meant.

    Majaz is like a dreamy, soundtrack-like take on traditional Palestinian folk music, but its richness of Persian oud mastery shares a common connection with guitar masters such as Al Di Meola, Strunz & Farahand Paco de Lucia. This album has become one of my favorite records of all time.

  • Trial of The Bow, ‘Rite of Passage’

    A project of members of 90s doom ambient metal band Disembowelment, Trial of The Bow is an unforgettable, timeless masterpiece of ethno/ambient/world music. Metalheads love this album and it has struck a resonant chord with metal listeners; it has the soul of doom metal, but in a quiet, dreamy, mesmerizing way.

  • Ostad Mohammad-Hoseyn Yeganeh, ‘Music of Northern Khorasan’

    Yeganeh sings and plays an instrument called the dutar, a two-stringed Persian lute of ancient origin. This record is completely obscure and I would never have heard of it except for an Iranian friend of mine who sent it to me. The music for Yeganeh is Iranian folk, of course, but some of the music on that CD is oddly related to some of the craziest metal music I’ve ever heard.

    Due to the dutar’s tuning in thirds and fifths (similar to the modern power chord much abused in all forms of metal guitar music) and the overwhelming amount of Persian minor keys/fine chords that the tremolo picks in crazy tempos – there is a striking musicological similarity to a modern evil black metal style of guitar playing.

    But much of Yeganeh’s music sounds in every way like no simple, mindless guitar abuse. Between the strange time signatures and old Persian melodies, and by the musician using all five fingers of his right hand (as opposed to the simple duple meter inherent in the unique up/down motion used when using a pick ) the resulting complex barrage of insanely bizarre rhythmic note groupings at odd times in mind-numbingly virtuosic tempos is the likes of which no metal or any modern band could possibly imagine.

  • ‘Kenya and Tanzania Witchcraft and Ritual Music’

    Another completely obscure CD I found not long after [Peter Gabriel’s] Passion The soundtrack had whetted my appetite, causing me to hunt the dark corners of local record stores. It is a compilation album of anthropologists’ recordings of various African voodoo and witchcraft music.

    Some of it is just bizarre and almost inaudible – it’s not an album in the pop music sense, it’s actually the deepest darkest ritual music made by banging on strange unnamed primitive instruments, many of them made of animal and human bones and simple primitive strings or instruments of the horn/bone flute type.

    The music on this disc is eerie, unnerving, and creepy AF. Like the kind of “atmosphere for an exorcism” that probably sounds a lot like it has been since the earliest humans began meeting for late night bonfires, fertility rituals, cannibalism and making curses.

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