Where Owls Know My Name Album Review

Nick Maynard 11.29.18
Rivers of Nihil Album Cover (Photo: Metal Blade)

Where Owls Know My Name is a technical, progressive death metal album-- released by Rivers of Nihil in March of this year. Rivers of Nihil had only two full length lps before Where Owls Know My Name. Where Owls Know My Name clocks in at 56 minutes with 10 tracks. This album incorporates various new influences, one example is jazz-- the saxophone solos are a welcome addition to their sound

Jake Dieffenbachs oscillates between clean vocals, a classic growl and a shrill high scream. All three are used effectively throughout the course of the album. The guitar tone is excellent, it is very heavy. The drumming on this album is just fantastic; it’s pretty much perfect.

Track 1 is “Cancer/Moonspeak”-- it’s a short and atmospheric introduction track; its purpose is to set the mood for the rest of the album. Track 2 is “The Silent Life”--the first actual song of the album and it’s a diverse track. One second it's crushing technical death metal then it will transition into a beautiful sax solo.

Track 3 is “A Home”. It starts off strong with a crunchy riff, it stays heavy but it slips into a nice melodic breakdown. A Home was one of the singles released prior to the album, it also has a music video. This track incorporates some haunting melodic vocals which will return several times.

Track 5 is “Subtle Changes”, clocking in at eight minutes--it is the longest song off the album. It is the most diverse song off the album, it is a great distillation of what the album is trying to achieve. Crushing blast beats, Jake Dieffenbachs haunting vocals and the solo at 6:16 and a beautiful sax solo are the highlights of Subtle Changes.

Track 9 is a masterpiece it is without a doubt the best song off the album. “Where Owls Know My Name” is the title track and it perfectly sums up what the album wants to be. Similar to Subtle Changes but this does it better and more efficiently--the track has two amazing sax solos, they are the best off the album. The song is dynamic, emotional and heavy; I believe it’s the best song off the album.

Track 10 is the albums closing song and it’s a strong closer-- “Capricorn/Agoratopia” is the song’s name. At 7:51 it is the 2nd longest song on the album. The song starts off with a mellow guitar riff and more clean vocals-- it sets the mood for the album’s closer. The solo about half way in is the highlight of the song. The song ends with an ethereal instrumental passage which includes a bit of saxophone. A great closer for a great album.

I have no problems with this album--there just isn’t anything wrong with it for me to point out. I honestly think it’s a perfect album. I’m sure if you’re the ultimate music critic you can find something but to a listener like me, I don’t notice any issues with the album. Every song is great, some are better than others but the worst song off the album is still a really good song. I can’t give it any other score than a 10/10.