Interview: Nile’s Karl Sanders Shares First LP in 13 Years, ‘Saurian Apocalypse’

Having built his reputation around being the founding member, primary songwriter, lead guitar player, and vocalist for ancient Egyptian-themed death metal band, Nile; Karl Sanders is someone who’s become greatly respected as a prominent musician within the world of extreme metal. 

Through further exploration of Egyptian history, religion, music, science, and mythology, Sanders has been able to fully enrich the atmosphere of Nile’s music over the past 28 years. Surrounding the band’s ferociously fast and brutal-natured death metal sound comes a wealth of Middle Eastern and Egyptian folk ambience and acoustics, vocal chants and orchestral components. 

Many of the aforementioned ancient, traditional musical elements that have served as interludes or intro and outro segments on Nile records, became the focal sounds for Sanders’ solo endeavor. He revealed his project back in 2004 with the release of the debut full-length Saurian Meditation. His follow-up, Saurian Exorcisms, was released in 2009, and after nearly 13 years, Sanders will unleash the third chapter of his entrancing saga, Saurian Apocalypse, on July 22 via Napalm Records. 

For Sanders and his vision for Nile early on, “The wealth of Egyptian history… seemed an unending wellspring from which to draw upon and explore. I also really enjoyed the possibilities of working with Eastern modal tonalities and how they applied so fluidly with the guitar… evil fourth and fifth parallel guitar riffing, ominous octaves, war horns, cinematic tympanies, war drums, and evil mummy vocals. It all just seemed so natural and obvious to me.” 

Having become fascinated by the ancientness of it all, Sanders explains, “Egypt and Sumeria were already ancient civilizations, thousands of years old at the time of Julius Caesar, and that was over 2,000 years ago. Humans have time and time again, risen to great heights of civilized development, yet each and every time fail so utterly, falling to ruin and dust. That, to me, is a fascinating reveal of some of the darker natures of man.” 

With that in mind, his newest effort is noticeably darker, heavier, and far more percussive sounding than Sanders’ music prior, showcasing plenty of “end-of-the-world drums.” The songs that make up Saurian Apocalypse weave together hard-hitting, calamitous details that paint a picture of hopelessness and devastation. 

“I remember that the first couple of pieces written, “Skull Fuck Ritual” and “The Sun has Set on the Age of Man,” suggested the Saurian Apocalypse idea to me, and the genesis of a vague story line concept: Mankind destroys itself, and reptiles and insects take over the planet,” explains Sanders. The music and story then began to just feed off of each other. 

He continues, “To me, the track, “An Altered Saurian Theta State,” just sounded exactly like these reptile overlords in their subterranean lair, cracking open skulls of human slaves in chains, licking up the brain goo and tripping balls, astral projecting and traveling out of body, back and forth in time.” 

“While I was writing the album, I think for me, the stark realities of the pandemic had peeled back a veil of complacency we as a society had all been lulled into. It revealed a whole ghastly trove of human selfishness and failings of us all as a collective. Making the record was my way of coping with the unwanted, unasked-for horrors I was seeing in the news every day and in how people were treating each other.” 

Although Sanders tries his best to create positive experiences with the time he has in life, he mentions, “Sometimes one just has to create some dark art in order to get on with life and not be consumed by it.”  

His hope for listeners is that they get something positive from listening to his music as well. 

“There is some sort of calming, hypnotic effect this music has on me, and I feel a sort of narcotic inner peace when I listen to this record.” 

Watch the video for “The Evil Inherent In Us All” here:

For more from Karl Sanders, find him on Facebook and Instagram.

Photo courtesy of Nill Silver

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