Nile’s Karl Sanders: “If you took all the guitars out of Saurian Apocalypse, it would be an ambient/meditative record. But I like playing guitar, so there’s guitars”

Karl Sanders
(Image credit: Nill Silver)

Nile were among the first bands to successful merge Middle Eastern sounds with extreme metal. Led by guitarist/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Karl Sanders, the South Carolina death metal stalwarts incorporate Egyptology into their approach, as evidenced by the album titles as At the Gate of Sethu and such song titles as "Defiling the Gates of Ishtar" – and, most obviously, taking their name after the River Nile. 

This pioneering sound allowed them to push new limits of technicality in death metal, to expand the art form’s musical vocabulary, lending its sonic extremity a mythological heft that felt rooted in something ancient, something fundamental to the human condition, something terrifying. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Greg Prato

Greg is a contributing writer at Guitar World. He has written for other outlets over the years, and has been lucky to interview some of his favorite all-time guitarists and bassists: Tony Iommi, Ace Frehley, Adrian Belew, Andy Summers, East Bay Ray, Billy Corgan, Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Les Claypool, and Mike Watt, among others (and even took lessons from John Petrucci back in the summer of ’91!). He is the author of such books as Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, Shredders: The Oral History of Speed Guitar (And More) and Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story.