Each member of the band records his basic studio tracks separately, with Kollias laying down his drum parts to a click and the guitars. To ensure the feel of a real live human band playing their instruments and not merely a producer mix-and-matching sounds on a computer, in the studio Nile indeed play their instruments. “Nile is one of the few bands that don’t sound-replace on their tracks,” says Kollias. “That’s why I always hear, ’Oh, man, your drums are so raw, not so clean!’ Well, because they’re natural, that’s why.”
Kollias’ preferred mix for his stage monitors is intriguing for its almost total exclusion of anything but drums. “It’s so funny, because with Nile I never have guitars on my monitor or anything. I get a little bit of kicks and click in my headphones, but, mixed from the bottom, I can hear a little bit of low end, so it’s kind of like an illusion. Sometimes I’ll have a little bit of guitar, but usually no guitars, no bass, no vocals, no samples, nothing – just kick and click. Everything else is in my head. I just close my eyes and go for it.”
To hear him tell it, George Kollias is living in the most excellent of all possible worlds. He’s got his drum clinics, his DVDs, and solo projects, all of which he couldn’t be happier about. But when he speaks of his experiences in Nile, it’s with an infectious glee and more than a little awe at the honor of doing right for his favorite band on planet Earth.
“You know, we’ve played some really important tours and some big festivals. I mean, we played with Black Sabbath! And my drum clinics, they grew so much – last year only I did, like, 23 clinics around the world. So these things were always my dreams and they’re happening right now.
“But mostly I like the fact that I joined Nile, and I’m proud that I’ve done four albums with them and have been doing my best for them for seven years and a half. About this, I feel really good.”
George Kollias plays fast. Really, really fast. In the time it took you to read this far he could have played a whole song. Kollias has been playing with Nile since 2004 and has everything fans of speed metal could desire – nightmarish atmosphere, blistering riffs, demonic vocals, and drumming so fast it seems inhuman.
“Tribunal Of The Dead”
The tempo of this song feels like the pace pallbearers walk at a funeral and creates a similarly dark mood. This oppressively slow pace allows Kollias to play a simple groove on his ride bell and add dramatic fills using his China cymbals for accents. The time signature shifts back and forth from 4/4 to 6/4 making the intro feel slightly odd and uneven. The last line abruptly changes everything. Here the contrast between the slow intro and the brutal speed of the thirty-second-note bass drum sextuplets is quite jarring and kicks the anger quotient of the song up several notches.
“The Fiends Who Come To Steal The Magick Of The Deceased”
On this long-titled track, Kollias plays some absolutely mind-bending drum parts, though if you’re familiar with his playing this should come as no surprise to you. His China cymbal accents follow the guitars very closely and he throws thirty-second-note fills in the gaps between the riffs. The assortment of shifting time signatures and odd rhythms is guaranteed to make your head spin.