Ithyphallic is the fifth studio album by American technical death metal band Nile. It was released on July 17, 2007 through Nuclear Blast, in both standard and digipak formats. It is the band's first album released on Nuclear Blast, since signing with them in May 2006. It is also the band's first album since Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka not to feature notes explaining the context of the lyrics. 1000 limited edition copies of the album were released in a pyramid-shaped box containing the disc, several images, a certificate of ownership and a scroll containing the lyrics and liner notes from the album. The cover art of this album depicts a statue of the god of fertility "Min", being erected by Egyptian slaves.
Throughout June and July, Nuclear Blast Records held a special contest to allow several fans to be able to listen to Ithyphallic. The rules were that they would have to be able to decipher a secret hieroglyphic message. If they won, they were given an email containing a link to a website where the album was posted for the free listening. On July 7, the contest ended, and the answer was revealed to be "papyrus."
"Papyrus Containing the Spell to Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks from He Who Is in the Water" is Nile's first single, originally released only as a music download through Nuclear Blast's website. It contains the title-track, a rehearsal of "Laying Fire Upon Apep", and a video featuring a drum session from Ithyphallic.
In April 2008, Night of the Vinyl Dead Records announced the release of what they call as "the first-ever brutal death metal-shaped picture disc". The 7-inch version of "Papyrus..." features the title-track on the A-side, with "As He Creates So He Destroys" and an instrumental version of "Papyrus.." as B-sides. It was limited to 500 copies hand-numbered on backing card.
"As He Creates So He Destroys", "Eat of the Dead", "The Essential Salts", "The Language of the Shadows" and "What Can Be Safely Written" are taken from Canadian occultist Donald Tyson's Necronomicon: The Wanderings of Alhazred, itself a tribute to the fictional mythology of H.P. Lovecraft.
"Laying Fire Upon Apep" is a reference to one of the methods described in the Books of Apophis that Ra would use to overcome the Fiend Apep in their nightly duels.
"Papyrus Containing the Spell to Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who Is in the Water" is a reference to a spell from The Book of the Dead. The spell is intended to protect those in the afterlife from being eaten by crocodiles.
"The Essential Salts" is also a reference to the salts used to preserve the corpse of a Pharaoh in mummification, natron, although the term itself is from Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
^"There had, it seems, been some truth in chimerical old Borellus when he wrote of preparing from even the most antique remains certain "Essential Saltes" from which the shade of a long-dead living thing might be raised up." The Case of Charles Dexter WardChapter V