Nightfall – Cassiopeia

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Review by Chop

 

 

To say that music fans have a tendency towards the obsessive is somewhat akin to suggesting that the Villa back four are slightly twitchy at set-pieces. It comes as something of a shock, therefore, when a band as good as Nightfall, who have been around since 1991, have slipped under my radar for so long. If Cassiopeia is a fair reflection of their past efforts, it’s time to start tracking down their back catalogue sharpish…

Nightfall fuse various styles of extreme metal into a final, epic, product, that’s as elegant as it is powerful. For the most part it would be easy to dismiss them as a blackened death metal or symphonic black metal outfit, but that would be selling them well short, as folk metal, European power metal, and classic rock are all represented strongly. The faster sections will keep fans of Dimmu Borgir, Rotting Christ, or Melechesh happy, whilst the soloing, and more melodic sections, invoke thoughts of Mercyful Fate, Ghost, and Ensiferum, with an occasional smattering of Amon Amarth. Sounds interesting? It should, especially as it’s all handled so deftly that it flows seamlessly.

An album with so much going on needs top notch production and this definitely gets it. Crisp yet punchy, and perfectly balanced, it’s the sort of glossy yet heavy sound that many bands dream of. Running for 51 minutes, the songs all get a chance to develop, which they do with an assurance and swagger that’s apparently effortless. Good as the band are, the vocals are the icing on the cake, possessing a narrative quality that completes the compositions and adds to their grandiose approach. In short, it’s just superbly crafted.

Negative thoughts? None really. Solid as the album is, there’s no real stand-out track(s) that you’d skip to time and time again, as the album works more as a whole than its constituent parts. Suffice to say if the bands mentioned earlier on sound like your thing, then this album is more than worthy of your attention. Better still, I have a strong suspicion that this one’s a grower and will get better with repeated plays, or with headphones to really savour its true depth. An album I’d recommend wholeheartedly.

8 out of 10

Cassiopeia is out now on Metal Blade RecordsNightfall-Cassiopeia

Track Listing:

  1. Phaethon
  2. Oberon & Titania
  3. Colonize Cultures
  4. The Nightwatch
  5. Stellar Parallax
  6. Hubris
  7. The Reptile Gods
  8. Hyperion
  9. Akhenaton, the 9th Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty
  10. The Sand Reckoner
  11. Astropolis