If you’ve not come across Nightfell before, well now’s a good time to start.
Review by Paul Castles
Release date: 11 September 2015
This new Nightfell album only has six songs and without being too unkind a couple of those are little more than distracting interludes. But that still leaves four songs with which to go to war and that Nightfell emphatically do just that with both barrels blazing. Opening number ‘At Last’ is a 10-minute monster of moroseness. Some keyboard harmonies softens up the sides before Nightfell penetrate with a piercing rocket of coruscating doom. With a riff purring so smoothly you almost want to stroke it, Nightfell engage on an epic journey through black spartan plains, the emptiness only stirred by the great sweeping surges of controlled power and the delicately grating vocal barks of Tim Call. It’s an opener that totally wraps itself around you and merely heightens the levels of expectation of how good this album is going to be.
This is the second album from the Portland duo of Call (vox/drums) and Todd Burdette (guitar/bass). While last year’s debut The Living Ever Mourn earned plenty of favourable reviews this slumbering beast is like landing on a ladder in Snakes and Ladders. Darkness Evermore doesn’t simply send Nightfell up a rung or two, this is a leap that a gazelle would stand back and admire. Burdette has at various stages been involved with Tragedy, His Hero is Gone, Warcry and Severed Head of State while Tim Call has played his part with such acts as The Howling Wind, Saturnia Temple, Sempiternal Dusk, Aldebaran, and Mournful Congregation.
‘Ritual’ is the first of the two breakers, a minute or so of slightly eerie monastic recitals that make you fear for the incumbents of the holy order. It bleeds almost seamlessly into ‘Cleansing’ and by now you’ll feel you need it after walking through the squalor with these savage disciples. It’s got more tempo than the opening song, the rhythms kicking in with greater velocity as Call barks his barbed verbal volleys on top. After four minutes of scintillating guitar harmonies the whole thing almost blows itself out like a candle before gathering itself for one more thrilling race to the edge of the precipice, finally toppling over the edge to a barely audible backdrop of distant church bells just breaking through the horrendous sense of desolation.
This is followed up by the crushing ‘Rebirth’ which opens with a traction engine of a riff that simply flattens anything in its way. Once the song opens up it takes on an almost Darkthrone like urgency. ‘Eulogy’ sees the monks back at choir practice and then we’re into the final number ‘Collpase’. Again the duo combine to lay down a thick rhythmic crust you’re in danger of breaking tooth on. There are several time changes within this long trek toward some kind of post-apocalyptic landscape but Nightfell’s nuances are part of their appeal. The Oregon duo has constructed something well above the median line with Darkness Evermore. If you’ve not come across Nightfell before, well now’s a good time to start.
8 out of 10
- At Last