Released: 2013, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
For those of you who have never heard of Nightfall and have stumbled across this review – congratulations! You are about to discover a band who are no new-comers to the business of all things heavy. Coming from the beautiful land that is Greece, Nightfall have been around since 1991 and played heavy metal music from the very beginning. Listed amongst some of the most influential bands of Greek metal alongside Rotten Christ and Septicflesh, Nightfall definitely is a band you want to check out if you class yourself as a fan of melodic death, gothic and even symphonic black metal. ...or heavy metal in general.
January 2013 saw the release of Nightfall’s 9th studio album Cassiopeia, which is a follow-up to the highly appraised album Astron Black & the Thirty Tyrants (2010) and the 2nd release under Metal Blade Records. It contains 11 songs that run over 50 minutes and makes a beast of an album that is a hard one to figure out, because of its diversity. The album’s subject refers to the arrogant characteristic of the human race and it is named after Cassiopeia – a queen of vain in Greek mythology.
Cassiopeia is a majestic album that has a lot to offer and is almost impossible to pigeonhole. Different nuances of many styles are hidden deep within the music throughout the album and can take a while to come to the listener’s attention. Nightfall remain symphonic and bring in a lot of atmosphere by adding dream-like keyboard effects to Cassiopeia. As well as that, they introduce great guitar work by Constantine, who’ve joined the band recently, and Evan Hensley. Together they offer a great musicianship and produce melodic guitar solos, powerful riffs and some fine finger-tapping. Efthimis Karadimas growls remain consistent and interplay between depth and clarity.
“Phatethon” is a mysterious and pounding opener that introduces the energy of the album and brilliantly presents chemistry between the dual lead guitars and the character of Efthimis Karadimas death growls. But the real party kicks in with the following song “Oberon & Titania” that introduces everything from angry riffs and blast beats to tinkling piano and virtuoso guitar solos making the whole song sound a bit schizophrenic, yet perfectly balanced.
The album reaches its pinnacle with “Stellar Parallax” that is truly melodic with an impressive interplay between the two guitarists and deep, slowed down vocals. The keyboards add an effect of space to the sound making it into an atmospheric piece and a definite album highlight.
Symphonic metal elements bring something untraditional to Cassiopeia alongside harmonic solos, a fair share of double bass drumming and dynamic keyboard arrangements. Intense energy runs through the whole record based on a mid-tempo groove and the change of styles within songs. The guitar work really brings out the quality of this album and presents Nightfall’s new line-up as a great bunch of professionals.
Cassiopeia is an exciting album to start 2013 for death and black metal fans. It’s a must-have for fans of the genre and strong enough material to attract plenty of new listeners.
Review by Anna Dumpe