Reviewed: August 1, 2022
Released: July 29, 2022, Testimony Records
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
Germany’s NIGHTBEARER is a relative newcomer to the scene having formed in 2017 and with one other full length and an EP under their belt. Their sophomore release, Ghosts of a Darkness to Come, is my first exposure to this band and I’m really liking what I am hearing. Their sound is 1000% Swede-Death with that signature buzzsaw guitar sound and those evil sounding growls that sound like the vocalist gargles with broken glass before performing. However, don’t write this band off as derivative because, although this formula has been done before, NIGHTBEARER do it with their own flare and it really works.
One thing that set this album apart from most of the death metal I have heard this year is the production. Yes they buzz saw guitar tone is there but the rest of the production is clean and really well done and sets the perfect atmosphere. That combined with killer songwriting and perfect execution makes this album stand out from other playing this style. The album opener, “Wolves By My Side” lets you hear what I mean immediately. The riffs pummel you while the solos shred in the most godly fashion. But it’s the tone and the reverb on the guitars during the solos that really takes this album to the next level. Those solos add this eerie melody to the songs that is just brilliant. Just check out the solos around the 1:21 mark on “Forever in Darkness” for the perfect example.
Another thing that sets this band apart from most death metal bands is that they do not rely on speed and blasts to create their crushing atmosphere. Some of the songs have an almost classic doom metal tempo to them. That slower pace of some these songs on top of the crushing riffs just comes off perfect. Not to say that there is no blasting or speed on this album. “The Shadowspawn” starts off with some eerie melodies then it blasts right at you. That opening riff rolls over you before moving to a more mid paced tempo. This song is rather complex and shows this band can write not only heavy riffs but some complex arrangements as well. Again the solos really do take the spotlight here just by adding that melody with that incredible tone. The vocals go from deeper more guttural growls to some shrieks that blacken them ever so slightly. The monster title track is the perfect example of how they start with those shrieks then move to a deeper growl. This song goes in more epic territory clocking in at just under seven and a half minutes and is mostly in a doom tempo until just past the halfway mark where the time signatures change up several times. A great ending to this beast of an alum.
Having only heard this album from this band makes me want to check out their debut. This band knows how to take a sound like Swede-Death and add their own signature to it. This is one of the most interesting and well done death metal albums I’ve heard this year. I’m really interested in where this band goes next. Highly recommended…you’re welcome!