Nightfell- Darkness Evermore

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, October 4, 2015

Nightfell’s debut The Living Ever Mourn was a record that left a strong impression last year, as the collaboration between Todd Burdette (Tragedy, Warcry) and Tim Call (Aldebaran, Sempiternal Dusk) offered up some dark and desolate material that incorporated elements of doom and death metal while being hard to pin down into one particular genre. As much as I enjoyed it, there seemed to be quite a few moments throughout that were hinting at directions that hadn’t been fully explored yet and the duo hadn’t quite fully taken Nightfell onto a completely different path from their other bands. I was surprised to find that a little over a year later they’ve already prepared a follow up with Darkness Evermore, and that the resulting effort accomplishes just that. The crushing intense base is still there, but there’s a greater focus on melody and a dreary atmosphere that pulls the listener in and demands their full attention.

The six tracks that make up Darkness Evermore consist of four lengthy compositions and two interludes. Compared to their debut, there’s a noticeable shift towards even longer arrangements that allow the atmosphere to build slowly and reach even greater heights than before. Sound wise Nightfell still falls somewhere between death/doom and death metal, but there are so many other elements that seep into each track that you can’t really lump them into one particular category. While there’s a similarity between the bleak and darker tonality coming from the guitar and bass on each song, each piece employs different methods to get there and that’s what makes the album have such an impact. There’s a natural ebb and flow as the instrumentals move from slow, somber build-ups that incorporate eerier melodies over to faster riffing that ups the distortion and power level to its maximum possible level. Nightfell also brought in a guest cellist to add some extra layers of melody to some of their compositions, and it’s a subtle nuance that ups the atmosphere significantly during some key moments. Not only has the duo been able to write longer compositions that are able to touch upon both somber, melancholic ideas and abrasive, destructive ones but this time around it feels like they’ve pushed beyond the boundaries of their other projects and reached a point where this material stands on its own.

If you’re familiar with any of the other groups that these two have been a part of, then you’ll likely have a good idea of what to expect from the vocals. Burdette once again seems to be the one behind the mic for the majority of the record, and his distorted screams and growls have a real sense of weight to them that add that extra bite to the songs. Compared to their debut it feels like there’s a bit less emphasis on the vocals this time around, as with the increased song lengths Nightfell has utilized a lot of extended instrumental section. What this does is make the portions where the screaming come in feel that much more intense, as the guitar and drums build up naturally and then Burdette often takes over right as they reach a peak level. It’s an approach that works perfectly, especially as the lower pitched screams come in with that harsh bite at just the right moments and pummel the listener into the ground.

Darkness Evermore finds Nightfell taking a significant leap forward by further exploring the elements their debut was starting to hint at. The heavier, rumbling base that’s somewhere between death/doom and death metal is still on full display, but the increased emphasis on somber melodies and drearier aesthetics gives this record additional depth that demands repeated listens to fully get a feel for. It may not always hit quite as hard as The Living Ever Mourn, but the compositions on this record are even more powerful when it comes to the sheer amount of emotion and depth that are present and that’s likely to leave a lasting impact.

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