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Review: Nightland – Obsession

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Review by Adriana.

Nightland is a four piece symphonic death metal band from Pesaro, Italy. The album of discussion is Obsession which was released February of 2015 and is Nightland’s second full­ length. It is 44 minutes long and has 10 songs. Their music can be found on Spotify, Bandcamp, and iTunes.

Obsession opens with an orchestral piece that is very atmospheric. It has a crescendo into an intense suspenseful piece that gives off a horror-esque surrounding. The decrescendo slowly recedes until the two cymbal hits, and quick drum fills set the stage for the rest of the song to kick in. A guitar riff acts as a bridge for the speedy playing that entails from the rest of the band along with orchestral strings/horns playing in harmony. This is similar to Fleshgod Apocalypse, except the symphonic part done better. The soft strings and horns in the background do not overpower any instruments or vocals yet don’t hide behind the band. The song is so beautiful and relaxing, but still heavy. As far as the heaviness of the song, it has traditional elements of death metal plus the orchestra playing to accent the music.

Track four, named “Icarus”, immediately has the heavy/symphonic combination that was seen on the last 2 tracks. This song reminds me of Dimmu Borgir’s Abrahadabra because of how the song’s structure is and how it was executed as a symphonic metal song. This song has an atmosphere that keeps you listening. The song grows more climatic and intense with the short orchestral breaks. “Alpha Et Omega” has its own beginning, meaning it did not flow like the last few tracks did. This song hits hard with its prominent and quick drumming, cinematic orchestra, and tremolo picking displayed by both guitarists.

Because of the way each part was played and how fast it was played, “Alpha Et Omega” has a blackened death metal sound to it, minus growling vocals. The vocals have their own sound, but still ring the Children of Bodom bell. The vocals match the sound very well, as growling, guttural, or higher pitched vocals wouldn’t sound right with Obsession. One thing I noticed about “Alpha Et Omega” is how similar the introductory riff sounds to the riff in “Icarus” which is disappointing because it is such a lovely and well done song, except for that one riff. It isn’t played too often in the song, so it isn’t a deal­ breaker.

The namesake song of Obsession enters at track seven. This is another hard hitting song that does not hesitate to jump in. This song isn’t as fast or blackened sounding, but the symphonic section is gracious with its syncopation. The guitar riffs and drum tracks are original and different and the song itself is the best representation of Nightland’s music as a whole because it has elements from every song on the album all into one song. The last metal song (track nine) on this album is “Last Dance of a Treacherous Mind.” I called it the last metal song because the final track of the album is an orchestral version of “Dreamless Life.” This is another song that reminds me a lot of Dimmu Borgir, mostly because of the vocals.

They sound so similar to Shagrath, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Other than that, it does sound more of a Nightland song than a Dimmu Borgir song. This song is played with more ringing chords than tremolo­ picked notes, but it has both. Generally it is a song that has parts that ring out for a few seconds. The drums follow each palm­ muted chug and emphasize the chords with a snare and cymbal hit. I personally like when the drums follow certain guitar parts like that; it makes the band sound more synchronized and adds flare. I found this album to be very enjoyable, but lacking in some ways. The repeated riff I mentioned on “Alpha Et Omega” also sounded like the riff on “A.R.E.S.” and even slightly on but I remembered it upon hearing “A.R.E.S.”, “Alpha Et Omega”, and “Icarus.” As I said when I first mentioned the riff, it does not last the entirety of each song and does not ruin the songs by any means, but it does slightly take away from the songs’ potential and user enjoyment.

Another way Obsession could have been better, in my opinion, is is the bass was audible in every song. The only song I actually heard a bass line was “Cradle of Sufferance” and that was only because the guitars weren’t playing anything. Maybe the bass got lost in the midst of everything else that was going on, but I still think it should be a little more present so that it can at least be heard if you listen for it. Other than those two, the album was great. Besides bass, every instrument was clear, precise, and presented wonderfully. Cymbals and toms were heard as if it were next to you and the orchestral instruments were clear as well. This album does symphonic metal some justice, as it is heavy and beautiful simultaneously.

Rating: 8.2/10

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