RSS Feed


Metal Blade (2013)
Rating: 9/10

The band that put the Greek metal scene on the map, Nightfall, return with their sophomore Metal Blade Records release, Cassiopeia. Titled after both the mighty constellation and the mythological mother of Andromeda who, together with her daughter, suffered great loss for the arrogant belief that they were more beautiful than all else, the album is an onslaught of thought and aggression from start to finish.

Given the current climate in Greece (if the world news is to be believed), I can’t think of a better subject for the mighty Nightfall to take on than the arrogance of the human race. Have we brought change or a downfall?

It’s always hard to know where to start with Nightfall albums. They rarely disappoint and Cassiopeia is no exception. ‘Hubris’ is a highlight here for sure, featuring an almost Viking swagger that reminds me a bit of Amon Amarth’s better moments filtered through a more extreme lens. The bits of piano mixed in make it stand out even more as it twists and turns between blatant aggression and a soul searching groove.

‘Oberon & Titania’ and ‘The Sand Reckoner’ are pummeling tunes with melodic, spiraling guitars, grunting vocals, and insane drum work that cause me to reminisce about the glory days of melodic death metal. The monster ‘Astropolis’ ends the album with a heavy, progressive sound that offers solid evidence as to why this band is so revered in extreme circles.

Over the years, Nightfall have conquered a number of things. On this release though, they conquer production above all else. Cassiopeia has a monster sound that, if you crank it up real loud, will just absorb you into it. The pounding aggression of songs like the thundering ‘Phaethon’, the epic ‘The Reptile Gods’, and the guitar-gasm of ‘Stellar Parallax’ all encapsulate the album’s production best with each part ringing crystal clear, yet they still have enough teeth to make you clench your fist, bang your head and bark along. Production is a delicate balance in the extreme metal world and Nightfall master it here.

Overall, this album is exactly as Nightfall fans hope it will be. It’s progressive, aggressive, extreme and chock full of melodies à la the guitars and keyboards. The only complaint I might throw out there would be that I’d hoped for maybe a new element or two from the band and I don’t feel like they offered anything in that department. If they would have though, many would likely have complained that they took too many chances, so it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation anyway. For me, Cassiopeia, certainly ranks among Nightfall’s best and it could be argued that this is, in fact, their best.

Mark Fisher

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories