Published Sep 12, 2019Nightfell draw on the melancholy of extreme metal, melding aspects of death, doom, black and post metal into one monolithic sound. Lying dormant since 2015's Darkness Evermore, the Portland, Oregon duo of Tim Call (Sempiternal Dusk, Mournful Congregation) and Todd Burdette (Tragedy) have returned with A Sanity Deranged — and it's their most focused and powerful album yet.
The band clearly spent the interim between releases honing their craft, because every song on this album is meticulously measured in its blend of genres. While "No Life Lives Here" is more defined by blackened death and death/doom influences, and "(As Now) We Must Succumb" leans harder into doom and post metal, they're all the amalgamation of Nightfell's various influences. Epic death metal riffs and pummelling drums form the backbone of this album, but from there the band add dreamy guitar sounds and chanting vocals to give it atmosphere.
While their two previous albums felt a little burdensome at times, A Sanity Deranged is all about balance. Songs of five minutes or less are followed by drawn-out dirges like "Sanity Deranged" that drag you by the hair through intricate compositions. The album also places "To the Flame" and "The Swallowing of Flies," its most dissonant, soul-crushing, coffin-carrying bangers in the middle, only to come back to a more melodic sound at the end. It creates a circular flow to the album that makes it really enjoyable to hear again and again.
Nightfell have found their sound on A Sanity Deranged — the sound of a funeral procession going up a mountain. The atmosphere is heavy, and the heavy is atmospheric. Check it out. (20 Buck Spin)