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Nachtmuse - Darker Skies Award winner

Darker Skies
by Kevin Lewis at 31 March 2023, 5:26 AM

NACHTMUSE is a Canadian band formed in 2017. Heavy on vocalists, they have a variety of voices they use to create a wide array of characters in the compositions. Hailing from Ontario, they bring Symphonic Metal to life from the eastern end of the country, home to some of the best Heavy Metal on the planet! Darker Skies will be independently released on April 6, 2023. The opening riff for “The Warning” reminds me a lot of a song from IGNEA. Everything around and under the riff is different, so the two songs sound nothing alike other than the guitar tones. The string arrangement on this track is really good, adding a layer of killer tonality to the composition. The keyboards add backing power to the strings and the riff, giving the song a massive feel, like a tidal wave washing over you.

The Ashen” opens with a bang, springing to life with a delicious heaviness. The rhythm has a nice chugging pattern and the vocals go from clean to harsh with the male vocalist(s). The track goes more melodic before the female voice comes in to provide a counterpoint to the earlier voices. A quick horn interlude shifts back to the male vocals. Those tempo and phrase changes are very well executed. Vocal chaos ensues for “The Sublime.” In the first 30 seconds you get clean and harsh, male and female, layered and harmonized voices, all interacting wonderfully, creating a diorama of sound. The vocal tones are a sonic kaleidoscope fused with an almost Progressive Metal style song that features multiple tempo changes and pattern shifts. The layered orchestral elements add yet another facet to the whole, making this track greater than the sum of its’ parts.

Next, “The Sunken” opens with a ballad-like intro that slowly morphs into another killer rhythm that features very solid bass and drum work. The bass hovers under the riff, augmenting the pattern while the drums work to make sure the phrase changes are timed perfectly, maintaining beautiful balance with everything going on around them. The keys and guitars are so in tune with each other that they seem to be united as one. NACHTMUSE ends this EP with a cover of ALL ABOUT EVE’sCandy Tree.” Covering an Alternative Rock song is not a great stretch for this band and they do a very good job making the song their own, adding enough difference to keep it unique without straying too far afield.

In a short time, NACHTMUSE has established themselves as a band capable of creating new, inventive music that draws on a number of styles and genres, based firmly in Symphonic Metal, giving us something to love. The have massive hooks and killer grooves fused with creative vocal stylings that add a lot of extra tonality to the compositions. This a definitely a band to watch for as they continue to forge their sound and define their niche.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Warning
2. The Ashen
3. The Sublime
4. The Sunken
5. Candy Tree (All About Eve cover)
Maude Théberge – Vocals
Jeff Mott – Vocals
Geoff Hodsman – Bass/Vocals/Guitar/Drums/Programming
Kirill Zorin – Guitar/Programming
Record Label: Independent


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