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Nightbearer - Tales of Sorcery and Death

Tales of Sorcery and Death
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 09 December 2019, 4:33 AM

NIGHTBEARER is a German Death Metal band presenting to the Metal world their first full length album “Tales of Sorcery and Death.”  In 2018, the band also released an EP “Stories From Beyond.”   Artwork wise, and lyrically, the band is definitely one that is fantasy based but the music is straight up vicious and the very opposite of Power Metal, the genre that is usually the one bringing about such fantasy elements for most people.

The music contained within these ten tracks is definitely of and OSDM mindset.  Production wise, the album is very modern—it really does sound great.  I think the band could probably benefit with a little dirtier production, but it is hard to complain too much about it.  As with any good OSDM, the focus is definitely on the riffs—and man, does this album have riffs upon riffs upon riffs.  Backed by his ability to provide undeniable groove, Benjamin is a one-man Panzer tank division.  Even more impressive, he plays ALL the instruments across the album.  He really is a Death Metal Renaissance man with a keen eye on composition and form.  There isn’t really any surprises or major variety among the tracks, but nothing ever becomes boring or stale—the songs are too laser focused to do anything but grab your attention and hold onto it.

It isn’t all about filthy Death Metal riffs though—many of the tracks have a dash of melody to tie it all together.  It doesn’t cross over into Melodic Death metal territory but the brutalness of the tracks are offset by clever moments of melodic touches.  The halfway point of “As Cold As Their Eyes,” is a great example of this; the lead guitar accents the pounding of the grooved riffs. The slower paced, but hammer heavy, “The Gods May Weep,” sees the bass guitar taking a walk on the melodic side and it fits the sporadic drumming and song build up perfectly.

Of course, the music is only half the battle—Death Metal requires those famous growls so made famous by the brutal genre.  Luckily, Michael Torka is more than up for the task—he gives one of my favorite Death Metal vocal performances of the year.  He is heavy but clear and concise with the ability to change his growls from low to high, and everything in between, with speed and ease. On “All Men Must Die,” he is downright visceral, firing on all cylinders and making the song work for him.

“The Dead Won’t Sleep Forever,” has him hitting such low growls that I’m shocked he didn’t indeed wake the dead.  The song isn’t just a showcase for him either because this is one of the best songs on the album.  That melody I spoke of earlier is perfectly place throughout the song and the riffs alternate from groove, sludge, and a good old-fashioned metallic crunch. One of the highlights for me is “Daggers In The Night,” because the music creates such shocking imagery.  With the song beginning a slower pace than speeding back up, images of a stalker in the night conjured into my head.  As he creeps up on his victims, their sense of dread sends the hair up on their body right before they are stabbed to death.  A Death Metal band creating such a violent scene in my mind tells me they are doing their style right.

NIGHTBEARER’s “Tales of Sorcery and Death,” is a nice late in the year surprise for Death Metal and fans of the genre might have to redo their best of list once this one rages through their ears.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Beware The Necromancer
2. As Cold As Their Eyes
3. Lycantrophic Death Squad
4. Tales of Sorcery and Death
5. The Gods May Weep
6. All Men May Weep
7. Daggers In The Night
8. The Watcher Between The World
9. Vile Flame of Udun
10. The Dead Won’t Sleep Forever
Dominik Hellmuth – All instruments
Michael Torka – Vocals
Record Label: Testimony Records


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