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Nightshade – Sounds of Dark Matter

Nightshade
Sounds of Dark Matter
by Gary Hernandez at 14 February 2022, 4:09 AM

NIGHTSHADE, Blackened Industrial Metal band from Switzerland, formed on Halloween in 1998. That’s about 24 years ago, so some serious tenure there. For a band that has been around for so long, however, they have a surprisingly small catalogue—but it is all fairly good, so there is something to say about quality versus quantity. On November 19, 2021 they released “Sounds of Dark Matter,” their second full-length album.

The album includes eight tracks and has a full runtime of about 44 minutes. There are elements of several styles in their music, the most notable, of course, being Black Metal and Industrial all set to a melodic nuance. There is also a strong sense of Experimental. NIGHTSHADE is at their best when they lean into their Black Metal roots. The Industrial elements are little much for me, though not out of keeping with the subgenre. It should be no surprise then that my favorite tracks are those heavier on the riffs and lighter on the synth flourishes. These include the opening track, “Set to Destroy the Heart of the Sun” and the one cover, “Chariots of Thunder” (KOVENANT). As the first track out of the gates, “Set to Destroy the Heart of the Sun” sets up expectations for what the rest of the album might be. This is a heavy, multi-movement track. It’s complex, it’s heavy, it’s compelling. The problem of course is that the rest of the album takes on more Industrial elements and is less visceral than this first take. I also enjoyed “A Call from Distant Skies” though, again, the synth elements were a bit trying.

NIGHTSHADE, as a duo, is inherently limited in the range of two humans—they might be very talented humans, but still the number is two. On this album, however, they thwart that limitation by bringing in several guest artists. This adds additional depth and richness. Guests include Typhus X (KOLDKRYPT) on lead guitar on "The Sign in Decades Absolved" and "Chariots of Thunder" and Rayan Tengblad (DUTHAIG) providing backing vocals on "Andromeda Defiled" and "A Call from Distant Skies."

Thematically, the “Sounds of Dark Matter” centers on a cosmic narrative—some sci-fi and some mythological all wound together. This works well with the Industrial elements which lend it a sense of story as opposed to the sheer horror of an all-consuming cosmic void which Black Metal tends to instill. The cover art supports this as well. I am not sure what NIGHTSHADE has been up to since their last significant release in 2003, an EP entitled “Wired,” but I suppose there is a thing called life. And creative output should not necessarily be measured by the number of recordings under a single moniker. There are, after all, other projects and other outlets. All in all, “Sounds of Dark Matter” is an intriguing album well worth the listen.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  Set to Destroy the Heart of The Sun
2.  Pulsars 1.33
3.  New Era
4.  Chariots of Thunder (The Kovenant cover)
5.  Andromeda Defiled
6.  Zero Matter Gravity
7.  The Sign: In Decades Absolved
8.  A Call from Distant Skies
Lineup:
Thomas W. – all instruments
David G. – vocals
Record Label: My Kingdom Music
     


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Edited 05 December 2022
 

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