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Album Review: NIGHTFALL – Cassiopeia

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Nightfall has been around for a very, VERY long time. And although they've had numerous line-up changes, and an unannounced split-up and hiatus, they’ve been a name in metal for almost 20 years. But they emerged again around 2009, with yet another new line-up and a slightly different musical direction. They’ve recently signed on with Metal Blade Records, and are starting to regain a name for themselves in symphonic metal music. Their second release on Metal Blade, Cassiopeia, is now upon us, and now we can see if Nightfall is still worth their weight.

Cassiopeia continues Nightfall’s tradition of symphonic-esque metal very well. It’s highly atmospheric, in some cases pretty catchy, yet still pretty heavy. But it is definitely on the slower, morose side of the spectrum. The first track, "Phaethon" seems to begin almost without fanfare. After an opener like that, the last thing I thought I was going to be hearing were things like blast beats. But on some songs like “Hyperion” the occasion actually calls for them. And still in the same song, it gives keyboardist, Stathis Kassios a time to shine and bring in that atmosphere. It exhibits their blackened flavors so tastefully, and “Hyperion” ended up being my favorite track. Other songs like “Oberon & Titania” seem to let melody guide the entire way. Luckily, the album doesn’t stay on the same tone for too long. You’ll get a track like “Akhenaton, the 9th Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty” which is more on the fast and epic side to break up some of the more melancholy feels. It gives you just the right amount of variety when things can start getting a little monotonous, even though they do tend to come later rather than sooner.

Overall, Cassiopeia was a good listen. Personally, I feel that albums of this genre tend to really get boring and sound pretty dry after an extended listen. But Cassiopeia really kept my attention where I really wanted to keep listening. If you’re a fan of Nightfall’s work of recent years then you’ll really be into Cassiopeia. Or even if you like melodic metal of any kind, Cassiopeia will be right up your alley.


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