Nightfell soundtrack modern hell with devastating violence on crushing ‘A Sanity Deranged’

It’s hard to argue against the idea that we’re living in the worst possible timeline of our decaying existences. I’m sure things probably have been worse, but when? Leadership is a joke, the government is operating against our will right in front of our faces, and if you believe people who devote their lives to science, this earth may not have that much time left before we’re swallowed whole.

There’s not a lot to feel good about, and Nightfell’s bludgeoning third record “A Sanity Deranged” only too gleefully hammers home that point. This unholy union of guitarist/vocalist Todd Burdette (His Hero Is Gone, Tragedy) and drummer Tim Call (Mournful Congregation, Sempiternal Dusk) created a soundtrack morbidly tailored for modern life and the bullshit constantly choking it. That they treat these times with generous helpings of black metal, death metal, and sooty doom only proves just how plugged in these guys are to the outright horrifying realities of being alive and paying a modicum of attention. All of that is grim, but it also helps to have music like this right now, when you need something to tap into your eroded emotions and constant frustration. Will you feel better afterward? I don’t know. Sometimes a release is good, and the music on this mangler definitely will relate to your own blackness.

“No Life Leaves Here” begins with eerie noises poking through before a bludgeoning rises with heavy riffs and growls decimating. Massive wails pound through, marring your brain, leading to the fires building before being cutting off by solo drumming pounding. Beastly thrashing comes out of that as a mean pace poisons and drags you to the end. “(As Now) We Must Succumb” has doomy riffs bathing in a  noise haze with the growls smearing and the playing leveling buildings. Black metal-style leads rampage before things cool down a bit, as a rush of keys brings spacey soothing. Humidity hangs thick before melodic gushing erupts, followed by vicious roars and a movement into the shadows. The vocals get raspy, promising sore throats, while the tempo delivers a final assault that jams a dagger at the end of this killer track. “To The Flame” is slow driving and caked with muck, as cavernous growls and face-splitting playing let the blood spatter. The price is paid in emotional hell as dark shadows haunt, the roars leave gaping wounds, and the track ends in a dank smothering of synth.

“The Swallowing Of Flies” starts with slow-mauling doom pummeling, as the growls slither along the ground, leaving behind a film, and everything is coated by thick ash. Infernal soot continues to gather as the band burns down walls, hulking back to the main riff that greeted us in hell. Molten grinding chews at the nerves while beastly chanting moves the ground, rounding toward a conclusion that leaves bodies crushed in its wake.  “(Holiness Digested)” is a quick instrumental that sounds like it emanates from a furnace, where sweat and blood coat the floors, whispered chants poke, and everything blends into closer “Sanity Deranged.” The track gets started by boiling slowly before it gets on its legs and lurches across the land. Sorrowful leads cast a pall before melody floods into the scene, and the roaring devastates. The music finds its way toward a stormy deluge where it unloads its nastiest moments, as total demolition is the goal, and the growls hammer away. The leads continue to rain down, creating a miserable mudslide that ravages everything in front of it and creates a mass of unmarked graves.

Everything is awful, and there is no good reason to wake up each morning with a swell of hope in your chest. Sorry. But Nightfell realize this, and the horrifying punishment they deliver on “A Sanity Deranged” proves just as scowling and bloodthirsty as the people ruining out very existences. This is music for the end times, a companion for us as we search blindly in the darkness for a glimmer of hope that is very much deceased.

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