Nightland – The Great Nothing
A few names keep cropping up that instill a sense of reassurance regarding the quality of a new album. One of those is DGM guitarist Simone Mularoni. Simone has been making a name for himself mixing and mastering various releases. Another triumph to add to his portfolio is the third album by Italian band Nightland, “The Great Nothing”.
Founding member Ludovico Cioffi is someone Simone has worked with before. He will be known to fans of The Modern Age Slavery and Sun of the Suns. Here he handles the vocals, guitar, and orchestral arrangements. He is joined by Brendan Paolini on guitar, Filippo Scrima on bass, and Filippo Cicoria on drums. Ludovico is also responsible for the stunning cover artwork.
Symphonic death metal in itself, can be a very varied sub-genre, but this band is definitely at the classier end of the spectrum. There are enough growls and blast-beats to put it in that category, but there is so much more going on. The band waste no time in laying out all of their attributes in the opening track. ‘The Conjunction of Benetnash’ has it all, namely orchestration, great guitar riffs and solos, growls, blast-beats, and choirs. It’s stirring stuff and a soaring, powerful start that grabs your attention straight away.
After a blistering start, ‘For Once My Name’ settles into a steady pace with a chugging riff and melodic choruses. It builds to an orchestral bombardment, but at the same time, remains melodious, nevertheless.
Nightland – For Once My Name (click here if the video does not play)
The band has an identity based around astrology and symbolism. Even with this in mind it’s difficult to work out what the concept of this album is about. It appears to involve a journey across the universe and the orchestrations and choirs enhance this with much grandeur.
Unsurprisingly, ‘Shade of a Lowering Star’ at 10:42 long is the track with the most changes within. It’s a veritable masterpiece, weaving a musical story and a real joy to listen to, as is the whole album. This is definitely one of my top albums of 2021, and there have been some amazing ones despite Covid-19. After this epic, the much shorter and catchier ‘Further’ takes us past the halfway point.
Nightland – Further (click here if the video does not play)
The orchestration and choirs really come into focus in the instrumental ‘101 Megaparsecs’. The atmospheric arrangement conjures up the feeling of silently drifting through the vast expanse of space. This is followed by the title track(s). ‘The Great Nothing’ has three parts spanning a quarter of an hour that bring the album to its conclusion.
‘Part 1: Of Seeking and Straying’ is one the heavier tracks but still has a melodic edge, despite the absence of clean singing. ‘Part 2: The Reliever’ has a much more sedate and mellow start, but it’s not long before the intensity begins to increase. Soon it has reached the heaviness of the previous part but this time there’s the addition of a guitar solo. ‘Part 3: Pursuers of Absolution’ returns to the more mellow sound with piano and orchestration. Again, this doesn’t last long and when the full band joins in, it swells to a powerful majestic passage. This gradually subsides to finish with a sombre and melodic ending.
I have learned by now that there are many great bands out there that I’m not yet aware of. Once in a while an excellent one emerges and attracts my attention. Nightland are a typical example and I’m very pleased to have discovered them. This 48 minutes of magnificent, masterful, metal has already found its way into my ever-growing list of favourite albums. “The Great Nothing” is definitely great and far from nothing. They are absolutely one band to look out for on the slowly returning live scene.
- The Conjunction of Benetnash
- For Once My Name
- Shade of a Lowering Star
- 101 Megaparsecs
- The Great Nothing, pt. 1: Of Seeking and Straying
- The Great Nothing, pt. 2: The Reliever
- The Great Nothing, pt. 3: Pursuers of Absolution