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Nightside – Lions [Demo]

nightside – lions [demo]


When Nightside was formed in Turku, Finland in 1996, there wasn’t so much of a Finnish Black Metal scene as we know it today. Sure, bands like Beherit, Impaled Nazarene, Archgoat and Horna had been long in existence, but it was still some years before the what we now know as Finnish Black Metal sound was fully established. As a sign of those times, the material of Nightside didn’t have so much in common with the Finnish Black Metal sound. Instead it was more on the crossroads of the faster approach of Swedish bands like Marduk, Niden Div. 187 and the melody of Dissection and Sacramentum mixed with the atmospheric elements of the Norwegian scene. This resulted in the excellent demo ‘Demo 1997’ and the EP ‘Ad Noctvm’. The latter was also featured on the ‘Northern Heritage’ sampler of the cult Finnish label with the same name that also featured early works  of Pest, Clandestine Blaze and Bloodhammer. Nightwide went on to record a full-length entitled ‘End of Christianity’, but some years after its release faded to obscurity. That is until they were resurrected in 2021. Besides a live appearance at the hometown Turkuu Saatanalle fest, the reunion has resulted is the 2023 demo ‘Lions’, which serves as a prequel for the forthcoming second full-length of the band.

Of the days of old, drummer and keyboard player Beleth and vocalist Serpent remain and have been joined by three new members. But despite a change in personnel, ‘Lions’ sounds very much in line with where the band left off some 20 years ago. On the three tracks that make up the demo, the band focusses on fast, melody-driven Black Metal that has become associated with the Swedish Black Metal scene and bands like Marduk, Sacramentum, Dissection and the likes. The excellent incorporation of symphonic keyboards that sound distinctly Norwegian gives the band a sound that doesn’t fully justify placing them in either scene, instead forming a small little niche to call their own. And ultimately that’s where the typical Finnish quality of blending aggressive Black metal with melody and symphony comes in, although Nightside doesn’t sound much like most of heir countrymen.

Even though ‘Lions’ is considered a demo, the sound is excellent, with a sharp and somewhat raw guitar tone, analog drum sound, beautifully positioned keyboards and harsh throaty vocals blended into something that sounds both fresh as well as authentic. The production is is fairly close to their best work, ‘Demo 1997’ and Ad Noctvm’, bearing these same almost catchy qualities to it that are best noticeable in the closing track ‘Gates of Hell’, that make the return to the stage of Nightside something worth embracing.


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