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Review: Nightfall - Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants
Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 43:02
Tracks: 12
Genre: Gothic Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: September 24, 2010
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
Readers Rating
Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants

Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (4 Votes)

There's something to be said for having a diverse sound. Playing the same type of song throughout an album will always get boring, but at the same time, a band needs to find their voice. That voice just has to be unique. Very few bands have found that evasive quality. Recently, bands like Primordial have done it, but so few really capture that elusive originality.

Here we have veteran gothic/melodeath band Nightfall, who over the years have dabbled with many different sounds, all with a gothic base. But here, on their new album, and their first with a major label, comes an array of influences. Black metal, gothic metal, melodic death metal, thrash, and even doom are present here. What's so amazing is that with all the different stuff going on here, Nightfall emerge from a potential mess with good songs. That's exactly what they are: good songs and nothing more. Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants can't really be summed up under one description because it's so diverse. At one point there is gothic wailing over industrial chords, and at another point, the ferocious symphonic chorus of "Ambassador" blares out of speakers.

While none of the stuff on Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants sounds bad, a good chunk of it is just average. It isn't strong enough to hold attention throughout its entire duration, while often surprising you with a catchy verse or strong riff. The opening to "Criterion" or the muffled vocals on "Archon Balileus" exemplify this. In each of these moments, Nightfall aren't outwardly trying to sound different, and that's why these parts work so well. It's in their unpretentiousness that they shine. They sound average when they are trying (perhaps a bit too hard) to sound different. You can't fault a band for trying to be different, but Nightfall just can't quite pull it off all the time.

I want to hear Nightfall attack their next project with varied simplicity. They're at their best when writing songs with straightforwardness, in almost any genre they attempt. They should continue with their diverse sound, but cut down on the occasional ostentation.

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