Nighon – “The Somme” (Inverse Records)
Despite its grim title, this Finnish band bring a surprisingly modern and uplifting take on this impressive 2nd album! Formed just over a decade ago, Nighon have been hugely inspired by the cinematic music of Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore and Harry Gregson Williams, along with industrial bands like Rammstein and extreme metallers like Meshuggah and Dimmu Borgir. Put it together, along with the band’s own strong anti war / intolerance / hate beliefs, and “The Somme” is the result! Employing a dual bestial male vocal and a highly soulful femme voice in Alva Sandström, the contrast couldn’t be greater between the harsh, driving metal on the one side and the exquisitely delicious melodies that flow and bring forth passion to the dark war themes inherent on this concept album. From the chopping djent of ‘Scharnhorst’ with its bestial roars tinged with delicate femme screamo and creepy keys, the double bass drumming and bombast recreate the naval battle of the north cape, followed by the dark tranquility of whispered voices – eerily reminiscent of drowning sailors on the night of the battle – before the soulfulness of Sandström takes the track to a final climax with Nico Häggblom rasping in the background. On ‘The Greatest Of All Catastrophes’ a creepy electronic intro soon gives way to power soprano soul of Sandström backed by an awesome power melody chorus layered with harmony vox and Häggblom’s own beastly roars and some tasteful electronic ditties sparkled here n there. Kicking up the ante on ‘Lest We Forget’ come some insane electronix mixed with Mats Ödahl’s chopping bass runs, with Häggblom’s hoarse vocals starkly contrasted by Sandström’s dance pop harmony vocals before charging on into industrial symphonic bliss! I’m very impressed by the way the band utilize their different styles in changing mixes for each song, and Sandström’s passionate femme vocals definitely give Nighon the star quality that has clearly attracted a top notch technical backing team in Juho Räihä (Before The Dawn, Wolfheart, Swallow The Sun), co producer Mathias Lillmåns (Finntroll, Magenta Harvest) and mastering by Fredrik Nordström (Dimmu Borgir, Opeth, Soilwork). With all that in mind I’m sure we’ll all be hearing from this exciting new band!