Review by Felix on April 25, 2023.
The Covid times sucked. It was boring and the “we’re all gonna die” hysteria in my homeland was ridiculous. But maybe it is a positive late effect that a lot of missed bands return. Guess the musicians saw no other possibility to kill the day but being creative again. Mezzrow return after a hiatus of more than 30 years, Vomitory (12 years) and Old (17 years) are back again as well. Even Nightside have left their mausoleum after 22 years and have recorded a demo that “foreshadows their eventual second album”. Well, if this demo indicates the potential of the band, a new full-length is welcome.
Of course, the five-piece does not manage to present new impulses for the scene. Anyway, the artists were probably well advised in creating three ordinary yet expressive black metal pieces that avoid “innovate” elements. Giving this subgenre external components is mostly like trying to square the circle. It makes much more sense to stick to the building blocks that made this kind of music famous and notorious. There are more than enough idiots out there who try to change the success formula of black metal. Nightside do not play this game. Instead, the dudes from the home of nowadays black metal concentrate on icy guitars, throaty vocals, quickly pulsating drums and a few eerily whispering keyboards. The grim and raw production as well as the roughshod material of this demo reflect the spirit of the unholy genre very well. Especially the title track leaves its footprints; in lion size so to speak. It offers both relentless, bloodthirsty parts and sections with a comparatively melodic touch. The mix of violent guitar attacks and unleashed keyboard works very well here. These elements give the song a fiery density, in particular on its last metres.
The here delivered trio shapes a very homogeneous appetizer for the “eventual” second work. Over 40 minutes, it needs a bit more to impress the listener, but the second half of 'Gates Of Hell' shows that Nightside have an idea how to avoid the trap of monotony. A slightly symphonic yet still brutal part occurs and adds another flavour to the dominating aroma of cruelty. So my concern is not that Nightside will fail when it comes to the creation of a full-length. Quite the opposite: it is overdue. Comebacks are welcome, only the Covid virus can piss off eternally.
Rating: 7.6 out of 101.37k