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Athenian Echoes

Greece Country of Origin: Greece

Athenian Echoes
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: September 1st, 1995
Genre: Black, Death, Doom, Melodic
1. Aye Azure
2. Armada
3. Ishtar (Celebrate Your Beauty)
4. The Vineyard
5. I'm A Daemond
6. Iris (And The Burning Aureole)
7. My Red, Red Moon (Emma O)
8. Monuments Of Its Own Magnificence

Review by Felix on February 21, 2023.

Greece was the cradle of European culture and so it is only logical that these dudes also have to contribute to the metallic music. Back in 1995, Nightfall did this with “Athenian Echoes”. The patriotic title and artwork are like an omen for the musical content, because Nightfall follow a pretty Greek approach. We get some occult mysticism, melodies that seem to be the soundtrack for a dark ritual and a sometimes confusing mix of hammering parts and slow-moving sections. I am sure that the individuality of main man Efthimis Karamidas is reflected in the single tracks. The only paradox is that while he's certainly a cool guy, the music still leaves a lot of room for improvement.

For instance, the murmured incantation called “The Vineyard” may have its very special charm, but this mainly dragging piece could have been used as a more or less solid closer. On the fourth position, it does not fit and hurts the flow of the album. But Efthimis had more somewhat quirky ideas. “Aye Azure” is a stormy opener that does not lack vehemence or pressure, but I do not understand the hysterical keyboard insertions. They characterize this song, they tear it almost apart and push the guitars and drums into the background. It’s still a good opener, but not a flawless one.

As indicated, the production is not perfectly balanced, but generally speaking, it does not turn out to be a disturbing factor. It is good to see that the mix does not become a blurred mishmash when Nightfall celebrate their most intensive parts. Moreover, whenever the keyboards remain silent, the guitars deliver pretty exciting lines that cannot be assigned to a specific genre. The musicians are border crosses. From this follows that they mix dark or – in the widest sense – black metal, folkloric sounds, gothic and dreamy sequences, for example at the beginning of “I’m a Daemond”. The album wants to live from the loud-quiet changes, but at times this approach seems quite inappropriate. Not all individual parts of the tracks fit well together (and the synthetic beginning of the actually good “My Red, Red Moon” is a pain in the ass).

However, Nightfall’s work leaves its own scent. Maybe for some of you it is too sweetish, but I do not see a general lack of powerful metal parts. Of course, you do not get songs that keep hammering from the beginning to the end, but there are a lot of other bands that can satisfy your needs in this regard. I admit that I did not buy further Nightfall albums, but this is not to say that I do not like “Athenian Echoes”. In my opinion, it’s a release for special hours – and it avoids obvious fillers. All songs are ambitiously arranged and fans of melodic metal with a dark touch, especially supporters of Rotting Christ, can give this work a chance.

Rating: 7 out of 10