The Living Ever Mourn

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Before coming together as Nightfell, the duo of Todd Burdette and Tim Call spent the last decade or so leaving their mark on the world of extreme metal, with Burdette exercising his penchant for crusty heaviness in His Hero Is Gone and Tragedy while Call served as the propulsive backbone for bands like the Howling Wind and Aldebaran. On their Southern Lord debut, The Living Ever Mourn, the pair seamlessly blend their carefully cultivated aesthetics into a cohesive vision. Putting their own spin on death-doom, Nightfell deftly balance the atmospheric qualities of funeral doom with the explosive power of death metal, giving the band a sound that quietly surrounds listeners before closing in on them from all sides at once. The real centerpiece of the band, though, is the interplay between Burdette and Call, whose distinct styles seem to fit together perfectly on tracks like "Funeral Dirge," where Call's powerful drumming gives Burdette plenty of license to be direct with his guitar work, delivering some massive and ominously melodic riffs. Nightfell's blunt-force approach is softened somewhat by the album's atmospheric passages, which drift in like a fog before dispersing to reveal the lumbering beast that is about to bear down on you. For fans familiar with Call and Burdette's past work, it's easy to see the imprint they've left on the album. Rather than be defined by who is in the band, however, The Living Ever Mourn is an album that easily charges ahead on its own merits, so while a knowledge of underground metal will certainly provide some insight into the nuts and bolts of the record, it is by no means a barrier to entry for this incredibly solid album.

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