I Am Jesus

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Greek death metal veterans Nightfall finally emerged from a three-year silence bearing a sixth album, the somewhat pretentiously named I Am Jesus. Already one of that country's most established heavy metal bands thanks to its consistently stellar early work, Nightfall has little to prove, and self-confidence can be heard seeping through every pore of this release, which thankfully bucks the dominant trends of Greek's black metal legions to embrace a far more melodic, spacious, and unforced style. Returning to their home away from home, Finland's Tico Tico studios, vocalist/bassist Efthimis Karadimas and his new minions channel their evil intentions and darkest nightmares into multifaceted, expansively titled death metal overtures such as "The Senior Lover of Diamanda," "Muscat (Darkdark Road)," and the beautifully disorienting "I've Never Dreamt the Life We Share." Synthesizers have long played an important part in Nightfall's distinctive symphonic sound, and this is very much the case here as well, particularly on the haunting "The Poor Us" and the Mellotron-intensive "Treasures in Aramaic Tears (Echelon)." Like seeing an old friend again after three years apart, I Am Jesus is a truly satisfying album.

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