From the first bar of the twisted and beautiful opener “Genesis” off of Darkness Silence Mirror Flame, you’ll know that San Francisco’s Nite have something special in store for you. The band, which is comprised of members of Satan’s Wrath, Dawnbringer, and Chicago’s fetterless heavy metal giants High Spirits, assures the destruction of your expectations is a given of their past associations. What remains to be seen (or I guess in this case, heard) is how quickly these guys will blow you out of the water. The answer: Fast. Like a cruise missile trained on a rubber ducky, floating in a rain barrel fast. Sorry to say, but you don’t stand a chance.

Nite joins a growing list of bands playing what has come to called, blackened rock and roll. That is classic heavy metal and hard rock chops, varnished with the glower and gloom of second-wave black metal. This is far from a fringe genre at this point, with even second-wave pioneers like Abbath embracing its uncanny blend of source and execution, and bands like Tribulation building a sizable following by threading blasphemous themes with the adrenaline-driven theatricality of their NWOBHM forbearers. Even though, this is a well-worn path at this point, I can’t say that anyone can quite match Nite’s stride. For instance, “The Way” has a decidedly amphetamine, overdrive quality, whose black metal influences only become apparent during the first verse, otherwise, there would be nothing keeping you from mistaking it for a b-side from Sad Wings of Destiny, after which it feels like Glenn Tipton discovering the secrets of importantly by communing with the wraith-like projection of Demonaz. Follow-up “Lucifer” rides a decidedly more American-inspired guitar melody in the form of a seared, freebase groove, that feels like it had been baking in the heat of the Sunset Strip before entering the sanctum of iniquitous intent in which Nite see fit to shroud it in. 

What I think Nite does better than most is that they have an impeccable ear for attention-grabbing riffs, and they are able to integrate the epic and empower aspects of heavy metal with the acidic atmosphere of black metal in a way that feels believable evil without being derivative and overly caustic. Darkness Silence Mirror Flame is a fantastic first outing for this new band, a group who show more than promise, but who are demonstrably masters of the deadly craft hybrid heavy metal black smithery. 

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Metal. Cats. Scary Movies. Etc... Read more of my errant thoughts over on my blog at I Thought I Heard a Sound ( or follow me on Twitter @thasoundblog

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