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Nyktophobia > Fallen Empire > Reviews
Nyktophobia - Fallen Empire

Nyktophobia - Fallen Empire - 94%

Edmund Sackbauer, September 18th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Independent (Limited edition)

„Dedicated to all fans of Old School Melodic Death Metal” is the slogan of this band which is the brainchild of Michael Tybussek who has later been joined by Tomasz Wisniewski (singer of Dawn of Disease) and Christian Timmer. So although the band is a pretty new one there is a lot of combined experience leading to “Fallen Empire” not sounding like a debut album but a release of a band in its prime.

It is obvious that Micha had a clear vision when founding Nyktophobia as every detail of this album feels precisely planned. The basis riffs are nothing particularly new or innovative as we have heard similar ones in the nineties and in the first years of this century by Dark Tranquility, Edge of Sanity and Amon Amarth. However, Micha has taken these well-known chords and has added a few twists to inject a portion of freshness. The heaviness of the rhythm guitar and the addicting melodic pieces have been melted into one glorious whole with a perfect balance between heaviness and harmony. Each song has a trademark riff that is transformed by going a few keynotes up and down or adding some other variations. There is not one moment of boredom or sameness over the whole playing time.

While this album is a highly melodic affair it is a relentlessly attacking one as well. Slower sections with a slightly melancholic feel are alternating with ferocious blast-beat parts. The drumming is building the perfect backbone of the music. Christian is keeping the rhythm straight adding a few fills and additional details to highlight certain parts but generally speaking he stays in the background. The instrumentation is top notch but there is no showcasing of technical prowess. Instead Micha concentrated on writing highly entertaining and stringent songs that can be appreciated by each fan of this genre.

It speaks for the quality of the music that Tomasz (who is also owner of the up and rising Apostasy label) took the time to record the vocals despite his busy schedule. His delivery is top notch as always and once more he highlights his status as one of the best in nowadays scene. Compared to his work with Dawn of Disease he has toned down the rawness just a tiny bit and his voice perfectly fits the music. While I have no idea if Micha can sing himself I am glad he decided to hire one of the top names to get the most professional result that is possible.

“Fallen Empire” is not the kind of Melodic Death Metal that can often be found these days drowning in symphonic elements with clean vocals and catchy refrains dominating the music. The most important part of Melodic Death Metal should always be DEATH METAL. Micha seems to be of the same opinion as the atmosphere and the harmonies are cleverly embedded in the music and not so much found on the surface. There are tons of hooks on this album but it needs more than one spin to fully discovery everything that is on display here.

The production is excellent with a good mixture of rawness and clarity. The guitars are crunchy and the drums have a quite organic feel thankfully not sounding too sterile. Each detail of the great lead work can be heard in full detail. The classy cover artwork is underlining the dark and moody atmosphere of the album. I have no idea why this record has been released independently but make no mistake: This is one of the best Melodic Death Metal albums of the past few years.