Nightfall – I Am Jesus PROMO CD with press release 2003 Check audio (whole album, all songs) Goth Rock, Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom Metal


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Nightfall – I Am Jesus
Label: Black Lotus Records – BLR/CD054
Format: CD, Album, Promo
Country: Greece
Released: 2003
Style: Goth Rock, Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom Metal
1 Death Of Neira
2 The Senior Lover Of Diamanda
3 I Am Jesus
4 Pale Crescendo Of Diamond Suns
5 Luciferin (What If Men Could Bear Masters)
6 Muscat (Darkdark Road)
7 The Poor Us
8 I’ve Never Dreamt The Life We Share
9 Treasures In Aramaic Tears (Echelon)
10 Semana Tragica
11 Nightfall

Treasures in Aramaic tears, indeed – 89%

I was recommended this band by the guy at my local record store, after months of him witnessing me buying whatever doom I could get my hands on. I had never heard of Nightfall before, but I was pleased enough with the riffs on album opener “Death of Neira” that I bought I am Jesus, though I was a bit suspicious this could end up being some “white metal” record, which isn’t my cup of tea. It’s a weird ride, but I don’t regret it.

The sound of Nightfall here is hard to describe. There’s some death/doom, yes—the very first riff on “Death of Neira” is slowish and crushing, the guitar meaty enough for my tastes—, mixed with some Rotting Christ-like gothic/black metal. Often, however, the guitars go for an upbeat, triumphant sound that gives it all a bittersweet tone. The vocals are either raspy black metal shrieks or some non-singing clear voice, either whispering or narrating. There’s a strange industrial atmosphere, which I guess was kinda trendy in Greece in 2003 (Septicflesh’s Sumerian Daemons comes to mind) with some electronic noises here and there, and the lead guitar is sometimes very processed, to the point of sounding like an synthetic hum in “Death of Neira” and especially “I’ve Never Dreamt the Life We Share.” It’s not bad per se, but it is a bit confusing. As for the themes and lyrics, I confess I have no idea of what’s going on. I guess this is somewhat of a concept album, as it evokes images of early Common Era Galilee. Maybe it deals with the human life of Jesus and his temptations and having to face his destiny or something like that, but that’s as far as I can go. The lyrics are sometimes unintendedly nonsensical (it feels like they are struggling with their grasp of the language) and could be a bit improved.

Though the album starts out slow, the following two songs are quicker with a joyful, almost poppy, main riff, all of them pretty standard verse-chorus-verse affairs. It’s clear that, if it had clean vocals, the title track would be full of sing-along hooks. But then, with “A Pale Crescendo and “Luciferin,” it stops dead and goes straight into slow atmospheric metal territory with unconventional structures. And so it goes. Emotionally, this is a rollercoaster. At one moment you’re glooming it up screaming “Burning mud on my nasty face”, the next (literally) you’re pumping your fist in the air, going “Hey, you can’t stop me now, I feel so strong.” These variations in mood can be a bit jarring at times while listening to the album from start to finish, but I guess ordering the tracks any other way could hurt the narrative.

Almost every track has something interesting (no fillers!), but there are three songs in I am Jesus that really stand out for me. One is “Luciferin” with its wicked whispering backed by the rhythm section slowly building up to its doomy climax, the whispers apparently coming from the tempting voice of the devil (“You like this, don’t you?”). Then we have these absolute monsters that are album closers “Semana Tragica” and “Nightfall.”

“Semana Tragica” begins with some clean guitar strumming alone, then the drums announce the distortion is coming to completely sweep the floor with your face as vocalist Efthimis says “I know you are coming down to me.” It’s very dramatic, one obviously thinks of Christ on the cross crying out to heaven, believing God had forsaken him. Its beautiful, intense doom gives way for some clean breaks to allow us some room to breathe (on a mimetic level, we feel his weariness unto death as he describes the spirits “dancing over his tired body”) before going on with the epiphany that “the only dreams I’ve made are fake, like you”, yet “you’re still the one I remember.” I’m not sure whether this is a message about the need to keep faith even if it’s fake or if it’s about Jesus doubting his own divinity or what, but this doesn’t feel like “white metal” for me, it’s too nuanced. Anyways, even if, like me, you’re not a religious person, and though we’re never sure of what’s going on, it’s powerful stuff, there’s power in this kind of drama. “Nightfall” follows the same structure of quiet atmospheric intro, now longer, with synths and echoing keys, before bringing in the hurt, its emotional guitars backed by the piano as the song comes to its climax. Titled “The Attack” in the lyrics, we hear Efthimis cry out: “As Nightfall coloured the sky / I saw the tragedy in your eyes.” A spiritual invasion has begun, maybe? That’s what it sounds like, and it’s amazing. A great way to wrap up a unique album like this.

After Nightfall’s unwanted and embarrassing foray into Pyogenesis-style horny gothic rock with Lesbian Show and Diva Futura sullied their Hellenic black metal career, I am Jesus, though leading them into a very different path than before, was a pleasant return to form.