Review Summary: Although getting closer to the mark with their next release, Pathogen ruins a solid release with absolutely awful production.Nightfall
was released in 1997, a year after their first demo Tyranny of Hatred
and 8 years before their next release, the 2005 debut LP Bloodline
is a lot more in line with Bloodline
than Tyranny of Hatred
, and shows the progression the band underwent. The demo showcases early versions of 5 songs that can be found on Bloodline, as well as Bleed My Soul (Part 2), which is an earlier form of the outro that can be found on Bloodline
. This is unfortunate however, because the two and a half minute acoustic instrumental is absolutely beautiful, and is an excellent way to end the demo; much better than the newer version of it on Bloodline
The first thing to note is the vocals. Cain Cressal is the vocalist on Nightfall
(he was replaced with Mike Lenane for Bloodline
), and he generally screeches a lot more than doing lows, which I'd say is a good thing. His lows are okay, but he's not incredibly accomplished at them. Even so, certain low moments on Nightfall
are done very well , as opposed to the cookie monster with bronchitis he was on Tyranny of Hatred
. His screeches are up the standard one would expect of him now, but Cressal is unfortunately let down by the biggest failure of the album, which I'll get to soon.
is a huge step up from Tyranny of Hatred
. Pathogen have discovered the sound that most people would associate with them now, and although haven't perfected it, still manage to incorporate a large amount of melody without becoming bland. As mentioned before, the songs are earlier versions of songs later seen on Bloodline
, but have certain differences which are both good and bad. An example of a good difference would be the guitar solo in ‘My Little Cow’ (which is later known as C.O.W). On this earlier version, the solo is quite good, decent shredding at the very least. This is a big step up from the dumbed down slow solo the band played for the new version of the song. Still, the versions of the songs are relatively similar. The only major thing I have to say about this (and I already have once), is the strength of the closing instrumental, Bleed My Soul (Part 2). I can’t be sure of it, but Bleed My Soul (Part 2) seems to be an earlier work of Bloodline’s
instrumental closer, but in all honesty I prefer the earlier version.
Well, so far in my review I’ve made out the demo to be quite good. You might be wondering why I’ve given it such a low rating, so I’ll explain why.
I find it quite interesting that Al Smith, who recorded their first demo quite well, could have made such a shoddy job of Nightfall
. The entire demo is surrounded by thick, impenetrable fuzz, which only goes away (a little), during the acoustic interludes. Any distortion of guitars sounds horrible, Cain's screeches are mind-shatteringly fuzzed out, and all of this actually makes the demo un-listenable. Even the acoustic sections, however more listenable they may be, sound very bad. On headphones, no matter what the volume is, the production just hurts. It completely ruins what would otherwise be a decent release.
Overall, despite being quite good in most other aspects, the production of Nightfall
ultimately brings it down. Still, it’s not a complete loss, because the songs on here can be listened to on Bloodline
anyway (and you’d have a tough time finding this).