NIMPHAION "Flame Of Faith"

Mixing melodic Death Metal with symphonic sounding Black Metal can be done well and convincingly... and this Russian 5-piece band, NIMPHAION, surely are not any rookies at impressing people quite a bit by their skills and talent just for that. During the times of "Flame Of Faith", I guess it should be mentioned that there were even 2 females in the NIMPHAION line-up, both of them obviously bringing in a whole new, different type of blistering flame into the bands mishmash of Black and Death Metal ingredients, and within NYMPHAIONs sound, I believe. If some band comparisons are needed, listening to this record is like melting bits and pieces from WINTERSUN, CHILDREN OF BODOM and DIMMU BORGIR into one big, metallic mold - and the result could be something like the Russian sympho Black / Death Metallers NIMPHAION, but with less innovative and original ideas - and lotsa borrowed elements from some other bands, so to speak. However, nothing can take it away from the NIMPHAION camp that they can certainly create some big sounding extreme Metal, which surely appeals many fans of extreme Metal in general. There was one thing on the "Flame Of Faith" album that pushed me away from this release quite a bit - and in all honestys sake even managed to disturb my listening pleasure just a little, were the split vocals of both Vadim and Alexey, having no idea which of these 2 aforementioned fellows did these very dry type of screeching and snarling on this 2nd album of NIMPHAION? Well, at the end of the day it really does not matter so much after all. At least all I know Alexey stepped aside from the NIMPHAION troops in the beginning of this year, and has now been replaced by a new soldier in the line-up named Demether Grail. Now trying to draw something out of the written lines for you above, "Flame Of Faith" is definitely a worth listen release with its highs and lows, but obviously this Russian bunch might be capable of coming up with better things in the future even? Time will surely tell...

NIMPHAION "Flame Of Faith"

Flame of Faith is the second album of the Russian symphonic black metallers Nimphaion from Shuya. Since its creation, the band has suffered several line-up changes and after 2 demos in 2005 and 2009 they finally released their debut album In Darkness via Musica Production in 2011. In April 2013 Nimphaion released the single Sacrifice including two songs of the upcoming album and they finally signed a deal with More Hate Productions and released their new full-length album Flame of Faith in the end of 2013. Nimphaions sound was always based on the combination of melodic classical inspired symphonic music with black metal and melodic death metal. In this new work though the melodic death metal elements are almost vanished and the band plays symphonic black metal. Flame of Faith includes 8 songs with a total duration a little over 39 minutes. The band has a very melodic sound and synths are very dominant in their compositions, something that works for them, since they do not use them to just add a symphonic background layer; their synths have a much more organic role, with lead melodic piano parts and atmospheric stringed orchestral arrangements. Their guitars are fast and aggressive, yet very melodic and technical. Generally the band members seem quite skilled musicians and most of them were classically trained. Their vocals are extreme black metal screams (influenced by CoF) and in combination with the quite fast tempos of the compositions, they add a very aggressive tone to their music. The constant change of rhythms in the songs, together with the very melodic nature of their orchestrations definitely breaks this aggression, creating a very interesting balance in Nimphaions music. All their lyrics are in English, with a few verses in Latin, dealing with themes of fanaticism and obsession. Nimphaion have moved their music many steps forward with their second album compared to the debut. Fans of symphonic black metal better give them a listen! Flame of Faith is a very melodic work with great sound. I would appreciate though a bigger variety in the vocals. By the way, after the release of this album, their vocalist Alexey left the band and Demether Grail replaced him. Flame of Faith is released by More Hate Productions in a standard jewel case edition CD with an 8-page booklet, including the lyrics. You can visit their official pages below for more details. The band is already preparing its third album, which will be a concept work.

NIMPHAION "Quoth the Raven"

Edgar Allan Poe is quite a popular name when it comes to dark and poetic literature. He died being only 40 years old and the reason and the circumstances for that have been as mysterious as most of his work. A few years before his death he wrote one of his most famous poems called The Raven which is telling about a man in grief because of the death of his love and his strange conversation with said animal which has the ability to talk human language. Nimphaion are a Russian symphonic black metal band not only taking inspirations from this stuff but using parts of Mr. Poes work as lyrics for their music. One thing that becomes immediately obvious is that Quoth the Raven should mainly be viewed as one connected work of art. Like a book with several chapters all the songs are just pieces that while of course can also be consumed on their own gain a lot when listened to in one sitting. All the typical elements are there. Heavy tremolo pickings and blast-beats are presented as relentless as fans of that genre are used to. Epic keyboard samples are creating an atmospheric background working as contrast to the hard hitting riffs. Symphonic elements paint beautiful but also melancholic landscapes. Nimpahion do not shy away from implementing a lot of calmer sections with piano lines and spoken lyrics. This album is not about technical showcases or an attempt to sound as brutal as possible. Each song has a well thought-out build up with a lot of moody interludes that are used for interconnecting the different musical parts. In the middle the main track The Raven surprises with a length of over twelve minutes giving the musicians the possibility to use all the different elements within one song. The trademark chords and the awesome lead harmonies create an amazing atmosphere that will carry away each listener. The vocals mainly consists of classic black metal barking but there also a few growls thrown into the mix lending the record a bit of a melodic death metal edge. Singer Demether uses a very heavy accent underlining the factor of occultism that is always present. Like mentioned above he also makes use of other styles like spoken words passages or whispering in despair. The production is pretty much flawless. The mix is very clear with all the symphonic details being perfectly audible. None of the many elements has been buried in the mix and guitars and drums have a nice punch. The moody artwork perfectly fits to the music completing a very atmospheric and varied piece of music.

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