Darkness Silence Mirror Flame

It seems inevitable that by the end of every year, we’re all grateful to be moving on to the next one, like the last year was just this stain on your existence you can’t wait to wash out. I certainly know that by the end of 2019, I was ready to dropkick that year into a volcano and celebrate its demise with heathenistic enthusiasm. 2020 could not come soon enough. It HAD to be better.


So maybe now is a good time to instead take a look back – to cozy up to the familiar and comforting sounds of yesteryear. What we need is a healthy dose of traditional heavy metal to invigorate and inspire us. What we need is San Francisco’s Nite.


Nite have taken the familiar and celebrated sounds of bands like Diamond Head or Saxon, and given them a modern “blackened” treatment; Think Judas Priest with Fenriz on vocals. Manowar with spiked loin cloths. It’s the tried-and-true with a dark twist, and it’s a hell of a good time.

“Genesis” gets things rolling nicely with an epic intro that gives way to an almost Ghost-ian little number, complete with rousing guitars, a rumbling bass background, and super catchy chorus that’ll get your fists pumping and head banging in short order. An epic, Bathory-inspired lead bridges into the final, rollicking chorus and sets this album off onto its mighty path.

As it should be for a Heavy Metal ambush like this, guitarists Van Labrakis and Scott Hoffman really lead the way here, deftly trading beautiful and tightly crafted leads and solos throughout the album, and pulling their influences from all over the Heavy Metal spectrum. On “The Way” and “Lucifer,” they bring multiple eras of Judas Priest’s illustrious catalogue to the fold (the former being one of my personal favorite tracks on the record), while tracks like “Chains” and the super-catchy album-closer “Acolytes” break out some of the more melodic, epic stylings of Iron Maiden – the final track boasting a bouncy, headbanging chorus that can’t help but put a little pep in your step.

The band isn’t afraid to break things down a bit, either. “Night Terrors” hits with a more rocking Ozzy Osbourne feel that conjures the ghost of Randy Rhodes out of the grave and back into the studio, while “Bright” is a straight-up ballad that, again, really leans in to that 80s Ozzy-meets-Dio vibe that avoids sounding tired or dated.

I wasn’t sure how this was all gonna work. On paper, it seems like putting raspy, demonic black metal vocals over a very clean, crisp traditional heavy metal backbone would be distracting and stand out like a shattered thumb – but it just sorta… doesn’t. It pulls off a neat trick of bringing me back to black metal’s infancy, when bands like Venom and Mercyful Fate were first shaping the genre. Really, Darkness Silence Mirror Flame is kinda a celebration of Heavy Metal history as a whole, while also being its own thing entirely. I think that’s pretty fucking cool.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
April 21st, 2020


  1. Commented by: F.Rini

    Steve-this album just plain rules. I love it. Their blackened metal approach is beyond catchy and such a well written album. Going to be in my year end best, no doubt. You did a real nice job with the review. \m/

  2. Commented by: Steve K

    Thanks, Frank! A really nice surprise find with this one. Hasn’t left my rotation since I first heard it! \m/

  3. Commented by: J. Mays

    Yeah, this shouldn’t work… but it really does.

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