Nite
Voices of the Kronian Moon

The sky is blue. The sun rises in the East. Every “metal subgenre of the moment” is destined to become oversaturated and less exciting by virtue of its own popularity. These are basic and inalienable truths.

I’m not arguing that something loses its appeal because it’s “more popular.” That argument is dumb. Popular things are generally popular because well, they’re widely appealing! Hard to knock on someone for simply being well-liked. The problem is that popularity often leads A LOT of people to try and do the same thing. Again, not necessarily an inherently bad thing – imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and all that – but the more people you get trying to replicate a sound, an idea or a look, the more and more you end up with a lot of folks that just… aren’t as good at it. And after a while, too many sour apples can make you lose your appetite for the whole thing.

Bearing this in mind, I both acknowledge that the world of Blackened NWOTHM is becoming more overcrowded by the day, while admitting that I’m still an absolute sucker for it. I can’t help myself. It’s one of those things that, at this point, I assume is just written into my DNA. But as these bands continue to spread like wild hellfire, I find myself clinging a little more tightly to a select few examples that I feel represent the genre best – and there’s maybe no better a representative than San Francisco’s Nite.

2020’s Darkness. Silence. Mirror. Flame. made a number of our staff’s best-of lists that year (including my own), catching us all quite a bit off guard and unprepared for Nite’s distinct take on Blackened Heavy Metal. As such, Voices of the Kronian Moon is coming in with some pretty lofty expectations, especially after the band graduated from the excellent, albeit smaller Creator-Destructor Records, up to the big leagues with a signing to Season of Mist. It’s also no small thing to consider how unique a situation this is for a band’s sophomore effort, because for as much fanfare as their debut received, it also came out in March of 2020 (yes, THAT March), meaning that the band really never had a chance to get out and promote that record proper. It makes their debut’s success all the more impressive, but it no doubt creates an interesting situation for the band to try and navigate – a second chance for the band to introduce themselves to a world already aware of who they are and what they do. The one advantage the band DID have on their side, was a lot of mostly uninterrupted downtime to plan this second effort, and the band seems to have used that time very wisely – creating an album that is bigger and better in ways both obvious and more subtle.

To start, Nite has taken a relatively big swing and made Voices of the Kronian Moon a sci fi concept album (if you couldn’t already tell by that excellent cover art). Without getting too far into the plot details and themes, the band has certainly taken painstaking care to craft a fully fleshed-out, robust universe full of danger, intrigue and heroism. But before you potentially get turned off by the idea that Nite have ditched the leather and denim for full-on cosplay – fear not. Nite is still firmly rooted in the world of Priest, Accept and Diamond Head, where the guitar work of Van Labraskis and Scott Hoffman once again take center stage and really drive this album forward. But where the former album may have directly pulled from a few different, distinct influences from song to song, Voices… sees Nite settling in a little more into a specific groove. The same influences are all there, but they’re coalescing into the “Nite sound,” which is a big step for any band. From there, they’re able to meticulously tweak the overall mood and tone of each track while maintaining that central core sound, so where “Archeron” and “Kronian Moon” pull off a vibrant, triumphant feeling, a track like “Liber Ex Doctrinal” that feels altogether more spacious and gloomy, or “Thorns” that builds with a real sense of suspense and anxiety, all still distinctly sounds like Nite.

One of the band’s best attributes continues to be their dedication to getting to the point. There is not a minute of ostentatious noodling or overindulgence to be found here – every solo, every bridge, every riff has a purpose, and nothing lingers longer than it needs to, which is an especially fresh breath of air when getting into the world of concept albums. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of over-exposition and world building, but Nite manage to get the job done in under 40 minutes while still delivering a complex, robust listening experience, delivering some of their most engaging work yet. The galloping “Edge of the Night” will most certainly go down as one of my favorite tracks of 2022, and closer “The Trident” delivers easily one of the band’s most unique riffs to date, incorporating some really sweet-sounding minor chords that remind me a bit of something Vreid might concoct. It’s infectious as hell.

My only gripe with Voices of the Kronian Moon comes down to, iconically, the vocal mix. While Van Lebraskis’ distinct vocals do contribute to Nite’s unique sound, this time around they feel a little too one-dimensional for my liking, and a touch overly distorted when mixed in with what is otherwise a very clean-sounding album. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not looking for Lebraskis to suddenly transform into Rob Halford, but there are definitely times where his monotone rasp just isn’t quite gelling with the more soaring, epic moments of this record that could use just a little extra “oomph” from the vocals to really put it over the top.  I get it, the vocals aren’t necessarily the main focus of what Nite is about, but I’d love to get even just a little bit more out of them.

Overall though, Voices of the Kronian Moon is absolutely a step forward for the band, and Nite should be pretty dang stoked to introduce themselves to the world properly with this album in their back pocket. It’s punchy, it tells a great story, and they get out before you have any chance of getting bored with it. Shout out to Season of Mist, made an excellent signing, and will hopefully grow the band’s audience to the level it deserves. This is a timeless sound delivered with a unique flair that manages to feel nostalgic and fresh all at once, and in my opinion, is just a couple tweaks away from becoming an unstoppable force in these scene.

 

 

 

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
April 6th, 2022

Comments

  1. Commented by: F.Rini

    Steve-another great review and I agree Nite is infectious as all hell. Love both albums. Very original band.


  2. Commented by: J. Mays

    This is a step up from a band that didn’t need to step up… However, on “The Trident,” I can’t unhear him saying “Vajoyna!”


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